Because Nursing is both a science and an art, nurses require access to and familiarity with many belief systems and knowledge bases, including, but not limited to, the traditional sciences. Nurses conduct scientific research on nursing interventions and phenomenon of concern to nurses, such as pain, suffering, and healing. Nurses also use the insights and experiences gained from studying peoples of other cultures and learning other perspectives to alleviate suffering and promote health and healing, which may lack modern scientific investigation. Always at the heart of nursing practice is the well being of the patient, using approaches which help without causing harm. An openness to all possible approaches to the relief of human suffering and the compassionate, caring use of touch have been the cornerstones of excellent nursing practice since the time of Florence Nightingale.
Based on an increasing volume of research and clinical literature supporting the effectiveness of Therapeutic Touch in the easing of human suffering and the stimulation of healing, the State Board of Nursing of Colorado, like other State Boards of Nursing all over the country, should continue to be an advocate for the public safety and for patient's rights to access the full range of caring and healing interventions by continuing to acknowledge continuing education units earned for the study of Therapeutic Touch. Therapeutic Touch, as a nursing intervention, is being taught to nurses through many colleges and universities, and by the National League for Nursing through its continuing education videotape series on Therapeutic Touch. It is completely within the mainstream of modern nursing practice.
Moreover, we encourage the Board to continue to acknowledge continuing education efforts undertaken by nurses in related complementary healing modalities, even when scientific investigation of such modalities is incomplete, for two reasons. First, the lay public is becoming increasingly sophisticated in these complementary modalities and nurses should be familiar enough with them to be able to provide adequate information at the request of patients. Second, these modalities can be used as meaningful adjuncts to, and not replacements for, standard medical and nursing care.
We wish to remind all concerned that individual patients always have the right to refuse any intervention, medical or nursing, which is not consistent with their values or beliefs. The State Board of Nursing will undoubtedly continue to serve as an advocate and protector of that right.
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