Pills, Potions and Prayers: How Do Nurses in the Southwest Region of Cameroon Integrate Western and Traditional Medicine Within Their Daily Lives? A Literature Review

By Catherine Delves-Yates.

Published by The International Journal of Health, Wellness and Society

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Within their practice, nurses in the Southwest Region of Cameroon apply a Western approach to professional nursing which is evident at the very commencement of their nursing career, with their basic nursing education being guided by a curriculum within which a Western model of nursing and allopathic medical treatment are central. Conversely, when exploring the actions these qualified nurses take when a family member (their child, for example) becomes sick and requires medical intervention, many describe using traditional remedies and visiting traditional healers rather than applying the Western approach of their professional practice. Such inconsistency in their actions could be considered as illogical or even as a paradox. What makes the situation in the Southwest Region of Cameroon, similarly to much of sub-Saharan Africa, particularly fascinating is how a coherent traditional world view has been maintained and translated into the everyday aspects of a much more modern, technological society.

Keywords: Nursing Education, Professional Practice, Traditional Beliefs, Integration

The International Journal of Health, Wellness and Society, Volume 3, Issue 2, pp.85-91. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 337.081KB).

Catherine Delves-Yates

Lecturer, School of Nursing Sciences, University of East Anglia, Norwich, Norfolk, UK

Catherine Delves-Yates is an experienced nurse and a lecturer at the School of Nursing Sciences, University of East Anglia. She started her nursing career as a student nurse at the Nightingale School of Nursing, London and has worked clinically in adult and paediatric critical care in the UK and has taught and nursed in America, Africa and Nepal. She is an External Examiner for the University of Hertfordshire, UK, an Honorary Lecturer at the University of Buea and the Higher Institute of Applied Medical Sciences, Cameroon and an International Advisor to Patan Academy of Health Sciences, Nepal. Catherine is currently researching how nurses in Cameroon choose to use traditional medicine within their family unit whilst practicing Western based medicine in their professional life.