Complementary and integrative medicine comprises treatments used along with conventional medical care. Its use within care settings and communities has increased.
We aimed to assess baseline knowledge and use of complementary and integrative medicine among advanced practice providers at an academic medical center and their attitudes toward it.
A 50-question survey was sent to 1018 advanced practice providers at our academic medical center to evaluate their knowledge, attitudes, and utilization of complementary and integrative medicine therapies.
The 556 respondents (54.6% response rate) included physician assistants, nurse practitioners, certified registered nurse anesthetists, clinical nurse specialists, and certified nurse midwives. Respondents reported a positive attitude toward complementary and integrative medicine and were likely to refer their patients to a complementary and integrative medicine practitioner (59%). They agreed that patients whose providers incorporate complementary and integrative medicine into their care have better clinical outcomes (nurse practitioners, 93%; certified registered nurse anesthetists, 87%; physician assistants, 85%; P = .002) and improved patient satisfaction (all respondents, 84%). Advanced practice providers, especially nurse practitioners, stated that they initiate the conversation to discuss the benefits and harms of complementary and integrative medicine with their patients (nurse practitioners, 93%; certified registered nurse anesthetists, 87%; physician assistants, 85%; P < .001). Respondents most frequently endorsed overall exercise, massage, and melatonin. Prospective randomized controlled trials were the most influential factor for attitude toward complementary and integrative medicine among physician assistants (50%), and personal experience was the most influential factor among nurse practitioners (52.9%) and certified registered nurse anesthetists (46.8%).
Advanced practice providers generally have positive attitudes toward complementary and integrative medicine, but utilization appears limited by a self-report of low knowledge of benefits and risks of various therapies. For patient safety and satisfaction, advanced practice providers require a strong complementary and integrative medicine knowledge base to counsel patients.