The purpose of this research was to describe the utilization of Complementary and Alternative Medicine ( CAM) by nurses in Nepal. The use of Complementary and Alternative medicine is a 2103 priority research area in Nepal according to the Nepal Health Research Council. There are currently no studies using this population, so this descriptive study added to the body of knowledge on CAM use in Nepal.
A 32 item questionnaire was used to collect data from a convenience sample of 223 practicing nurses, from 2 hospitals in the Kathmandu Valley in Nepal. The questionnaire collected data on types of CAM used, for what health problems, frequency of use, and if CAM was used alone or in conjunction with allopathic medicine. Reasons for recommending/using CAM were also collected.
The most common type of CAM utilized was Ayurveda (35%) but this was followed closely by Naturopathy( 34.1%). The most common health problem for which CAM was used was fever, followed closely by digestive problems, back problems and respiratory ailments. 24% of the respondents reported using self- CAM methods monthly or yearly, while 2.6% used some form of self-CAM daily or weekly. 49.6% reported using self-CAM every time they experienced a health problem. Frequency of use under a trained CAM provider was slightly different. 40% never used a trained provider, while 37.6% report using a trained CAM provider every time they have a health problem. Many nurses combined CAM with allopathic medicine. 54.9% reported using CAM even when taking allopathic medicine, while 40.2% do not. Overall 62.1% would recommend CAM to others while 14.7% would not. The reasons for recommending CAM included the belief that it is safe, easy to use, has minimal side effects and allows easy self-treatment with minimal guidance.
In many countries across the world, CAM is a common form of medical treatment, and Nepal is no exception. In Nepal, nurses use a wide range of CAM treatments and providers for a wide variety of health problems, alone and in conjunction with allopathic medicine. It is clear that nurses need to be aware of their own biases when discussing treatment decisions with patients, so as not to influence the outcomes. Further research is needed to determine the use of CAM in a variety of populations. More Evidence Based Practice research is needed on this topic.