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Caring for older people with dementia in residential care: nursing students' experiences


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Robinson, AL and Cubit, KA 2007 , 'Caring for older people with dementia in residential care: nursing students' experiences' , Journal of Advanced Nursing, vol. 59, no. 3 , pp. 255-263 , doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2648.2007.4304.x.

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Aim. This paper is a report of selected findings from two projects aimed at improving
nursing students’ experiences of caring for older people in elder care settings.
Background. With a growing number of older people the prevalence of dementia is
rapidly increasing, such that it is now a primary reason for admission to residential
care. This has implications for the preparation and support of nursing students on
clinical placements as people with dementia represent a key focus of their nursing
Method. Two projects were conducted in Tasmania between 2001 and 2005, involving
87 second year Bachelor of Nursing students who participated in 3-week clinical
placements in eight residential elder care facilities. During the placements, students
and their mentors participated in a series of weekly focus group discussions to explore
their experiences of caring for residents with dementia. Thematic analysis of the data
was conducted.
Findings. Staff in the facilities struggled to support students effectively and often failed
to recognize that students found residents’ behaviour disturbing. Despite having some
theoretical understanding of dementia, students reported being unsure of how to
respond to residents and often felt scared and intimidated.
Conclusion. Better preparation and support are needed for students on placements
involving residents with dementia. Feasible strategies for more effective support include
increased curriculum content about caring for people with dementia, and improved
collaboration between university schools of nursing and settings for care of
older people.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Robinson, AL and Cubit, KA
Keywords: care of older people, dementia, empirical research report, gerontology, nurse education, student support
Journal or Publication Title: Journal of Advanced Nursing
Publisher: Blackwell Publishing
ISSN: 1365-2648
DOI / ID Number: 10.1111/j.1365-2648.2007.4304.x
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