Background: The increased use of CAM among the Danish population is well documented as are patient’s requests to discuss CAM with a healthcare professional. It is suggested that among different groups of healthcare professionals nurses are the most “open minded” about CAM. This makes it important to explore nurses’ knowledge about CAM and their needs for training. Methods: Similar to international investigations a Danish “CAM-knowledge” questionnaire was developed that included multiple choice, yes/no and 5 points scale answers. Validity was established through initial pilot testing. Contacts to a randomized sample of 2500 nurses were established through the Danish Nurses Foundation. The questionnaires were mailed by post with the possibility of anonymous return. The data material was analyzed using non-parametic methods. Results: The response rate was 67 % and 1458 completed questionnaires were returned. Compared with the membership of the Danish Nurses Foundation no differences were found in relation to age, gender, years since completing nursing education, work setting or region. Only 5 % of the respondents claim to have no knowledge about CAM, whereas most of the nurses characterize their knowledge as minor or average, and 12 % claim to have comprehensive knowledge about CAM. Primarily their knowledge derives from their own experience of using CAM as well as the experience of patients, family members and colleagues. Alongside this experience with CAM respondents with comprehensive knowledge of CAM also tend to have a theoretical background of CAM. Around 75 % of the nurses agree or partly agree that it is important for nurses to receive education about CAM and that nurses have knowledge about CAM that enables them to advise patients. Training needs concerning CAM were indicated by 52 % of the respondents. These needs could be met through courses established by colleges with special CAM resources, CAM practitioners or nursing schools. Only a minority of respondents (7 %) already has a CAM education or attended short courses in CAM, and 15 % have participated in courses with a CAM component. Conclusion: Among Danish nurses CAM knowledge can be described as minor or average and a minority already has CAM education. Additional CAM training would be welcomed by more than half of the respondents in this survey.
European Journal of Integrative Medicine, 2010, Vol 2, Issue 4