To create a more elder-friendly health care workforce, we supported a geriatric clinical rotation for nursing students at Genesee Community College that gave students hands-on exposure to geriatric care.
The Geriatric Clinical Rotation program included content about 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 was also paired with an older adult that was healthy and living in the community to discuss topics such as falls prevention, mental health issues, use of adaptive equipment and nutrition.
To sustain the rotation, components of the program were written into the Genesee Community College Nursing Program’s four-semester Life Cycle course.
This program was a part of our larger Geriatric Workforce Initiative. Through a series of programs, this initiative aimed to increase recruitment, retention and competence among physicians, nurse practitioners, physician’s assistants, home health aides and other health care related professionals who serve vulnerable older adults and their families.
Since the program began in 2009, more than 300 nursing students participated in this rotation.
According to surveys that students and older adults completed before and after participating in the program:
- 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 continued this program and encouraged other communities to explore the value of this collaboration with other nursing programs.
In 2012, we replicated GCC’s 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.