Assessment of Nursing Students’ Attitudes towards Caring of Dementia Patients
Taking care of elderly patients with dementia is challenging as patients have many complex health and nursing problems. The aim of the study was to assess the attitudes of nursing students towards caring of dementia patients.
Methods. A descriptive comparative cross-sectional study was conducted in October through November, 2021. In total, 115 nursing students participated in a survey where 63 students were from the first year and 52 from the fourth year of a nursing program. The response rate was 83.3%. The questionnaire was developed by the authors. The approval of the Bioethics Center of the Lithuanian University of Health Sciences was obtained (No. BEC–SL(N)–17).
Results. The first year students were more likely to take care of dementia patients than the fourth year students (28.6% and 11.6%, respectively). The fourth year nursing students more often than the first year students noted that they were not planning to work in the elderly units (28.8% and 9.5%, respectively, P = 0.007) and felt not having enough patience to provide such care (42.3% and 7.9%, respectively, P = 0.001). Last year nursing students reported being better prepared to work with dementia patients than the first year students (mean ranks 64.85 and 52.35, respectively, P = 0.016) and more often highlighted the high need of hygiene assurance for dementia patience (mean ranks 65.92 and 51.46, respectively, P = 0.007).
Conclusions. The fourth year nursing students are less likely to take care of dementia patients than the first year nursing students. Students see the care of dementia patients challenging because of older age and altered mental status of the patient that creates psychological difficulties and requires much more patience in care. Effective learning strategies alongside with the good mentorship relationship and positive clinical training experience of students may help to encourage and motivate nursing graduates to care for dementia patients during their professional career.
Correspondence to . Department of Nursing, Lithuanian University of Health Sciences, Eivenių 4, LT-50009 Kaunas, Lithuania. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org