• Users Online: 227
  • Print this page
  • Email this page

 Table of Contents  
Year : 2021  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 1-4

Teaching traditional Chinese medicine classics to clinical nurses: Taking Treatise on Cold Damage for example

1 Department of Nursing, Dongfang Hospital, Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, Beijing, China
2 Department of Outpatient, The Third Hospital Affiliated to Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, Beijing, China
3 Department of TCM Nursing, School of Nursing, Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, Beijing, China

Date of Submission17-Nov-2020
Date of Decision21-Jan-2021
Date of Acceptance21-Jan-2021
Date of Web Publication18-Mar-2021

Correspondence Address:
Xue-Ling Ma
School of Nursing, Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, Gongchen Street, Fangshan District, Beijing
Login to access the Email id

Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jin.jin_04_20

Rights and Permissions

How to cite this article:
Tang L, Liu J, Xu JJ, Ma XL. Teaching traditional Chinese medicine classics to clinical nurses: Taking Treatise on Cold Damage for example. J Integr Nurs 2021;3:1-4

How to cite this URL:
Tang L, Liu J, Xu JJ, Ma XL. Teaching traditional Chinese medicine classics to clinical nurses: Taking Treatise on Cold Damage for example. J Integr Nurs [serial online] 2021 [cited 2023 May 27];3:1-4. Available from: https://www.journalin.org/text.asp?2021/3/1/1/311583

The classics of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) are the origin and essence of TCM and the embodiment of the essence of TCM. Classic works such as The Yellow Emperor's Inner Classic, Treatise on Cold Damage, Synopsis of Golden Chamber, and Systematic Differentiation of Warm Diseases are not only the source of the theoretical system of TCM, but also the fundamental law to guide the clinical practice of TCM, which is of great significance in the history of the development of TCM.[1] An in-depth study of TCM classics is crucial to anyone who develops as a well-recognized TCM practitioner.

TCM nursing is an essential discipline in TCM as a broad science, and TCM classics lay the foundation for TCM nursing. TCM classics not only offer both theoretical knowledge and operational skills of TCM nursing, but also contain rich concepts for nursing practice, which still show value in contemporary nursing clinical practice. Therefore, the classics are fundamental for career development in TCM nursing and are indispensable in education.

At present, increasingly more attention has been paid to TCM classics in the routine teaching. However, formal curriculums are still scarce. As one of the classics of TCM, the content and thought of Treatise on Cold Damage has also shed light in TCM nursing. In this paper, taking Treatise on Cold Damage as an example, we aim to discuss teaching methods for TCM classics, and explore the ideas of how to guide nursing clinical practice.

  Clarify the Purpose of Clinical Nurses in Learning Traditional Chinese Medicine Classics Top

In recent years, TCM nursing in China has developed vigorously, but throughout the course of clinical development of TCM nursing, the low TCM literacy level of nurses has always been the key barrier for the exertion of clinical advantages.[2] Higher education of TCM nursing in China started late and developed slowly. At present, most of the nurses have graduated from western medical colleges. Only a small portion of the nurses have graduated from TCM colleges or universities, but even among them, curriculums in western medicine are significantly dominant. A considerable number of nurses practicing in TCM hospitals have little basic knowledge of TCM. The TCM knowledge they learned cannot meet the needs of TCM clinical nursing under most circumstances (e.g., the new situation, patients' needs, disease prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation).[3] To improve the quality of TCM nursing, much attention should be paid to the training of TCM nursing talents, so that TCM nurses have basic knowledge of TCM and nursing ability of syndrome differentiation.[4] In the past, the nursing education of TCM tended to explain the basic knowledge points, but a large number of dialectical thoughts contained in the classics of TCM were ignored.[5]

Take Treatise on Cold Damage as an example. Treatise on Cold Damage is the first TCM classic that has combined the fundamental theories of TCM with pearls for clinical practice. It has created a precedent of “treatment based on syndrome differentiation.” The book exhaustively describes key elements for successful nursing for each prescription, including frequency, dosing, and timing. It also emphasizes the observation of patients' postmedication reactions and formulates postmedication measures to ensure the curative effect of clinical treatment. Appropriate observation of the changing phases of a disease plays an important role in recovery.[6],[7] Treatise on Cold Damage also stresses the importance of diet management based on syndrome differentiation. For nursing modalities, it discusses in detail the fuming therapy, steaming washing therapy, cauterization therapy, and so on. In addition, TCM nursing theories and methods are also discussed in detail in other TCM classics such as The Yellow Emperor's Inner Classic, Synopsis of Golden Chamber, and Systematic Differentiation of Warm Diseases.[8],[9]

Chinese General Secretary Xi Jinping clearly pointed out that it is necessary to follow the law of the development of TCM, inherit the essence, and uphold integrity and innovation. Inheriting the classics of TCM is the embodiment of the law of the development of TCM. As the guardians of people's health, only by deeply studying the classics of TCM, can nurses give full play to the unique advantages and role of TCM in disease prevention and treatment.

  Carry Out Rich and Various Learning Activities in Clinics Top

Although TCM classics contain rich nursing connotations of TCM, the contents of TCM classics are obscure and difficult to understand. For highly professional ancient documents, only with the help of ancient Chinese dictionaries, we can understand the meaning, structure, and use of the original text. Moreover, the task of clinical nurses is heavy, and some nurses who graduated from western medical colleges and universities are lack of basic knowledge of TCM and are a certain degree of fear of difficulties. Therefore, there are great challenges for learning classical knowledge of TCM. For those reasons, it is necessary to carry out a variety of learning activities step by step with gradually increased level of difficulty to stimulate clinical nurses' interest in learning.

  Sort Out Traditional Chinese Medicine Classic Provisions Related to Nursing Top

There are a large number of classical ancient books of TCM and a wide range of knowledge, and the nursing content is scattered in the medical works of early dynasties, which is not convenient for nurses to read and learn directly. Therefore, it is necessary to sort out the classical provisions with nursing connotations pertinently to help nurses to focus on learning the classic provisions. Some scholars have expounded the nursing contents in the classics of TCM from different perspectives. For example, Shi[10] analyzed Treatise on Cold Damage and Synopsis of Golden Chamber from the point of view of diet nursing and clinical nursing. Diet nursing includes four aspects: conditioning diet to prevent disease, precautions for diet conditioning, diet care for fever, and diet nursing after taking medicine. Clinical nursing includes condition observation, medicine nursing, and nursing operation techniques. Wang et al.[11] summarized Zhongjing's nursing thoughts through five parts: nursing before illness onset, nursing based on syndrome differentiation, nursing with medicine, diet nursing, and nursing after illness. Liu et al.[12] combed the TCM classics from philosophical thinking, human physiology, disease prevention and treatment, daily life nursing, psychological and emotional nursing, diet nursing, and medication nursing. These lessons provide enlightening and guiding models for us to sort out and learn the nursing contents of TCM classics according to the characteristics of the disciplines.

  Make Full Use of Internet Resources for Learning Top

With the development of computer science and technology, images, video, animation, and other applications in the field of education are becoming more and more extensive and mature. These forms of resources are accepted by more and more people because of their good image and interest. Through the alternating demonstration of a variety of information, the abstract and complex theories of TCM are displayed directly and vividly, the static teaching is gradually changed into dynamic teaching, and the profound medical theory is integrated into the vivid explanation. With good visualization to bring positive teaching effect to the classical teaching of TCM, it is helpful to stimulate students' interest in learning and improve their autonomy and enthusiasm in learning.[13]

Due to clinical nurses' different work experience and graduation from different universities, there exist differences in the mastery of TCM knowledge among them, so the schedule is different, which brings a certain difficulty to carry out unified offline classroom learning. However, the Internet has just solved this problem. In the Internet learning, clinical nurses can master the learning progress by themselves and repeat the course, combined with the rich network resources to achieve the maximum learning efficiency, and stimulate the interest in learning.[14]

  Develop Case-Based Learning–Teaching Methods Top

In the previous clinical teaching, case-based learning (CBL) has been widely used,[15] and its core is the case-led, problem-based, student-centered, teacher-guided group discussion teaching method.[16] “Case-led, question-based” provides students with a simulated clinical environment to help students form clinical thinking as early as possible; “student-centered, teacher-guided” can improve students' initiative to learn, give full play to the main role of students, and cultivate students' self-learning ability and innovation ability.[17],[18]

For example, the teacher can prepare a teaching case every week, and encourage students to think and to discuss problems from the perspective of classical nursing of TCM, and each student report in turn, and then start the discussion. In the CBL teaching method, teachers point out a certain direction for students to think about problems, which is conducive to improving efficiency and saving time; moreover, students think deeply around a case, and the specific content of the report is different, which is conducive to the collision and blending of ideas. In the process of sharing and discussion, students can exchange thoughts and make supplement their own views, and learn more rich knowledge in a relatively short period of time.

  Grand Rounds of Traditional Chinese Medicine Nursing Inheritance Teaching Top

The original strength of TCM comes from clinical practice, and nurses learn TCM classics in order to better practice TCM clinically. Therefore, in the process of learning TCM classics, we should not work behind closed doors, but should actively participate in the discussion of real clinical cases, so as to combine theory with practice and put what we have learned into practice.

The TCM nursing inheritance teaching rounds, through following TCM nursing experts into the TCM nursing clinics to learn and summarize their TCM academic thoughts, is a teaching method of organic combination of TCM theory and practical experience. Emphasis is placed on the cultivation of TCM clinical thinking of specialist nurses.[19] Nursing teaching rounds are based on real cases in which teachers perform their clinical assessment through four diagnostic methods: inspection, listening and smelling, inquiring, and pulse taking. They extensively collect patients' condition information and make clear nursing diagnosis, then focus on the disease to explain the basic theory, analyze the etiology and pathogenesis, clarify the syndrome type and nursing diagnosis, and formulate the nursing plan of syndrome differentiation all from the perspective of TCM. In the process of ward rounds, teachers show students the whole process of TCM clinical thinking, and gradually cultivate their thinking mode of syndrome differentiation and nursing through interactive questions and discussion.[20]

TCM nursing teaching rounds can make students feel the great charm of TCM classics intuitively, and help to stimulate students' interest in learning TCM classics. At the same time, the study of the practical application of TCM classics also provides important help for students to further understand TCM classics and learn TCM classics.

  The Prospect of Learning the Connotation of Nursing in Traditional Chinese Medicine Classics Top

With the change of modern medical model and people's concept of health, the advantages of TCM nursing are becoming more and more obvious and are constantly affirmed and respected by the medical community. It plays an important role in improving health-care quality and improving overall quality of life, but at present, the advantages of TCM nursing have not been brought into full play, and TCM nursing more often means simple technical level such as scraping and cupping. However, the real characteristics of “syndrome differentiation and nursing” are difficult to demonstrate.[21],[22] At the same time, the lack of theoretical knowledge of TCM will also greatly affect the quality of nurses' nursing operation and their confidence in continuing learning.

The full play of the advantages of TCM nursing is inseparable from the strengthening of the basic education of TCM for nurses. The development of TCM nursing should follow the path of inheritance, innovation, and development. Although the theory of TCM is in a relatively stable state within the system, it must develop and enrich the corresponding prevention and treatment ideas and methods with the changes of disease spectrum and pathogenesis of human society.[23] Therefore, in the process of learning the basic theory of TCM and excavating the connotation of nursing of TCM classics, clinical nurses should practice in combination with the actual situation, transform the basic knowledge into a tool to solve clinical problems, and promote the deep and extended specialization of TCM nursing.

  References Top

Xiong JB. On studying classics of traditional Chinese medicine. Shanghai J Tradit Chin Med 2019;53:5-6.  Back to cited text no. 1
Zhang SQ, Chen LL, Wang DQ, et al. Clinical development and prospect of TCM nursing. Chin Nurs Manage 2019;19:1464-6.  Back to cited text no. 2
Shen LJ, He GJ, Zhou YX, et al. Problems and countermeasures of TCM nursing and nursing management under the situation of new medical reform. J TCM Manage2018;26:4-5.  Back to cited text no. 3
Wang H, Zhang HP. Discussion on application of TCM thinking in clinical nursing. Jiangsu J Tradit Chin Med 2016;48:74-5.  Back to cited text no. 4
Tang XL. Thoughts and suggestions on strengthening the training of TCM nurses. J Guangxi Tradit Chin Med Univ 2007;10:134-5.  Back to cited text no. 5
Lu HL. Discussion on application of dialectical nursing thought in Treatise on Cold Damage. Mod Nurs 2006;12:2935-6.  Back to cited text no. 6
Guo YK, Liu XX, Wang ZL. An analysis of nursing after taking medicine in Treatise on Cold Damage and Miscellaneous Diseases. J Henan Tradit Chin Med 2018;38:990-2.  Back to cited text no. 7
Li YH. On reasonable application of medicines in Synopsis of the Golden Chamber. J Tradit Chin Med 2007;6:21-2.  Back to cited text no. 8
Jiao WB, Gai FC, Qin TZ, et al. Traditional Chinese medicine nursing method in Huangdi Neijing. J Changchun Univ Tradit Chin Med 2019;35:795-7.  Back to cited text no. 9
Shi YC. A brief discussion on TCM nursing of Treatise on Cold Damage. Jiangsu J TCM 2007;39:49-51.  Back to cited text no. 10
Wang ZH, Liu T, Yu J. A brief analysis of Zhongjing's nursing thought. Guid J Tradit Chin Med Pharm 2017;23:120-1.  Back to cited text no. 11
Liu L, Gong HW, Zhang YJ, et al. Arrangement and database establishment of TCM nursing literature in four classics of ancient Chinese medicine. Chin Nurs Res 2017;31:1608-10.  Back to cited text no. 12
Liu TG, Bai C, Yu H, et al. Survey and analysis of study status of TCM classics courses. Educ Chin Med 2020;39:50-2.  Back to cited text no. 13
Li DH, Zhu LJ, Yang Z, et al. Construction and application of network teaching platform of basic theories of TCM. Guid J Tradit Chin Med Pharm 2017;23:117-8.  Back to cited text no. 14
Srinivasan M, Xia Y, Gu MM. Comparing problem-based learning with case-based learning: Effects of a major curricular shift at two institutions. Fudan Educ Forum 2009;7:88-91.  Back to cited text no. 15
Jane J. Case-based learning and reticence in a bilingual context: Perceptions of business students in Hong Kong. System 2003;31:457-69.  Back to cited text no. 16
Hao PY, Sun XL. Feasibility study on the application of CBL teaching method based on job record in nursing teaching in emergency department. Chin Med Record 2020;21:64-7.  Back to cited text no. 17
Zhang Y, Wang ZW, Zeng XP, et al. CBL teaching approach applied in respiratory medicine: Practice and introspection. Chin Med Educ Tech 2013;27:236-8.  Back to cited text no. 18
Li Y, Tang L, Zhang XJ, et al. Construction of a cultivation mode for TCM nursing inheritance. Nurs Integr Tradit Chin West Med 2019;5:1-4.  Back to cited text no. 19
Zhang XJ, Tang L, Zhang J, et al. Discussion on optimizing TCM nursing ward round model based on the inheritance of TCM nursing. Nurs Integr Tradit Chin West Med 2019;5:15-6.  Back to cited text no. 20
Wang M. Thoughts on the prospect of TCM nursing development. Chin Nurs Manage 2007;7:19-21.  Back to cited text no. 21
Wang JY, Tang L, Li Y. Current problems and prospects of training of TCM nurses. Chin J Mod Nurs 2013;19:3432-4.  Back to cited text no. 22
Xu Y, Pan Y, Yang L, et al. Inheriting the essence, adherence and innovation: The fundamental principle of the development of traditional Chinese medicine in the New Era. J Hunan Univ Chin Med 2020;40:872-6.  Back to cited text no. 23


Similar in PUBMED
   Search Pubmed for
   Search in Google Scholar for
Access Statistics
Email Alert *
Add to My List *
* Registration required (free)

  In this article
Clarify the Purp...
Carry Out Rich a...
Sort Out Traditi...
Make Full Use of...
Develop Case-Bas...
Grand Rounds of ...
The Prospect of ...

 Article Access Statistics
    PDF Downloaded165    
    Comments [Add]    

Recommend this journal