A survey of 1000 nurses showed that even though they consider themselves poorly trained in non-medical care, they gave chiropractic high marks. The survey was published in the June 2001 issue of the Journal of Community Health. The survey asked a variety of questions on a number of health care procedures termed by the study as “Complementary Alternative Medicine” (CAM). Chiropractic was included in this survey and received some of the best reviews from the nurses surveyed.
The Journal article starts by stating, “In 1997, 42 percent of the American adult population made 629 million visits to alternative health care practitioners and spent $27 billion out-of-pocket for these services. It has been estimated that in the year 2000, Americans will spend $60 billion on complementary and alternative medical therapies.” The Journal uses these figures as a basis for wanting to understand how the nurses view these types of procedures.
The survey to the nurses covered areas including, perceived effectiveness; perceived safety; recommendations made to friends, clients and associates; and personal use. An interesting finding of the study was that the nurses felt that they themselves were poorly trained in understanding CAM procedures as only 21% of the respondents considered themselves to have received “good” or “excellent” professional preparation in dealing with these types of care, which include chiropractic. Conversely, the vast majority (79%) of nurses perceived their professional preparation in the area of alternative and complementary medical therapies to be fair or poor.
In the area of effectiveness, the nurses ranked chiropractic first, in a tie with biofeedback. They overwhelmingly rejected the idea that chiropractic or the other CAM procedures were only effective because of the placebo effect. According to the nurses chiropractic ranked second in safety behind hypnotherapy.
The study also showed that approximately 14% of the nurses surveyed had used chiropractic themselves. Even more surprising is that the study revealed that nearly one quarter (23%) of the nurses said they “periodically” or “regularly” recommend chiropractic care to their friends, patients and associates, while another 27% said they recommend it occasionally. Apparently, as the survey results suggest, the more knowledge of CAM procedures such as chiropractic the nurses had, the more likely they were to use them themselves and refer others to them.