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Enhancing students’ preparedness to care for older people: A mixed methods analysis

Kelly, M.A., Slatyer, S., Nichols, P., Osseiran-Moisson, R., Parsons, R. and Brand, G. (2020) Enhancing students’ preparedness to care for older people: A mixed methods analysis. Collegian, 27 (5). pp. 553-560.

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Nursing students’ positive attitudes towards ageing and older people are central to developing person-centred care. Perceptions about older people are influenced by social and generational values and beliefs, including a general understanding that older people need to be cared for. Nursing students often undertake early clinical placements in aged care settings, where residents’ needs are complex, yet the nursing experience is often considered ‘basic’ care. Illustrating that older people have rich personal histories and are valuable contributors to society can balance students’ perceptions and expectations and outcomes of clinical placements. Educational interventions using photo-elicitation and in-depth dialogue may surface students’ assumptions and challenge their misperceptions of older people before the first clinical placement.

To examine the impact of the innovative Depth of Field: Exploring Ageing © (DOF) resource as preparation for nursing students’ clinical placement in residential aged care facilities.

Mixed methods, block randomised controlled study with first year students. Students attending clinical laboratory groups received either usual preparation (control, n = 108) or DOF plus usual preparation (intervention, n = 99). Pre/post surveys included: Geriatric Attitudes Scale (GAS) and demographics. Eight students from the intervention group participated in focus groups post-clinical.

Groups were similar at baseline. There were statistically significant changes following the intervention (p ≤ .05) for 9/13 individual GAS items and difference in overall mean scores (intervention group: M = 0.26; SD = 0.27; control group: M = 0.01; SD = 0.27). Focus group themes included: preconceptions toward older people; feelings of being emotionally unprepared; and perceptions of the DOF intervention in preparing students to connect with the older person.

The DOF vignette provided opportunity for students to preflect on ageing. Translation to practice was evidenced with students seeing beyond residents’ physical care requirements to the value of connecting with the older person’s story to facilitate person-centred care.

The DOF intervention assisted students to adopt positive attitudes and a broader perspective of older people, as preparation for placement in residential aged care facilities.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: Nursing
Publisher: Elsevier BV
Copyright: © 2020 Australian College of Nursing Ltd.
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