Student Intention to Work with the Elderly Following a Skilled Nursing Clinical Education Experience

Purpose/Hypothesis : The elderly are among the fastest growing age group and will lead to an increased demand for rehabilitation services. Researchers have been looking at factors that influence and change studentsÕ beliefs and attitudes toward the elderly and have suggested improved attitudes after a clinical experience. This has been found in various health care professions; however, to our knowledge rehabilitation services as a whole has not been studied. The purpose of this study was to assess change in studentÕs perspectives and intention to work in a skilled nursing facility after a full time clinical education experience.Number of Subjects : To date, the survey was distributed to 164 students. Of the surveys returned (N=63), 16 had pre-test/post-test matches.Materials/Methods : Rehabilitation professional students, (PT/PTA/OT/OTA/SLP) who participated in a clinical education experience in one of RehabCare facilities located within the United States were invited to participate in the study. RehabCare is a nationally based rehabilitation company that employees therapists in skilled nursing settings. A pre-test/post-test survey was created and validated using face and content validity during a pilot test in the fall 2012. There were two rounds of data collection planned The first round was from January-March 2013. The second round of data collection is scheduled from May-July 2013. Survey distribution method was either online via a Surveymoneky link or a paper copy distributed by mail. Descriptive statistics and an independent sample Mann-Whitney U was used to compare pre-test/post-test changes. The study was approved by Walsh University's HSR committee.Results : To date, a usable sample of 16 matched pre-post tests were available for analysis. Twenty five percent were PT students and 25% OT students, 50% were assistant level students; no SLP students completed the study thus far. Fifty six percent of students were completing an eight week rotation and 75% were completing a second clinical experience At least 87% of participants reported favorable perceptions of the elderly in all eight pre-test attitude questions. Intention to work in a SNF at the beginning of the rotation was was 43.8%. After a clinical rotation, intention to work increased to 74.6% and a positive attitude towards the elderly was noted, however no statistical significance was found.Conclusions : A positive trend is emerging for rehabilitation students who complete a full time clinical education experience in a SNF towards their intention to work in the setting upon graduation. Student beliefs about and attitude towards the elderly also appears to be positive. Limitations to the study included using an online survey distribution method.Clinical Relevance : These results could be useful for academic programs as well as companies that seek rehabilitation professionals for employment. Quality clinical education experiences in the SNF setting for students in the rehabilitation field could be useful in recruiting future employees and enhance positive perceptions of the elderly in general.

BACK to Abstract Results

  • Control #: 1716863
  • Type: Poster
  • Event/Year: CSM2014
  • Authors: Sarah Zuch, Kayla Stewart, Amy Derck, Jennifer Vincent, Christine McCallum
  • Keywords: Clinical Education |Skilled Nursing|Perceptions

BACK to Abstract Results