'Investing in the future': residential aged care staff experiences of working with nursing students in a ‘community of practice’

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Grealish, Laurie
Bail, Kasia
Ranse, Kristen
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2010
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Aims and objectives. This paper aims to discuss the implementation of a 'community of practice' model of clinical teaching into four residential aged care facilities. Background. There is increasing international evidence that aged care is a burgeoning health issue, particularly in developed countries. Recruitment and retention of nurses is problematic in residential aged care. Nursing students maintain negative perceptions of aged care and dislike clinical placements in that area. Additionally, supporting students in residential aged care is difficult considering the staffing mix of skilled/unskilled staff. Innovative educational strategies are needed to manage the increasing shortages of clinical placements for nursing students in all clinical areas. Study design. Staff experiences were elicited through four focus groups onsite at the residential aged care facility where students had been placed, one year after implementation of a 'communities of practice' clinical model. Data analysis used a qualitative, thematic approach. Results. The staff in the residential aged care facilities expressed that work was involved in supporting students in the workplace, but that the additional workload was a valuable investment. Conclusions. Staff in residential aged care see working with students as a local investment, where students' fresh eyes, recent knowledge and questioning behaviours are a worthy investment of staff time and effort. Staff also valued the investment in the future, where working with students now creates future nurses sensitive to aged care issues. Relevance to clinical practice. In a 'communities of practice' model of clinical experience for students, there are benefits for staff as well as students. The implementation of this clinical model in residential aged care was relatively low in cost, a benefit in this sector and has the potential to address the critical issues of recruitment and retention.

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Journal of Clinical Nursing

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19

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15-16

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Nursing

Nursing not elsewhere classified

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