Considering the alternatives: a special study module in complementary therapy

Sheila Greenfield, Andrew Wearn, M Hunton, Michael Innes

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    4 Citations (Scopus)


    OBJECTIVES: This study sought to describe the motivation, experience and attitude change of 21 undergraduate medical students who chose a special study module in complementary therapy (CT). DESIGN: Survey; self-administered questionnaire before and after the module. SETTING: Second year medical students' course special study module in CT concentrating on homeopathy at The University of Birmingham Medical School, UK. RESULTS: Twenty questionnaires were completed at each time point with 19 sets of paired data. Students saw the module as offering a rare opportunity to examine and evaluate non-orthodox therapies. Eleven students had personal experience of a CT prior to the module, but there was a wide range of student attitudes from 'scepticism' to 'acceptance'. Students tended to rate the efficacy of CT as a whole, and homeopathy in isolation, similarly (P = 0.005). This trend was less marked at the end (P = 0.077). On both occasions CT was rated higher. Individual student's ratings moved in both directions. Twelve students considered learning and practising a CT, most commonly acupuncture. CONCLUSIONS: The evolution of UK undergraduate medical curricula has begun to incorporate non-core components through special study modules. The Birmingham CT module was popular and attracted students with a range of initial attitudes. We have demonstrated that it allowed a process of discernment about the value and role of CT within the established medical system whilst maintaining heterogeneity of opinion.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)15-20
    Number of pages6
    JournalComplementary Therapies in Medicine
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2000


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