Nursing faculty attitudes : knowledge and practice of therapeutic touch
Hughes, Lynn Janine
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Therapeutic touch is increasingly recognized as a nursing intervention that complements traditional medical care. Few studies specifically address nursing faculty perspectives on therapeutic touch and whether faculty include therapeutic touch theory or skills content in courses they teach. The purpose of this study was to describe nursing faculty attitudes, knowledge and practice of therapeutic touch. In addition, barriers to practicing or teaching therapeutic touch were identified. A survey (n=23) of nursing faculty teaching undergraduate students was conducted in a university-based nursing program. Faculty were in agreement about incorporating content on the theory of therapeutic touch into nursing curricula. Over 85% of faculty thought that patients could benefit from therapeutic touch and that therapeutic touch holds promise for treatment of disease. Nearly 74% of faculty thought that clinical nursing care should integrate the use of therapeutic touch. Few (30%) had received formal therapeutic touch education.Over half (56.5%) desired more education about therapeutic touch but primarily for the purposes of personal knowledge and teaching nursing students rather than for practicing therapeutic touch. The primary barrier to using therapeutic touch in practice was identified as lack of staff training. The most important perceived barrier to incorporating therapeutic touch practice into nursing curricula was lack of faculty training. Current faculty knowledge of therapeutic touch, in this sample, lingers behind interest, suggesting an environment ready for change. Identifying faculty attitudes, knowledge and practice of therapeutic touch could have an impact on inclusion of therapeutic touch in future nursing curricula. Understanding faculty desire for therapeutic touch education could help in faculty development critical to integrating therapeutic touch in curricula and practice. A nursing college that incorporates therapeutic touch demonstrates commitment to a holistic nursing environment.