Medical Students' Knowledge, Perceptions, and Interest in Complementary and Alternative Medicine

Loh, Kah Poh, Ghorab, Hatem, Clarke, Eric, Conroy, Ronan and Barlow, James (2013) Medical Students' Knowledge, Perceptions, and Interest in Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Journal of Alternative & Complementary Medicine, 19 (4). pp. 360-366. ISSN 10755535


Background: Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is a growing industry in the health care system. In Ireland, to date there has not been a study that evaluates the knowledge of, interest in, and attitude of Irish medical students toward CAM. Objectives: This research can serve as a pilot study to inform Irish medical schools on the need to introduce CAM into the medical curriculum. Materials and Methods: The survey instrument was a modified design based on previously published studies carried out in other geographical areas. All medical students within the undergraduate and graduate entry programs (GEP) at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland were invited to participate in the study. SPSS software was used to analyze the results of the questionnaires. Results: The survey completion rate was 20.1%. A majority of students (78.4%) thought that CAM knowledge is important for their future career as physicians. Approximately 65% of students reported that they have not acquired sufficient knowledge about CAM from medical school, and 50.2% of students believe CAM should be incorporated into the medical curriculum. Preclinical years (49.4%) were suggested as the most appropriate time to learn about CAM. Knowledge of CAM modalities was generally rated as minimal or none by students. Among the 15 CAM modalities incorporated in the survey, massage, acupuncture, and meditation received the highest interest from students. Students who believe in a religion had a higher interest in CAM ( p<0.05). In terms of their personal view, massage, spirituality, and acupuncture received the highest positive responses. Attitudes toward CAM were positive from students. Lower willingness to use CAM was seen in clinical students ( p<0.05). Conclusions: It is important for the faculty of Irish medical schools to consider the possibility of integrating CAM education into the conventional medical curriculum in a systematic manner to better prepare students in their future career. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]; Copyright of Journal of Alternative & Complementary Medicine is the property of Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. and its content may not be copied or emailed to multiple sites or posted to a listserv without the copyright holder's express written permission. However, users may print, download, or email articles for individual use. This abstract may be abridged. No warranty is given about the accuracy of the copy. Users should refer to the original published version of the material for the full abstract. (Copyright applies to all Abstracts.)

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