Nursing Workforce in Hubei China: Implications for the development of traditional Chinese medicine education

Yi Cai, Zongfu Mao, Kirsten Corazzini, Marcia A. Petrini, Bei Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Research evidence suggests that educating nurses about traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) significantly improves their nursing care practice and the health care outcomes of community residents. The purpose of this study was to describe the current use of TCM by China's nursing workforce, as well as the typical nurse to physician ratio and types of TCM education that nurses receive in health care facilities. A large retrospective survey was conducted in Hubei Province, China, in 2010. The sample included 620 non-TCM hospitals, 120 TCM hospitals, and 1254 community health centers (CHCs). Descriptive analysis and 1-way analysis of variance were used to test statistical differences. There were 79 447 nurses employed, of which 1527 had a TCM degree and 5689 had on-the-job TCM education. Non-TCM hospitals employed more nurses than TCM hospitals and CHCs, and TCM hospitals employed more TCM nurses than non-TCM hospitals and CHCs. The median nurse to physician ratio varied by level of urbanization and type of health care facility, from 0.6 in rural CHCs to 1.3 in rural non-TCM hospitals. Differences in TCM education preparation of nurses were significantly different in the urban and rural settings and by type of health care facility. The study suggested a shortage of nurses educated in TCM in Hubei Province China, as well as uneven TCM workforce distribution. More opportunities for TCM education are needed for nurses, especially in CHCs where health promotion and chronic disease management are the most important and mandated functions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)370-376
Number of pages7
JournalHolistic Nursing Practice
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2015


  • China
  • Health facilities
  • Health manpower
  • Nursing education
  • Traditional Chinese medicine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Complementary and alternative medicine
  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing


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