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Nursing students’ preferences for clinical placements in the residential aged care setting
Aims and objectives: To examine nursing student placement preferences submitted as online comments to a university’s placement management system, to inform strategies for positive residential aged care experiences.
Background: There are predicted shortages of nurses to service an ageing population.Clinical placements undertaken by undergraduate nursing students help shape their attitudes and are a key determinant of career decision-making, yet there is little research about why students prefer particular placement areas.
Design: Analysis of qualitative data from a placement management system.
Methods: Of 6,610 comments received between 2007–2014, 607 related to aged care and were coded according to preferences for being placed in a residential aged care facility, with reasons for this preference thematically coded and quantified.
Results: Four hundred and one comments (66.1%) related to students requesting not to be allocated residential aged care for the upcoming placement, primarily due to previous experience in the sector; 104 (17.1%) referred to aged care in a neutral manner, focusing on conflict of interest; 102 (16.8%) related to a request for an aged care placement.
Conclusions: The student nurse comments characterise students as being focused on maximising their learning, while considering prior experience. In some cases, increased exposure to aged care is considered to offer limited learning opportunities, which is concerning and suggests that both the tertiary and aged care sectors have a joint responsibility to pursue recognition of aged care nursing as a specialised, highly skilled role.
Relevance to clinical practice: Nursing programme providers should ensure curriculum content and exposure to aged care placement clearly identify the complexities of care and provide genuine opportunities for knowledge acquisition and skill development based on multifaceted resident care needs. This will support both those interested in a future aged care career and those undecided.
Publication titleJournal of Clinical Nursing
Department/SchoolWicking Dementia Research Education Centre
PublisherBlackwell Publishing Ltd
Place of publicationUnited Kingdom
Rights statement© 2017 John Wiley & Sons Ltd