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Complementary Therapies in Nursing and Midwifery

from vision to practice

Complementary Therapies in Nursing and Midwifery by Pauline McCabe
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This is an exciting and timely book. It describes how nurses are pioneering complementary therapies within the medical system to give comfort and healing to their patients. It is 40 years since I graduated from general nursing training at Prince Henry's Hospital Melbourne with deep disappointment about the medical model of 1960. Perhaps my greatest concern was that nurses had insufficient opportunity and resources to give true caring to their patients.At that time there was little information about alternative medicine and healing in Australia, but my own quest gradually unfolded to include a world of healing that I experienced as truly remarkable. My goal became to create education that would combine natural therapies with a suitable standard of orthodox science and medicine. In 1997 the Victorian government accredited the Bachelor Degree in Health Science (Naturopathy) delivered by the Southern School of Natural Therapies, making it the first private college in Victoria to offer a government accredited complementary therapy course.

Therefore, during the last 30 years I have been intimately involved with practising natural therapies and the task of developing a degree standard course for training in the area.Throughout the 1980s many hundreds of nurses attended courses I conducted in natural therapies for the Council of Adult Education in Melbourne. Some of those nurses later enrolled to undertake training at our school. Indeed, since the birth of the school in 1961, nurses have featured strongly amongst our students and they have become excellent primary contact practitioners.

However, this book features nursing as a profession studying and developing research and guidelines about natural therapies that enhance nursing practice and improve patient care in a medical setting. It is now evident that nurses as a professional group want to know how to apply natural therapies to augment and improve the health of their patients within the current medical model. So, for me, this is an exciting book, because I now witness the educational and practice opportunities for complementary therapies that are taking place within the nursing profession. Perhaps this development will in time have powerful repercussions on the whole health care system. In a personal sense,my observations have come full circle, from those of a disillusioned graduate nurse, to observations of nurses creating opportunities to practise their own healing therapies.

While preparing to write this foreword it occurred to me that rarely have I heard much criticism directed towards nurses as a group, despite hearing harsh criticism of orthodox medicine from various directions.The nursing profession appears to have always created the perception of being a caring group that did the best for its patients despite all kinds of difficulties and challenges. It is, therefore, understandable that nurses are endeavouring to extend their practices to encompass therapies that they perceive as promoting a more human touch for their patients. In addition, research into the practices and therapies described in this book has demonstrated improved clinical outcomes in many of the patients concerned.

The book covers a wide range of areas that includes an historical perspective of natural therapies within the nursing profession; legal and ethical considerations; research possibilities and achievements; and educational considerations, as well as the pioneering experiences of nurses in areas such as nutrition, aromatherapy, massage, meditation, holistic coronary care, music therapy and the use of pet animals.The practice of complementary therapies within midwifery is an exciting development and what better way to give a child a peaceful start in life?

Ausmed Publications; September 2004
338 pages; ISBN 9781597340069
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Title: Complementary Therapies in Nursing and Midwifery
Author: Pauline McCabe