• Confidence and expectations about caring for older people with dementia: a cross-sectional survey of student nurses

      Baillie, Lesley; Merritt, Jane; Cox, Janet; Crichton, Nicola; ; University of Bedfordshire; South Bank University (Routledge, 2015-06-11)
      Older people who are living with dementia often need healthcare, including hospital admissions, due to additional health conditions. Caring for older people who are living with dementia is, therefore, a core nursing role. This study investigated student nurses’ expectations of, and confidence about, caring for older people with dementia and the effect of students’ age, precourse experience, and their academic year. The design was a cross-sectional survey using questionnaires to collect data. The participants (n = 328), based at one university in England, had all had at least one practice learning placement. Most student nurses (n = 202; 62%) had precourse contact with older people with dementia and had cared for them during the course (n = 291; 89%). The student's academic year significantly affected confidence about caring for older people with dementia (p = .006), but still only 52% (n = 26) of third-year students felt “generally confident.” Precourse contact with older people with dementia had a significant impact on expectations (p = .001) and confidence in caring for people with dementia (p = .002). Students who were >25 years were significantly more likely to have had precourse contact with older people with dementia (p = < .001). Nurse educators should ensure that students entering nurse education appreciate that caring for older people who are living with dementia will be a core part of their role. They must proactively prepare nursing students to care for people with dementia, recognizing that some students have no previous contact, which may affect their confidence and experiences.