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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Survey of gerontological curricula in Canadian generic baccalaureate nursing programs Earthy, Anne Elizabeth


The current status of gerontological nursing curricula in Canadian generic baccalaureate nursing programs has not been studied. As the Canadian society changes the health care system is struggling to provide adequate health care to the growing population over the age of 65. Nurses must be prepared to assist the elderly in the community and in institutions to cope with increasing disabilities. Therefore, the study of gerontological nursing should be a requirement in a nurses' basic education to prepare them to work with older clients in all settings. This study used a survey methodology to determine the present status of gerontological content in baccalaureate nursing education curricula. Questionnaires were sent to each of the 22 deans/directors of the Canadian generic baccalaureate nursing programs and to 31 provincial reputational "experts" in the field of gerontology. A return rate of 90% and 93% was obtained respectively. The study asked five questions: 1) What nursing model or concepts are used by the generic baccalaureate schools of nursing? 2) What gerontological content is included in these programs? 3) What gerontological content is integrated in courses or taught in required or elective specific gerontology courses? 4) What gerontological clinical experiences are required? and 5) Are faculty academically prepared to teach gerontological content? Answers to these questions were compared with similar questions asked of reputational "experts". A quarter of the schools did not use nursing concepts or models while many schools chose a nursing model which was not consistent with their philosophy of health. Ninety percent of the schools taught gerontology content in integrated courses; half of the schools also offered a specific gerontology course of which 40% were elective courses. Even though all 49 listed gerontology topics and 28 patient problems and care techniques were taught by the majority of the schools there is little evidence the schools are producing gerontology prepared nurses. The gerontology clinical hours accounted for only 7.4% of the total clinical experiences. The "experts" recommended gerontology receive 21% of the clinical hours and that it be dispersed in a variety of community and clinical settings. Few (5%) faculty members were prepared with a post graduate degree in gerontology to act as positive role models for the students. Few (2%) students chose a gerontology practicum in their last year. The findings and recommendations are meant to assist educators with the task of expanding the gerontological curricula in generic baccalaureate nursing programs. The nine recommendations address ways to assist schools to reevaluate their curriculum and improve nursing care to the elderly in Canadian society.

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