Sample Case Study on Perceptions about Nontraditional Healing Methods

The case study addresses concerns about nontraditional healing methods used in a large metropolitan hospital that serve diverse populations from different cultural backgrounds. Family members whose patients are admitted at the facility often try to incorporate healing practices that align with their cultures by bringing homemade foods explicitly made for the sick in their cultures. Most of the foods brought to the facility are associated with medicine men as they are made with ingredients believed to have healing effects. One of the experienced nurses at the facility has been complaining that the foods brought by the families keep the children sick longer because they interfere with the treatment plans used at the facility. The nurse also complains that the food stinks and attracts bugs.

Perceptions about Nontraditional Healing Methods

Nontraditional healing methods were used even before the introduction of conventional or western healing approaches. Most of the nontraditional healing methods rely on herbal medicine and nutrition supplements, such as through the practice of Ayurvedic medicine. Ayurveda is commonly practiced in Indian cultures despite the lack of adequate scientific research on its effectiveness and long-term side effects. A placebo-controlled trial that evaluated the efficacy of ayurvedic formulations in managing menopausal symptoms in healthy women showed that the ayurvedic herbs used, which included Tinospora cardifolia, Asparagus racemosus, Withania somnifera, and Commiphora mukul, were effective in relieving the women of their menopausal symptoms (Steels, Steele, Harold, Adams, & Coulson, 2018). The study proved that ayurvedic medicine could be efficient in managing patients’ symptoms when utilized effectively. Based on the evidence obtained from the research, I think ayurvedic medicine and other nontraditional treatment approaches can effectively manage patients’ symptoms.

Although conventional medicine is based on scientific research, clinical trials, and evidence-based studies, I still think that nontraditional healing methods are essential and can be incorporated into conventional healing methods to promote holistic care and ensure that the beliefs, preferences, and values of patients are included in their care provision plans. However, there is a need for more research on ayurvedic medicine to determine the right proportions to treat different conditions and examine potential side effects. Researchers involved in the evaluation of the effectiveness of various conventional drugs have also raised their concerns on the lack of adequate research-based evidence that supports the use of Ayurveda in managing different conditions (Patwardhan, 2014). I think that more research on Ayurveda could increase its use in modern medicine practices.

Response to the Experienced Nurse

The response to the experienced nurse should focus on educating him/her about the importance of incorporating patients’ beliefs, preferences, and values in care provision through holistic care provision. The nurse should be reminded that nontraditional treatment approaches have been in existence long before the introduction of conventional medicine and that holistic care does not necessarily involve addressing just the patients’ social and spiritual needs but should also entail considering the use of complementary medicine, communication, and education. In a case whereby the nontraditional medicine provided by the family members to the children affects the effectiveness of the conventional medicines and the nurses’ attempts to treat the child, the nurse should educate the family members about the role of the interventions used at the facility. The nurse should also educate the family members about the possible effects of the nontraditional medicine on the child, and the potential risks of drug-supplements interactions that the child faces by using both conventional and nontraditional treatment (Zamanzadeh, Jasemi, Valizadeh, Keogh, & Taleghani, 2015). The use of effective communication and education could help family members and nurses work together effectively.

Patient Advocacy

I can be a patient advocate without alienating my coworkers by ensuring that I include them in the decisions I make regarding patients’ care plans and educating them about the appropriate way to conduct patient advocacy roles in clinical practice. As the new RN in the facility, I would inquire from my coworkers about patient advocacy approaches that they have been using and compare it with research on patient advocacy to ensure that the practices used align with research. This step will ensure that all the nurses are on board with the advocacy practices that I will employ because they will view it as being evidence-based as opposed to ideas forced on them by the new nurse. Incorporating them in decision-making will also ensure that they play a role in conducting patient advocacy roles. This intervention will be based on the application of transformation leadership principles that focus on change and incorporation of others in the change practices (Davoodvand, Abbaszadeh, & Ahmadi, 2016). This approach would promote collaboration and positive results.

Interventions to Assist Coworkers

The intervention used to assist coworkers would involve educating them about the importance of being culturally competent and developing interpersonal relationships while working with patients. Educating the workers on the importance of cultural competence will enable them to understand the significance of considering other people’s beliefs during care provision. Forming interpersonal relationships with patients during care provision would help ensure that nurses work closely with their patients and educate them about the role of interventions used in care provision to ensure that patients do not feel like their practices and beliefs are ignored. This intervention will rely on resonant leadership approaches, which rely on a leader’s ability to connect with subordinates and show support to workers who are struggling with different challenges. The use of resonant leadership style in a clinical setting has been associated with a decreased mortality rate and a 28% lower probability of 30-day mortality when compared to the use of dissonant approaches or mixed leadership styles (Sfantou, Laliotis, Patelarou, Sifaki-Pistolla, Matalliotakis, & Patelarou, 2017). This leadership style will promote the development of interpersonal relationships and collaboration between nurses and their patients or patients’ family members.

Incorporation of Western and Nontraditional Medicine

Healthcare facilities can incorporate both western and nontraditional medicine in care provision through research and identification of specific aspects of the two medicine approaches that they would wish to combine. Research studies could assist them in identifying safe ways of combining the two caregiving practices without risking patients’ lives. It would also ensure that safe formulation of nontraditional medicines is used in clinical practice. Healthcare facilities should incorporate nontraditional medicine approaches in conventional medicine because most nontraditional methods rely on the use of natural products that are less likely to cause complications (Patwardhan, 2014). The principles of transformational leadership can also be used to support the incorporation of nontraditional medicine approaches in western medicine through its acceptance of considerations of other people’s opinions and beliefs and the need for change (Asif, Jameel, Hussain, Hwang, & Sahito, 2019). It can also be used to educate nurses on the possible benefits of combining western and nontraditional medicine to promote positive patient outcomes.

Nontraditional medicine forms part of most cultural caregiving practices. In the case study, although the nontraditional approaches used by the family members try to entice the sick children to eat seemed to affect their health further, numerous nontraditional methods have proven effective in managing other conditions. Addressing the problem through effective communication, the collaboration between nurses and patients, and the application of proper patient advocacy skills could promote the incorporation of the nontraditional medicine in western medicine approaches and ensure that patients receive quality care. Respecting patients’ backgrounds is essential in nursing.




Asif, M., Jameel, A., Hussain, A., Hwang, J., & Sahito, N. (2019). Linking Transformational Leadership with Nurse-Assessed Adverse Patient Outcomes and the Quality of Care: Assessing the Role of Job Satisfaction and Structural Empowerment. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 16(13), 2381. Retrieved from

Davoodvand, S., Abbaszadeh, A., & Ahmadi, F. (2016). Patient advocacy from the clinical nurses’ viewpoint: A qualitative study. Journal of Medical Ethics and History of Medicine, 9, 5. Retrieved from

Patwardhan, B. (2014). Bridging Ayurveda with evidence-based scientific approaches in medicine. EPMA Journal, 5(1), 9. Retrieved from

Sfantou, D. F., Laliotis, A., Patelarou, A. E., Sifaki-Pistolla, D., Matalliotakis, M., & Patelarou, E. (2017). Importance of Leadership Style towards Quality of Care Measures in Healthcare Settings: A Systematic Review. Healthcare (Basel), 5(4), 73. Retrieved from

Steels, E., Steele, M., Harold, M., Adams, L., & Coulson, S. (2018). A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial evaluating safety and efficacy of an ayurvedic botanical formulation in reducing menopausal symptoms in otherwise healthy women. Journal of Herbal Medicine, 11, 30-35. Retrieved from

Zamanzadeh, V., Jasemi, M., Valizadeh, L., Keogh, B., & Taleghani, F. (2015). Effective Factors in Providing Holistic Care: A Qualitative Study. Indian Journal of Palliative Care, 21(2),214-224. Retrieved from