An Evaluation of Nurses' Knowledge and Use of Holistic Nursing Principles and Complimentary and Alernative Medicine

Graduation Date


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Document Form


Degree Name

Master of Science



Department or Program Chair

Barbara Ganley, PhD

Thesis Advisor

Debbie Daunt, MSN, RN


Objective: The overall objective of this research project is to investigate the familiarity and understanding of San Francisco Bay Area Nurses regarding Holistic Nursing Principles (components) and Complementary and Alternative Modalities (CAM). This study aims to evaluate any regular use of CAM, familiarity with the definition of Holistic Nursing as described by the American Holistic Nurses Association (AHNA) and number of members of AHNA. In addition, this study will explore if there is any connection between knowledge of Holistic Nursing and personal use of CAM.

Methods: A quantitative, descriptive study design was utilized. The data collection tool was an anonymous questionnaire. A list of registered nurses in the bay area was purchased through the California Board of Nursing (BRN). The tool was mailed to 250 nurses who live in the San Francisco Bay Area. Data from the questionnaires was entered onto excel sheets. Variables were collapsed into seven groups of study to facilitate analysis. Data analyses were conducted using statistical software, SPSS, version 12.0, and excel sheets.

Results: A total of 75 questionnaires were returned, and 71 (n=71) were complete and utilized for this study. Findings indicated that Bay Area nurses were most familiar with the following: Holistic Nursing Principles: Movement/exercise (68%); Concepts of health/wellness/disease/illness (65%); and Relaxation techniques (65%). Least familiar: Transpersonal human caring and healing ((62%); Energetic Healing (56%); and Holistic Nursing practice (56%). Bay Area nurses findings foi most familiar in CAM shows. Chiropractic medicine (59%); meditation (59%); and yoga (52%). Least familiar findings were Ayurveda (73%). Qi Gong (69%), and Osteopathy (37%). The population sample had a skewed educational breakdown: Doctorate level ( 0%); MSN (49%); BSN (37%); ASN (14%). Median age of population sample was 41 years.

Conclusion: The result of this research investigation indicates that nurses need to increase their knowledge and understanding of Holistic Nursing and what it offers patients and themselves. This research would support that there is a need for nurses to become more knowledgeable and proficient of CAM.