Beliefs and attitudes towards complementary medicine among registered nurses in Hong Kong

Eleanor Holroyd, Anthony L. Zhang, Lorna K.P. Suen, Charlie C.L. Xue

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The personal use of and professional recommendation for complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) has been found to be related to nurses' knowledge and type of training background. Little, however, is known about CAM usage among nurses from Hong Kong who while of Chinese origin, are educated in western medical principles while exhibiting both folk knowledge and lay use of CAM in their daily lives. Objective: The purpose of this study was to investigate the beliefs and attitudes towards CAM in a population of Hong Kong registered nurses. A particular focus was the sources of CAM information and the nurse's professional communication exchanges about CAM usage. Design: Cross-sectional survey. Setting and participants: The survey was conducted from March to June 2006 with registered nurses (N = 187) drawn form the Hong Kong College of Nursing. Results: Nearly three quarters (71.9%) of the nurses agreed that CAM should be integrated into mainstream Western medicine. The majority (89.8%) of participants did not agree that CAM should not be taken when using Western medicine. The most common sources for the nurses surveyed to obtain CAM information were, in order of frequency, newspapers and magazines (64.2%), friends (57.2%) and books (43.9%). Approximately one in three (28.0-35.3%) participants had either sometimes or frequently initiated a discussion about CAM or a discussion about the interaction between CAM and Western medicine with nursing colleague. Consistently, nurses who had previously received training on CAM (48.9%) were also more likely to initiate CAM discussions than those who had not received such training (30.7%, p < 0.05). Conclusion: More knowledge of CAM was in general, welcomed among nurses, with 93.6% of the nurses surveyed reporting an interest in further learning. A major recommendation is that HK registered nurses receive professional CAM training as a means to enhance patient care.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1660-1666
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Nursing Studies
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Belief and attitudes
  • Complementary and alternative medicine
  • Hong Kong
  • Registered nurses


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