Complementary and Integrative Medicine (CIM) is a group of diverse health care therapies that often serve as adjuncts to conventional medical treatments. Our aim for this study was to evaluate the current knowledge, beliefs and practices of pediatric clinicians regarding CIM.
Clinicians from the pediatric unit of a large US based teaching hospital in Connecticut were surveyed, through self-administered questionnaires.
We sampled 70 participants with a response rate of 99%. Of the 70, 32 were Registered Nurses, 9 were Attendings, 7 were Fellows, 15 were Residents and 4 were Nurse Practitioners. Regarding use, 24% had referred a patient to a CIM practitioner, 43% reported using CIM while 47% had a family member who had used CIM in the past year. Respondents were most familiar with massage (70%) and yoga (69%) least familiar with Ayurvedic medicine (20%) and Qi Gong (24%). Regarding attitude, 67% believed that some CIM therapies hold promise for the treatment of symptoms while 59% believed that incorporation of CIM would increase patient satisfaction. Most of the respondents indicated that they did not have easy access to clinical information on many CIM treatment modalities. Nurses were more familiar (p = 0.024), had more positive attitudes and beliefs (p = 0.001) and thought CIM therapies had a higher impact (p = 0.002) on patient care compared to physicians, even when controlled for gender.
This study highlights the need to bridge the gap in evidence based medicine and clinician’s knowledge with the rise in CIM use. It also stresses the need for standardized learning competencies in the field of PIM.