Pam Foster & Adam Proverbs

305 – Initiatives to improve students’ perceptions of working with older adults

This presentation seeks to share with other nurse educators on undergraduate degree programmes the initiatives, based on contemporary research, that we have introduced into our programme to improve student perception in working with older adults. Two initiatives will be presented that have been implemented in our school of nursing.

Research consistently demonstrates that on graduation, few nurses consider a career in aged residential care (ARC). The general narrative, contributing to this outcome, indicates a lack of knowledge of older adults and perception of ARC as boring and, requiring low level skills. A desire to work in a District Health Board dominates. Acknowledging a lack of interest in ARC as a career, we introduced initiatives to improve student perception of older adults and working in an aged care environment. This is not a research study, however, it draws on the literature review for a larger study that is analysing how gerontology knowledge is positioned within the undergraduate curricula.

Two initiatives will be presented and justified in the context of contemporary research and will include students meeting with well community dwelling older adults and an ARC placement in year three.


As nurse educators, it is important that we have the debate as to how we are preparing students for an ageing demographic. This presentation will offer some suggestions towards this goal.

Key words: residential care; older adult; student knowledge and perceptions.