As many as one out of three Americans uses alternative health therapies. The purpose of this study was to describe the type and frequency of alternative health care practices and sociodemographics of patients in nurse practitioner clinics in North Mississippi in order to determine implications for nurse practitioners. Leininger's Theory of Cultural Care Diversity and Universality served as the conceptual framework for this study. The researcher, using a descriptive study design, sought to answer the following questions: 1) What are the characteristics of patients who use alternative health care practices? 2) What types of alternative health care practices are being used by patients who attend nurse practitioner clinics? and 3) What is the frequency of alternative health care practices for patients who visit nurse practitioner clinics? A convenience sample of voluntary participants was identified in two nurse practitioner clinics. The sample consisted of 66 rural and 47 urban patients for a total of 113. Patients were surveyed using the Barrett Folk Alternative Health Information Survey. Findings related to the frequency of alternative therapies concluded that there were no differences in the usage of alternative therapies between the rural and urban clinics. Statistical significance was shown in relation to income and race for the frequency of alternative therapies. The findings of this research study indicated that alternative therapy use is common among the patients that attend nurse practitioner clinics both rural and urban in North Mississippi. The data indicated that the patients who used alternative health care practices were predominately white, with an annual income greater than $40,000. A qualitative question revealed respondents thought diet and exercise were important in maintaining health. Further research is recommended using a larger sample, larger geographical area, and using a tool with established reliability.


Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)


Graduate Nursing

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