University of Tasmania

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Student contributions in residential aged care

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-21, 02:09 authored by Anthea DallasAnthea Dallas, Lau, JTY, Jake Sheng Loong Ong, Green, D, Jennifer PresserJennifer Presser

Background: Health care professional students can develop knowledge and skills to care for elderly patients during placements in residential aged care facilities (RACF). Enabling student contribution during clinical placements can enhance student learning and quality of care. Our medical student RACF placement includes a learning task where students recommend improvements to resident care. This study aimed to identify these recommendations and measure how many were adopted.

Methods: Students completed a medical assessment of a resident during their RACF placement, summarising their recommendations in a letter to the resident's general practitioner (GP). Recommendations were categorised for quantification and audit. Three months after the time of recommendation residents' files were audited. Definitions and descriptive statistics of the types of recommendations, and whether they had been implemented, are reported.

Results: Forty residents and 43 students participated in the study. In total, 391 recommendations were made. Medication recommendations were most common (47%), followed by allied health referrals (12%), lifestyle changes (10%) and GP review (10%). Smaller numbers of recommendations for nursing care, investigations, specialist review and patient education were made. Seventy-seven recommendations were adopted.

Discussion: Student learning is enhanced when contributing to resident care, and educators can structure clinical placements to support this. Using an existing student learning task to feed into genuine quality improvements for care is one example of how this might be implemented. This study gives insight into types of recommendations students make, suggesting further research to explore barriers and enablers to maximise the benefits of student contributions.


Publication title

Clinical Teacher








Tasmanian School of Medicine


Blackwell Pub.

Place of publication

United Kingdom

Rights statement

Copyright 2020 John Wiley & Sons Ltd and The Association for the Study of Medical Education

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Expanding knowledge in the biomedical and clinical sciences

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