A survey to determine the perceptions of nurses in the eThekwini region towards homeopathy
A survey method was employed to investigate the perceptions of nurses in eThekwini towards homeopathy. The aim of this study was to answer the following questions: What does the nursing community in the eThekwini region know of homeopathy? Does homeopathy have a role to play in a hospital setting in the context of South Africa? The study population was all nurses with 5 years experience or more working in hospitals in the eThekwini region. The sample was drawn from 6 public and 5 private hospitals and included staff nurses and professional nurses. A total of 330 questionnaires were distributed and a total of 200 questionnaires were returned (60.6%). A total of 93 nurses (46.5%) responded from the public sector and 107 nurses (53.5%) from the private sector. The study was carried out using a questionnaire as a measuring tool. The data was analysed using descriptive statistics using frequency tables and bar charts. The Pearson’s Chi Square Test was used on selected data. The majority of respondents were female (94%) and were between the ages of 26-35 and 36-45 years. Most of the respondents had been practising for 6-10 years and 11-15years. 19% of the total number of respondents had never heard of homeopathy and 10% indicated that they were quite familiar with the homeopathic profession. Of those respondents who had never heard of homeopathy, 71.1% were in the public sector and 28.9% in the private sector. Of those respondents who answered that they were quite familiar with homeopathy, 14.3% were in the public sector and 85.7% in the private sector. With regards to legitimacy of homeopathy most nurses working in the private hospitals (60.1%) perceived homeopathy to be a legitimate form of health care as compared to nurses working in public hospitals (39.9%). Generally, both groups considered communication and co-operation with homeopaths to be very poor. In total 79.49% of respondents said it would be beneficial to improve communication between the professions. The majority of respondents (70.06%) perceived that homeopathy does have a role to play in a hospital setting. Only 29.94% of respondents perceived that homeopathy had no role to play in a hospital setting. This indicates that many respondents perceive that integrated medicine is needed in a hospital setting. This study reveals that the respondents had a positive view of homeopathy in general, and were open to learning more about it, and to cooperate with homeopaths. The finding that knowledge of homeopathy is low, and communication between the two professions is poor, can be addressed through suitable publicity and education programmes.