Required clinical course in gerontology: The key to providing competent nurse caregivers for the elderly

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Beth E. Barba, Professor (Creator)
Nancy F. Courts, Visiting Associate Professor (Contributor)
Laurie M. Kennedy-Malone (Contributor)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
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Abstract: In 1986 the faculty of the School of Nursing at UNCG began a major curriculum revision. Part of the new curriculum was an innovative and, for some of the faculty, a frightening course— a required clinical course in gerontological nursing. The decision to require such a course was, and is, rare; gerontology content in any form ranges from little or none to "adequate" in undergraduate nursing curricula! Yurchuck and Brower/8 for example, found that in 75% of the programs they surveyed, students were only sometimes assigned to older clients in their clinical courses; only 20% of the programs required gerontological textbooks. During the period when the under-graduate gerontological nursing course was being developed, a new concentration in gerontological nursing was developed for the master's program, and a proposal submitted to the Division of Nursing, Department of Health and Human Services, was funded. During that time, since faculty prepared in gerontology are a rare breed, adult health faculty were assigned to teach the course, for two reasons: a good deal of the content was familiar to them, and there simply were more of them, Faculty began to search the literature to identify content, teaching strategies, and experiential activities to in-crease undergraduate students' knowledge of the aging process, the health care needs of the aged, and the specifics of gerontological nursing practice. Preparation to teach the course became a learning experience for faculty as they delved into the field and brain-stormed course schedules, student experiences, and teaching strategies. Their efforts increased their own knowledge; perhaps more important, faculty gained a heightened sensitivity to the elderly. Through guest lectures and assistance in planning clinical experiences, gerontological nursing faculty from the master's concentration helped ensure that the course would be a gerontological nursing course, not an adult health course with some gerontological content. As faculty have interacted with students, elderly people and their families, and other health professionals involved in care of the aged, their knowledge levels and awareness have continued to grow.

Additional Information

Nursing Outlook, 42, 170-174
Language: English
Date: 1994
Gerontological nursing, School of Nursing, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Master's gerontological nursing concentration, Undergraduate required course

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