Learning Opportunities in a Residential Aged Care Facility: The Role of Supported Placements for First-Year Nursing Students
The residential aged care sector is reportedly a less attractive career choice for nursing students than other sectors. Research shows that students are often fearful of working with residents with dementia when they are inadequately supported on clinical placements by aged care staff. Thirty first-year nursing students attended a 2-week placement in one of two Tasmanian aged care facilities as part of the Wicking Dementia Research and Education Centre Teaching Aged Care Facilities Program, which aims to provide students with a quality aged care placement focusing on dementia palliation. Placement experience and dementia knowledge were evaluated through preplacement and postplacement questionnaires and weekly feedback meetings with mentors and students. Students had more positive attitudes related to aged care and higher dementia knowledge at the end of placement. Students described their interactions with residents with dementia and thought that the placement had increased their capacity to provide quality care to these residents. The findings indicate that residential aged care placements can be productive learning environments for novice nursing students. [J Nurs Educ. 2014;53(7):410–414.]
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