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Roles of Nurses in Businesses Offering Complementary/Alternative or Holistic Practices

Raindrop Therapy:

The Board was requested to issue an opinion on the performance of “Raindrop Technique” therapy by a licensed practical nurse.   Following discussion of the questions posed, information provided, and statutes governing nursing practice, it was the advisory opinion of the Board that the performance of massage techniques using oils for promotion of relaxation is within the scope of LPN practice for the LPN who is educationally prepared and clinically competent in the procedures.  
 
The Kentucky Nursing Laws (KRS Chapter 314) do not prohibit a nurse from operating a retail enterprise.  The nurse is accountable and responsible for utilizing his/her nursing knowledge, judgment and skill, and providing health-related practices with reasonable skill and safety.  The nurse in providing complimentary, alternative or holistic practices is responsible and accountable for assuring that the client or legal guardian is provided with sufficient information about the proposed modalities in order for the client to give informed consent as needed.

It should be assured that scientifically valid data exists which supports the validity and efficacy of the practices.  Nurses are cautioned regarding making health related claims that are not scientifically based or supported by reliable and valid research.  Nurses should rely upon research findings that are based on studies that include data collection, analysis and interpretation, and use a sound research design and not based solely on anecdotal and personal experiences and opinions of individuals.  Nurses may wish to seek advice from nurse researchers in interpreting the usefulness and scientific reliability of published information. 

Caution should be taken in how the information is presented to the public regarding the purposes and uses of oils/substances you use.  KRS Chapter 367, The Kentucky Consumer Protection Act, prohibits the making of commercial claims that are fraudulent or deceptive. 

Holistic Retail Store:

A letter requested an opinion on the role of the registered nurse in establishing a business operating a holistic retail store offering complementary, alternative, and/or holistic practices.  Various questions were asked including the following:

  1. Is it within the scope of practice for a registered nurse in Kentucky to educate clients on the risks, dangers, hazards or benefits, if any, of complimentary therapies a client may be using, if such hazards are scientifically proven and known to the RN—for example, in Moby’s Nursing Drug Handbook 2005 that covers herbal monographs and prints herb-drug interactions a retail patron/consumer could be using while trying to purchase herbal products?

  2. A client in a hospital informs an RN they combine ginkgo (blood-thinner) with their aspirin regimen.  Would an RN have a duty to inform the patient about potential cumulative blood-thinning actions and suggest contacting the prescriber of the medical aspirin?

  3. Is “counseling and health teaching” an independent RN function?

  4. Could an RN supplement/cosmetic retailer supply educational literature and not be practicing as an RN?  Can an RN turn the license “off and on”?

Following discussion of the questions posed and the statutes governing nursing practice,  it was the advisory opinion of the Board that the Kentucky Nursing Laws (KRS Chapter 314) do not prohibit a nurse from operating a retail enterprise.  The nurse is accountable and responsible for utilizing his/her nursing knowledge, judgment and skill, and providing health related practices with reasonable skill and safety.  The nurse in providing complimentary, alternative or holistic practices is responsible and accountable for assuring that the client or legal guardian is provided with sufficient information about the proposed modalities in order for the client to give informed consent as needed.  

It should be assured that scientifically valid data exists which supports the validity and efficacy of the practices.  Nurses are cautioned regarding making health-related claims that are not scientifically based or supported by reliable and valid research.  Nurses should rely upon research findings that are based on studies that include data collection, analysis and interpretation, and use a sound research design and not based solely on anecdotal and personal experiences and opinions of individuals.  Nurses may wish to seek advice from nurse researchers in interpreting the usefulness and scientific reliability of published information. 

In response to the specific questions listed above, yes to Questions 1, 2 and 3.  In addition, if a nurse is practicing in a health care facility, then the nurse should practice  according to established facility policies and procedures.  In response to Question 4, the  Board advised that a nurse, holding a current active license in Kentucky, is accountable for his/her nursing practice.  Legal counsel should address the additional questions related to clients signing waivers.

 

Last Updated 7/11/2007
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