Attitudes towards caring for older people in Scotland, Sweden and the United States
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Attitudes towards caring for older people in Scotland, Sweden and the United States

Angela Kydd Senior lecturer in research, Institute of Older Persons’ Health and Wellbeing, School of Health, Nursing and Midwifery, University of the West of Scotland, Hamilton
Theris Touhy Emeritus professor, Florida Atlantic University, United States
David Newman Statistician, Florida Atlantic University, United States
Ingegerd Fagerberg Professor, Ersta Sköndal University College, Sweden
Gabriella Engstrom Associate professor, Florida Atlantic University, United States

Angela Kydd and colleagues compare data from three countries to assess what staff think about working in the specialty

Aim To explore the attitudes of nurses and nursing students in Scotland, Sweden and the US towards working with older people.

Method This quantitative study used the 20-item Multifactorial Attitudes Questionnaire (MAQ) to elicit attitudes on ageism, resources, working environment, education and professional esteem. Researchers from each country distributed the questionnaires to nursing students and nurses, giving a convenience sample of 1,587 respondents. Data were entered on the Statistical Package for Social Sciences version 18 and merged into one large dataset.

Results Scottish participants had the highest (positive) and Swedish participants the lowest mean MAQ score. The Kruskal-Wallis test showed significant differences in mean scores across the countries in 18 of the 20 statements, even when controlling for age and experience.

Most participants gave positive responses, but agreed that negative attitudes towards working with older people pervade among peers due to working conditions, poor career prospects and a perceived lack of professional esteem.

Conclusion Inspirational educators, excellent clinical placements and increasing the professional esteem of those working with older people are required to promote the specialty as an attractive career option.

Nursing Older People. 26, 2, 33-40. doi: 10.7748/nop2014.


Peer review

This article has been subject to double blind peer review

Conflict of interest

None declared

Received: 15 November 2013

Accepted: 08 January 2014

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