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Honours thesis sheds light on nature of care delivered by CM practitioners

20 February 2017

Endeavour College of Natural Health today announced the publication of the first postgraduate thesis by one its students, Hope Foley, marking the first time a thesis was published in Australia by an Honours student from an educational institution dedicated solely to complementary medicine (CM).

This triumph is the culmination of Hope’s studies in Endeavour’s capstone Honours program, under supervision from Endeavour’s Associate Director Research Dr Amie Steel, and represents a milestone for the industry and its professions in the wider world of health science research.

“It has been incredibly exciting and satisfying to have the opportunity to contribute to something bigger than myself, and the evidence-base for my profession,” said Hope.

The work, entitled Patient perceptions of patient-centred care, empathy and empowerment in complementary medicine student clinics: a pilot project, is the product of Hope’s research into the clinical experience of complementary medicine patients who come to consult with student practitioners at Endeavour’s Wellnation Clinics in Brisbane.

Hope was inspired to conduct further study in this area based on her own passion for holistic care in her clinical practice.

“Patients often choose to consult with complementary medicine practitioners out of a desire to access holistic, patient-centred clinical care and to empower themselves in their journey toward wellness,” she said.

Hope’s research sought to assess whether these desires were being met by the type of care provided to patients of complementary medicine practitioners and the results were very promising, indicating the practitioners studied were indeed delivering patient-centred care.

Her Honour’s research has been reported on in three peer-reviewed articles, including a published literature review in the journal Patient Education and Counseling, as well as an invited commentary in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine and a research article reporting the results of her research in Advances in Integrative Medicine. The latter two of these are yet to be published, and the literature review is currently available to be viewed on ScienceDirect.

The publication of Hope’s thesis and articles are exciting indications of things to come from Endeavour’s Honours Program, open to students who have completed a Bachelor of Health Science in Acupuncture, Naturopathy, Nutrition and Dietetics, or Myotherapy

“Hope’s success in the Honours Program is an example of her own dedication and passion as well as our focus on developing research-savvy skills in our students,” said Dr Steel.

Senior Lecturer of the Honours program, Helene Diezel, was also particularly pleased with the outcome of Hope’s work.

“Hope has demonstrated a devoted commitment to her profession of naturopathy and produced a distinguished contribution to the broader field of complementary health care,” Ms Diezel said.

Hope has since been accepted into a PhD program through the Australian Research Centre in Complementary and Integrative Medicine at the University of Technology Sydney where she will expand on the research she conducted in her Honours degree.

Hope Foley and Dr Amie Steel
Hope Foley and Dr Amie Steel