J Holist Nurs. 1997 Sep; 15(3): 271-81.
Nursing and alternative medicine. Legal and practice issues.
Virginia Commonwealth University, USA.
The burgeoning interest in alternative medicine in the past decade has created a demanding health care climate for professional nursing. Rising consumer consciousness and the cost of traditional Western medicine have together influenced an environment in which individuals and payers seek low-cost, high-value remedies. This article presents a definition of alternative medicine and an overview of related research initiatives. In addition, legal and practice considerations for professional nursing are discussed. The language of current nurse practice acts neither prohibits nor actively promotes alternative medicine practices. However, differences in the regulation of health care professionals, specifically physicians and nurses, create challenges for nurses as they respond to both consumer demand and the need for consumer protection, and work with physician colleagues in alternative medicine. Accompanying these challenges is the need to protect nurses' regulatory freedom and autonomy.