Creating a more elder-friendly health care workforce by giving nursing students hands-on exposure to geriatric care
For frail elderly and their families, health care providers often seem out-of-touch with their unique needs. To support a collaborative effort between the aging services providers and the nursing program at Genesee Community College, the Foundation supported a geriatric clinical rotation for nursing students at Genesee Community College beginning in the fall semester of 2008.
This project, part of the larger Geriatric Workforce Initiative, grew from a previous collaboration between the Genesee County Office for Aging and GCC, in which students were taught about advance care planning as part of the Sharing Your Wishes™ initiative.
The Geriatric Clinical Rotation Program is designed to:
Establish a partnership between the school and a community-based agency serving older adults
Provide opportunities for students to interact with older adults in community-based settings
Provide students with exposure to community-based aging services
Provide students with an understanding about the impact of dementia
The clinical rotation program added content about community resources and working with the patient as an individual, including Respecting Choices® facilitator certification, participation in dementia sensitivity training and observing clinical care at a long-term care facility. Each student is also paired with an older adult that is healthy and living in the community to discuss topics such as falls prevention, mental health issues, use of adaptive equipment and nutrition.
Using relationships established through the Genesee County Long Term Care Task Force, students also visit local eldercare agencies and meet with older adults in the community.
To sustain the rotation, the components, with New York State Education Department approval, have been built into the GCC Nursing Program's four-semester Life Cycle course. The college’s nursing instructors were trained as Advance Care Planning Facilitator Educators so they could integrate advance care planning into the curriculum so that they could certify students as Advance Care Planning Facilitators as part of the course.
Since the program began in 2009, more than 225 nursing students have participated in this rotation.
Students and aging adults completed surveys before and after participating in the program. Their responses highlight several favorable results, including:
· 28 percent of students who initially agreed “It is worse for a child to die than an older adult” changed their perception to “disagree” after completing the program.
· 28 percent of students who initially disagreed that “Old people are easy to care for” changed their perception to “agree.”
· The majority of aging adults who participated viewed their interaction with the nursing student favorably.
Given these results, The Long Term Task Force and Genesee Community College will continue this program and encourage other communities to explore the value of this collaboration with other nursing programs. Geriatric Workforce Initiative: Preparing health professionals to meet the unique needs of Western and Central New York’s growing geriatric population
In 2012, the Health Foundation expanded its efforts to create a more elder-friendly workforce by replicating GCC's successful Clinical Rotation program with other nursing and social work schools in western and central New York with the Investing in an Elder-Competent Workforce: Strengthening Nursing and Social Work Education initiative.
Training Guide: GCC Geriatric Clinical Rotation