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202 – Undergraduate Assistant in Nursing (AIN) employment in aged care and preparedness for clinical practice

Introduction
New graduate nurses are often criticized for being inadequately prepared for clinical practice. This criticism is frequently targeted at the limited clinical exposure afforded to nursing students during their undergraduate nursing programme. A significant number of students are employed as undergraduate Assistants in Nursing (AIN) or Personal Care Assistants (PCA) whilst studying to obtain additional clinical experience.

Background
Undergraduate AINs who have worked in aged care have expressed limitations in their learning experience in comparison to undergraduate AINs employed in hospital settings. This presentation will present the preliminary findings of the Preparedness for Clinical Practice survey.

Results
50-scaled items related to entry-level nursing skills were analysed using principal components analysis to extract underlying constructs that reflect the educational value of undergraduate AIN employment in aged care. Four components were extracted: education, emotional literacy, clinical skills, and collaborative care. The preliminary results of the survey indicate that undergraduate AINs develop higher-order clinical thinking skills and a deeper understanding of the concepts of caring.

Conclusion
There is a common perception that aged care nursing contributes little to nursing education and professional development beyond mastering fundamental nursing skills.  The nursing education sector should emphasise the value of aged care clinical experiences in nursing education and professional development, and challenge ageist attitudes among novice nurses.

Key words: Aged care; new graduate nurses; preparedness; undergraduate assistants in nursing.