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Contemporary nursing strives to incorporate more holistic principles into the environment in which nurses are expected to practice. The general public is becoming more demanding and expects a high quality service which health care professionals are struggling to provide. This has led to a surge of interest in non-orthodox or complementary therapies. People are looking to these therapies to fill the gaps left by orthodox treatments. The purpose of this paper was to present a systematic review of the attitudes of nurses towards complementary therapies. Method and material: The systematic review was carried out in various databases using combinations of the following search terms: complementary therapy, alternative therapy, holistic, integrated care, nursing attitudes, acupuncture and herbal remedies. Results: This review confirms that complementary therapies are increasingly appealing to nurses and the wider public alike. Different forms of these therapies are presented and discussed. Complementary therapies offer nurses an ideal opportunity to return, at least to some degree, to hands-οn nursing. They offer levels of holistic care which orthodox nursing and medical practices have so far failed to deliver. They also offer the opportunity for nurses to act as totally autonomous therapists. These therapies can empower patients and help them feel more in control of their own condition. They also help to address aspects of the patient that a western medical model of health care delivery has often ignored, for example, the role of anxiety in pain experience, or spirituality. Conclusions:Τhe potential benefits of incorporating complementary therapies into nursing practice have been well illustrated in a wide selection of literature. Nurses’ attitudes towards these therapies have also been discussed but there has been little if any research into them. In order to obtain facts about nurses’ attitudes and to ascertain the willingness of nurses to use these therapies further research is required.
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Author(s): Dimitrios Theofanidis