Interesting to note that the North American Nursing Diagnosis Association (NANDA) has finally removed “Disturbed energy field” from its books as a valid nursing diagnostic term. Although, the qualification for its removal was a rather vague:
“All literature support currently provided for this diagnosis is regarding intervention rather than for the nursing diagnosis itself.”
That sounds a little tautological, and maybe politically phrased to avoid offense to the many nurse therapeutic touch (TT) practitioners. I am not sure how evidence would pertain to a diagnosis rather than a practice? Maybe they mean’t that the nonscientific, and bad scientific work quoted in support of it only referred to the therapeutic use of TT rather than an energy field disturbance? Who knows, but at least its gone.
However, it was on the books for 22 years, and this speaks to the power of the anti-science agenda in North American nursing, that still pervades much of the profession, and especially in nursing academia. It was only really due to the public outcry and work of more high profile skeptics opposing this sort of nonsense (such as James Randi, Rob Glickman, Brian Hart), and registered nurses as discussed here:
… that this issue was ever taken seriously by NANDA at all.
The California Board of RNs actually issued continuing education credits (CEUs) for nurses undertaking TT courses until they were spoofed by a skeptics organization and their board terminated (sorry couldn’t resist) from office by Governor Schwarzenegger in 2009 http://www.iigwest.com/investigations/cbrn/. It is still amazing to think that a class teaching Feng Shui, Anthropomancy, and TT was actually approved as a valid source of education development for qualified nurses, sigh…
However, this return to clear thinking about the role of magical therapies in healthcare and scientific evidence has yet to cross the border it seems. The Canadian Nurse publication has had two articles in it promoting TT in the last few years, and the College of Registered Nurses of British Columbia (CRNBC) still allows nurses who practice TT to use their RN title to promote it and sell TT services, supports it as a nursing intervention, and has stated it is within the scope of RN practice (with training in the methods). TT is also still taught here at Langara College locally. http://langara.ca/continuing-studies/programs-and-courses/programs/therapeutic-touch/index.html (although not in the School of Nursing there). I wrote to the head of the department (Contiinuing Ed.) and the President at Langara earlier this year about my concerns in teaching non-evidence based magical health therapies in a public educational institution. I have yet to receive a reply from either. The standard for its justification here is hearsay, the usual “other ways of knowing” argument and bad-science/pseudoscience, which I find very odd. We would not accept that sort of justification for support of blood letting or animal sacrifice as valuable healthcare practices. So why allow this level of evidence to justify TT? I can only summize it is a profitable endeavour.
Plenty of work to do it seems. In light of this I would be very interested to hear from any Canadian Nurses who have attended continuing education sessions, or courses recently that taught magical content. Especially those who would be prepared to share handouts from such session (anonymised please).
In the meantime I wonder if I should pull together a course on anthropomancy, I know of a local college that just might be interested…
Happy Halloween all,