Nurses’ Perceptions of Ayurvedic Medicine Compared to Western Medicine - in Kerala, India : An empirical study

University essay from Karlstads universitet/Fakulteten för hälsa, natur- och teknikvetenskap (from 2013)

Abstract: Introduction/background: Ayurveda is an ancient holistic medical system largely used in India. Complementary and alternative forms of medicine (CAM) like Ayurveda is starting to spread to the western parts of the world. In Sweden, there is an ongoing project of integrating CAM methods in Swedish health care. Research has shown that this has been beneficial for patients and can reduce care costs. Despite the popularity of CAM methods, knowledge of the methods might be deficient among Swedish healthcare staff. Aim: The aim of this study was to examine registered nurses’ perception of the use of ayurvedic medicine compared to western medicine in a hospital in Kerala, India. Method: A qualitative method was used with an inductive design. Data was collected through semi-structured interviews with five registered nurses. A thematic analysis was used to analyze the data. Result: The analysis resulted in three themes: Pros and cons, To combine or not? and Negotiating the use of Ayurveda. Conclusion: Ayurveda can be helpful in treating less critical conditions. Western medicine was seen as more relevant when treating more serious illnesses. Ayurvedic treatments was perceived to take longer and have more side effects. A combination of the two medical approaches was not recommended, however, Ayurveda could work as a complement to western medicine in terms of less acute conditions. 

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