Date of Paper

5-2013

Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)

Department

Social Work

First Advisor

Ande A. Nesmith

Abstract

The practice of integrative medicine has regained popularity in recent years. As a theoretical framework, integrative medicine is a viable option to consider in place of a traditional medicine model from a patient satisfaction and cost savings viewpoint. The purpose of this paper was to explore the experiences and viewpoints of healthcare professionals in regards to practicing integrative medicine. The Health Belief Model was used as a conceptual framework. Using a quantitative design, health care professionals across a variety of disciplines were recruited from three agencies within the Midwest who currently provide services to patients with an integrative medicine model. A bivariate analysis of the findings was completed utilizing data gathered about health care professionals’ length in practice, professional education experiences and beliefs about factors that contribute to patient’s adherence to treatment plans. The findings reinforced existing research that in vivo educational experiences have great potential for providing health care professionals opportunities to practice integrative medicine across disciplines. The findings also confirmed that there is a further need for education about the integrative medicine model across all health care disciplines. These findings demonstrate the potential impact social workers can have in the field of integrative medicine through their holistic views of patients and their abilities to lead other health care professionals through promotion of patient health and satisfaction.

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