Medical students use, attitudes towards, and knowledge of complementary and alternative medicine: A scoping review
AuthorBrown, S; Bilszta, JLC
Source TitleAsia Pacific Scholar
PublisherYong Loo Lin School of Medicine
University of Melbourne Author/sBilszta, Justin
Document TypeJournal Article
CitationsBrown, S. & Bilszta, J. L. C. (2021). Medical students use, attitudes towards, and knowledge of complementary and alternative medicine: A scoping review. Asia Pacific Scholar, 6 (4), pp.107-117. https://doi.org/10.29060/TAPS.2021-6-4/OA2470.
Access StatusAccess this item via the Open Access location
Open Access URLPublished version
Introduction: Use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is popular in the general population and medical practitioners may not be fully equipped in their knowledge of CAM to advise patients appropriately. The aim of this paper was to perform a scoping review of current literature describing undergraduate medical student use, attitudes, and knowledge of CAM as a means of better understanding the educational needs of these students. Methods: A systematic search of Medline, PubMed and the Education Resources Information Center (ERIC) databases with keywords related to “complementary and alternative medicine” and “undergraduate medical students” for relevant articles published until August 2020. Results: Of 131 papers identified, 38 underwent full review. It was found 13-80% of medical students use CAM, and overall have a positive attitude towards CAM therapies. Female medical students and those with religiosity had more positive attitudes towards CAM than their male colleagues and those without a religion. Knowledge of CAM is lacking with approximately only half of students feeling they were knowledgeable about CAM therapies. Popular information resources are the Internet and social media, but students expressed they want more teaching of CAM in the undergraduate medical curriculum. Conclusion: Evidence suggests high usage of CAM amongst undergraduate medical students, and positive attitudes towards CAM therapies; however, knowledge of CAM is poor, and students want more CAM teaching to upskill them in counselling patients interested in CAM therapies. Further areas for research include a better understanding of resources medical students use for their knowledge and how gender and religiosity influence attitudes towards CAM.
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