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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Developing gerontological nursing in British Columbia : an oral history study Roberts, Erica


The population of older adults has grown rapidly in recent years and is expected to continue to grow into the middle of this century. The aging of the population means that nurses need to have specialized gerontological knowledge in order to properly care for older adults. In spite of the current need for specialists in this field, gerontological nursing is not a popular choice and nurses often lack adequate preparation to care for older adults. The complex reasons behind these issues are rooted in the history of the development of this specialty. This study takes a historical look at the development of gerontological nursing in British Columbia through the stories of seven nurse educators who were leaders and innovators in their field. The findings of the study tell a story of the nurses’ work to change unacceptable nursing practice, improve standards of care and professional status of gerontological nursing and advocate for older adults. In doing so, these nurses challenged cultural values about aging and care of older adults and worked toward giving gerontological nurses a voice in policy and decision-making. The findings from this study can be used to guide today’s gerontological nurses as they continue to develop this specialized field of nursing knowledge.

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