(HealthDay News) — Nursing students provide valuable insights into aged care, with equal numbers for and against pursuing a career in aged care, according to a study published in the February issue of the Journal of Clinical Nursing.

Elisabeth Carlson, Ph.D., M.N.Ed., R.N., from Malmö University in Sweden, explored nursing students’ reasons for and against a future career in aged care. Data were analyzed from 224 students’ answers to an open-ended question added into the Clinical Learning Environment, Supervision, and Nurse Teacher Scale questionnaire.

Carlson found that the answers were almost evenly distributed between reasons for (56 percent) and against (44 percent) a career in aged care. Students described how they valued the independent and autonomous work, and the advantage of long-term relationships. Caring for patients during longer periods was described as meaningful and enjoyable, and students found sharing the patients’ life stories made the work exciting and worthwhile. The work environment was described as harmonious and less stressful. In contrast, others described aged care as slow paced and lacking in action; students reported feeling of hopelessness in caring for frail and vulnerable patients. Some noted that the work environment was boring, stressful, and depressing, with unqualified and unengaged staff, providing limited interaction with patients.

“What emerged as reasons for and against a career in aged care provide nurse educators with an increased understanding of student nurses’ attitudes that can be used to plan gerontological nursing curriculum,” Carlson writes.

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