How Experiences in a Nursing Home Affect Nursing Students Perceptions of the Elderly
The projected increase in elderly Americans in the next few decades raises concern about the availability of health care professionals, especially nurses, to work with the elderly. Using cognitive dissonance theory, we examined attitudes of 169 senior-level baccalaureate nursing students enrolled in a practicum in psychiatric mental health. The students completed pre- and post-tests that included 24 descriptors of the elderly and questions concerning their feelings about the practicum and prior experiences with the elderly. Paired t-test analysis revealed both positive and negative changes in their perceptions of the elderly. True thirds of the students reported enjoying the practicum very much. After the practicum, nearly 30% reported that they ''would really like'' working professionally with the elderly. Recommendations include balancing practicums between nursing homes and sites that include productive and well elderly. Faculty need to provide ample opportunities for dialogue with students to reduce stress resulting from conflicts between personal and practical realities.
Rowland, V. T.,
(1995). How Experiences in a Nursing Home Affect Nursing Students Perceptions of the Elderly. Educational Gerontology, 21(8), 735-748.
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