Nursing students’ experiences of, and socialisation in, dementia care in the acute hospital setting
Intended for healthcare professionals
Evidence and practice    

Nursing students’ experiences of, and socialisation in, dementia care in the acute hospital setting

Camille Cronin Senior lecturer, School of Health and Social Care, Southend Campus, University of Essex, Southend, England
Omorogieva Ojo Associate professor, School of Health Sciences, University of Greenwich, London, England

Why you should read this article:
  • To identify the importance of optimal knowledge and understanding of dementia among hospital staff

  • To learn about nursing students’ experiences of dementia care on acute hospital wards

  • To increase your awareness of the need for early socialisation of nursing students in dementia care

Background An ageing population with a range of co-morbidities means the number of hospital admissions of older people with dementia is increasing. People with dementia can find acute hospital settings unsettling and they need to be cared for by a workforce skilled and knowledgeable in dementia care.

Aim To explore nursing students’ experiences of, and socialisation in, dementia care in the acute hospital setting in England through a secondary qualitative analysis of data from a phenomenological study of nursing students’ cultural beliefs around, and understanding of, dementia.

Method Data from ten focus groups with 81 undergraduate nursing students at two universities in the south of England were subjected to content analysis. This was a secondary qualitative analysis of data retrieved from an earlier study.

Findings Two categories emerged: ‘exposure to dementia care’ and ‘socialisation in dementia care’. Participants often felt unprepared to care for patients with dementia and their experiences were negatively affected by staff’s views of patients with dementia, who were often considered challenging to manage. Participants also encountered specialist dementia nurses who enabled them to learn more about person-centred dementia care.

Conclusion Optimal dementia care knowledge and skills can contribute to enhanced patient outcomes and positive attitudes towards older people’s care. To reduce deficits in dementia care education, nurses need regular continuing professional development in dementia care, higher education institutions need to commit to developing dementia care in their curricula, and students need to be socialised in dementia care earlier during undergraduate nurse education.

Nursing Older People. doi: 10.7748/nop.2021.e1312

Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and checked for plagiarism using automated software

@CamilleCronin

Correspondence

camille.cronin@essex.ac.uk

Conflict of interest

None declared

Cronin C, Ojo O (2021) Nursing students’ experiences of, and socialisation in, dementia care in the acute hospital setting. Nursing Older People. doi: 10.7748/nop.2021.e1312

Acknowledgements The authors would like to thank the students and site coordinators involved in the primary study

Published online: 05 May 2021

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