Alternative and Complementary Nursing Practices


The NUR3178 course aims to holistically explore the principles of alternative and complementary nursing practices, focusing on the cross-cultural and generational aspects of the practices as well. The material is acquired from empirical research and must then be applied to real-life scenarios to guide nursing majors in their field of study. To achieve maximum productivity, the course information is taught through a variety of methods based on online platforms, group discussions, individual exercises, presentations, and games. After taking the course, the students must then be able to apply theoretical knowledge of complementary and alternative practices while taking care of patients. In that way, the classes provide a sufficient healthcare foundation for further studies in a professional environment.

Course Reflection

The course follows six objectives that can indicate a student’s understanding of the material. For instance, the definition of complementary, alternative, and integrative practices make up the syllabus’s core. The first two terms can be clearly explained, referring to Fontaine (2019) as non-conventional methods of treatment. Integrative practices combine traditional and non-traditional practices to offer the optimal care plan for patients. Moreover, non-conventional therapies include a range of culturally based and natural remedies, such as vitamins, massages, and acupuncture (Fontaine, 2019). The central aspect of understanding the definition includes separating the terms and their related processes from standardized conventional medicine. In that way, this objective has been personally well understood and related to previous content.

Furthermore, the history of complementary and alternative medicine is another essential theoretical component of the course, which explains the cross-cultural links in medicine. Hence, the scope of the topic was especially interesting, stimulating more motivation to study the content. On the other hand, it is also clear that theoretical knowledge may seem less applicable and useful for a nursing major. The topic explored the gradual changes in the social perception regarding non-conventional medical methods as the late 20th century experienced an unexpected rise in firm believers in complementary treatment. In that way, the section allowed us to make parallels between the current growing area of alternative therapy and past attempts to popularize it empirically.

A more practical approach is seen in studying how such therapies are used among multiple cultures. The significance of understanding the extent to which these treatment methods are applied is explained by the cultural diversity of hospital patients in the United States. In that way, knowing the possible remedies a patient would be comfortable with is a critical skill if applied appropriately. Chinese acupuncture and herbal medicine would allow for additional patient care, especially in cases of chronic illnesses (Fontaine, 2019). Native American alternative medicine requires the involvement of the community and symbolic healing, which can be arranged even in hospital conditions with the patient’s consent. Hence, this knowledge aids in preparing for daily nursing tasks in the case of multicultural patient backgrounds.

Relating concepts of non-conventional medicine to clinical practice contributes to the ultimate step of moving from the pure theoretical part to specifically discuss holistic nursing practice. The Journal of Holistic Nursing guided the process as it provided research into particular cases of successful treatment procedures. At the same time, presentations concerning the clinical applications were also helpful in outlining the ethical steps of applying a patient’s cultural preferences to their treatment plan. For example, a patient with Chinese heritage may request additional herbal remedies besides formal hospital procedures. In that way, understanding how to resolve such situations signifies extensive consideration of this objective.

Moreover, the empirical background of complementary and alternative practices and products demonstrated the efficacy of several treatment procedures in research conditions. For example, the effect of mindfulness-based yoga practice on one’s mental state and stress levels were studied in a randomized control trial (Hilcove et al., 2020). As the results illustrated significant improvements in the participants’ mental and physical states, the positive impact of holistic therapy is evident. Reviewing such studies additionally provides insight into the various types of non-conventional medical practices that nurses may apply to themselves as well. Hence, the stage of discussing empirical research allowed refocusing on the applicability of the mentioned concepts.

Ultimately, an integrative approach combines all three methods of complementary, alternative, and conventional nursing therapies to achieve the optimal treatment strategy. The discussions emphasized the urgency to implement natural remedies into standardized medical procedures in certain cases. At the same time, this application must be appropriately transitioned through national systemic regulations and further reiterated in nursing institutions. Patients can complete surveys to outline any additional treatment options that can be completed with or without the help of a nurse. Still, the hospital staff must monitor the patient’s state throughout the complete procedure. For example, the inclusion of herbal remedies into the diet of a Chinese patient post-operation illustrates such integrative approaches.


In conclusion, the course offered extensive insight into the definitions, applications, and integration of holistic and conventional nursing therapies. The key idea developed from this reflection outlines the value of theoretical knowledge and its implications for future nursing professionals. While the complementary and alternative methods possess deep cultural roots and cannot be completely neglected in medical procedures, the course explored possible ways of utilizing a patient’s cultural background to provide additional care and comfort. In that way, the theoretical and practical aspects of the material are equally significant and influential for a nurse. Finally, the reflection aided in emphasizing the development of three distinct treatment plans into one integrated system of medical knowledge. Further efforts can be attributed to studying the legal and ethical aspects of nursing staff choosing the necessary therapy option for their patients depending on their physical state and personal needs.


Fontaine, K. (2019). Complementary and alternative therapies for nursing practice. (5th Edition) Pearson.

Hilcove, K., Marceau, C., Thekdi, P., Larkey, L., Brewer, M. A., & Jones, K. (2021). Holistic nursing in practice: Mindfulness-based yoga as an intervention to manage stress and burnout. Journal of Holistic Nursing, 39(1), 29-42. Web.

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1. NursingBird. "Alternative and Complementary Nursing Practices." March 21, 2023.


NursingBird. "Alternative and Complementary Nursing Practices." March 21, 2023.