Both patient and nurse characteristics may be associated with discussions about complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), according to a study published in Cancer.1
Researchers led by Christine Spencer, MPH, of The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, collected baseline data of 699 patients and 175 nurses who answered questionnaires about CAM use and knowledge as part of a multicenter CAM educational clinical trial.
They used frequencies and nested regression models to assess for predictors of nurses’ inquiries about and referral to CAM therapies.
Among the nurses, 53% had asked at least 1 of their last 5 patients about CAM use, with 42% having referred patients to CAM therapy.
Nurses who had reported being “somewhat comfortable” or “very comfortable” about discussing CAM, self-reported use of massage, and had formal CAM education were more likely to ask about CAM use. Nurses who reported being “somewhat comfortable” or “very comfortable” and had formal CAM education were also more likely to refer patients to CAM therapies.
“Oncology institutions that prioritize evidence-based medicine should consider introducing CAM education to their nursing staff,” the authors concluded.
1. Spencer CN, Lopez G, Cohen L, et al. Nurse and patient characteristics predict communication about complementary and alternative medicine [published online ahead of print March 17, 2016]. Cancer. doi:10.1002/cncr.29819.