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Improving student nurses' aged care understandings through a supported placement
Aim The study aimed to identify the potential for aged care placements to deliver benefits for second year nursing students when conducted within a supportive framework with debriefing and critical reflection opportunities.
Background: Given the ageing population and complex care needs of aged care facility residents, exacerbated by the high prevalence of dementia, the healthcare workforce's ability to meet older people's care needs is paramount. Yet research shows that nursing students are disengaged from aged care.
Methods: Using a quasi-experimental mixed method design within an action research framework, 40 students were allocated a 3-week supported placement in 2011-2012 at one of the two intervention residential aged care facilities in Tasmania, Australia. Staff formed mentor action research groups in each facility and participated in a pre-placement capacity-building programme. Thirty-nine students were placed across 14 control facilities. Data were collected via meetings with students and pre-post placement questionnaires on placement experiences, attitudes and dementia knowledge.
Results: The intervention facility placement programme led to mentors and students being well prepared for the placement and to students experiencing enhanced teaching and learning derived from high levels of mentor support and increased autonomy. Students' knowledge, understanding and attitudes around aged care and dementia improved.
Discussion: Mentors working together within an action research framework can provide a supported residential aged care placement for nursing students that improves students' aged care attitudes and understandings.
Conclusion and Implications for Nursing and Health Policy: Provision of quality, supported aged care student placements is vital to prepare a new generation of nurses who will have to deal with the complex chronic healthcare needs associated with an ageing population.
Publication titleInternational Nursing Review
Department/SchoolWicking Dementia Research Education Centre
PublisherWiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
Place of publicationUnited Kingdom
Rights statementCopyright 2014 International Council of Nurses