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To be presented at the 5th International Congress on Complementary Medicine Research May 19-21, 2010, in Troms¸, Norway

Attitudes towards Integrative Medicine: a National Survey among  Nurses in the Netherlands

Miek Jonga, Martine Buschb, Margreet Hofstedea, Inès von Rosenstielc, Judith Meijerd and Rosalie Koolenc

a Louis Bolk Institute, Driebergen, The Netherlands, b Van Praag Institute, Utrecht, The Netherlands, c Slotervaart Hospital, Amsterdam,  The Netherlands, d Dutch Information Centre for Integrative Medicine (NIKIM), Amsterdam, The Netherlands


There is significant and growing interest for introducing Integrative Medicine (IM) into conventional medical care in the Netherlands. Up till now, no quantitative and qualitative data are available about the national attitudes and knowledge toward IM.


The purpose of the present survey was to assess the attitudes and knowledge of nurses in the Netherlands toward IM. The survey contained open and closed questions on IM and its pillars,

1. Prevention/lifestyle/patients' responsibility
2. Use of complementary and alternative (CAM) therapies
3. Healing Environment


A total of 350 responders completed the online survey. Of them, 64% was nurse, 12% nurse practitioner, and 24% other. The majority was female (91%) in the age of 46-55 (43%) with more than 15 years of experience (72%). A total of 46% of the responders worked as a nurse in a hospital and 18% in a home care organisation.

Knowledge and Attitudes toward IM
Before completion of the online survey, the majority of the responders (63%) was not familiar with the concept of IM. However, upon completion of the survey, a very high percentage (88%) considered  IM as a highly important and innovative care concept. A total of 56% responders considered all three pillars of IM as equally important, whereas 63% considered prevention/life-style to be of highest importance, 16% the use of complementary and alternative therapies (CAM) and 22% the healing environment.

Implementation of IM in the care setting
Initiatives in the area of prevention and life-style were implemented in the care setting of 63% of the responders, the use of CAM in 31% and the healing environment in the care settings of 26% of the responders. Of the responders, 58% - 86% lacked time, means and support and 13% to 50% lacked the knowledge, experience and evidence to (further) implement IM.

Attitudes toward IM pillar, use of CAM therapies

Table 1. Attitudes of Nurses towards CAM


Considered complementary?

To implement in own organisation?

Music therapies



Life-style therapies






Therapeutic touch



Aroma therapies



Mind-body therapies






As shown in Table 1, there is a relatively high percentage of responders that considered CAM therapies to be complementary to conventional medicine. Music, life-style therapies and massage were the most accepted CAM therapies. A total of 58% of the responders practised some kind of CAM therapy themselves.


There seems to be a high potential for Integrative Medicine as a innovative care concept in the Netherlands. The outcome of this study may serve as a roadmap for further national strategic implementation of Integrative Medicine in conventional medicine.

Additional data and analysis on this survey will be published by the end of 2010 in a peer-reviewed scientific journal.

For further information, please contact

Dr. Miek Jong
Louis Bolk Institute

Datum: 06-05-2010