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Students' ideals for nursing older people in practice

Alabaster, Erica Sue 2006. Students' ideals for nursing older people in practice. International Journal of Older People Nursing 1 (2) , pp. 66-74. 10.1111/j.1748-3743.2006.00015.x

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Aim. Drawing on research exploring nursing students’ experiences of working with older people, this paper aims to demonstrate how context and culture can impact on the realization of their ideals. Background. The principles underpinning individualized and person-centred approaches to care resonate with those focal to gerontologic nursing. Restrictive contexts of care and pervasive workplace cultures render nurses unable to deliver care in accord with these. Design and method. This interpretive study was informed by phenomenological–hermeneutic theory. A purposive sample (n = 10) was recruited from a single educational institution. Data were generated in two phases using loosely structured interviews and supplementary activity. Themes explicating their experiences were identified via systematized detailed analysis and issues pertaining to nursing students’ orientation towards older people cut across these. Findings and discussion. Students perceived that older people were prone to depersonalization and marginalization, so sought to show respect by coming to know individuals, form human connections with them and personalize care accordingly. Giving respect, promoting personhood, asserting reciprocal identity and maintaining dignity were prominent features of this but were often frustrated by practices and cultures encountered in mainstream settings. Conclusions. Nursing students’ approaches to older people are contextual and reflect elements of person-centred ideology. Their attempts upholding their ideals are liable to be subverted by workplace norms. Preparatory education should address these, assist students to learn how to attend to personhood in restrictive environments and offer targeted placements in age-specific and non-acute services. Relevance to clinical practice. Demographic trends mean that working with older people has increased significance for nurses in most settings. Person-centredness is seen as beneficial for older people but contemporary service imperatives and enduring practices are inhibitory, preventing entrants to nursing from developing related skills.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Healthcare Sciences
Subjects: R Medicine > RT Nursing
Uncontrolled Keywords: nursing students;older people;phenomenological–hermeneutic;personhood;respect;dignity
Publisher: Wiley
ISSN: 1748-3735
Related URLs:
Last Modified: 09 Jan 2018 16:02

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