The awareness of contextual factors, placebo and nocebo effects among nursing students: Findings from a cross-sectional study.Nurse Educ Pract. 2020 Jan; 42:102670.NE
Contextual Factors (CFs) have been documented to influence nursing interventions and patients' outcomes triggering placebo/nocebo effects. However, given that no studies to date have explored the beliefs and the use of CFs among nursing students, a cross-sectional study was undertaken. Two Italian nursing programmes were involved and a self-administered survey tool was used. A total of 510 students participated. The majority (266; 52.2%) defined CFs as an intervention without a specific effect on the condition being treated, but with a possible nonspecific effect. They reported a substantial level of confidence in CFs and in using them more than twice/week in addition to nursing interventions to optimise clinical outcomes. Physiological and psychological therapeutic effects were mostly reported by participants in treating insomnia (n = 351; 68.8%) and chronic pain (n = 310; 60.8%). The use of CF was considered ethically acceptable when it exerted beneficial psychological effects (n = 188; 36.8%). Participants communicated to patients that a CF is a treatment that can help and will not hurt (n = 128; 25.1%). Students are aware of the value of CFs. Increasing their emphasis in nursing programmes can promote nursing students' consideration with regards to their use, their underlying mechanisms, their potential effects, as well as their ethical and comunicative implications.