In 2012, we expanded our efforts to create a more elder-friendly workforce by replicating Genesee Community College’s successful Clinical Rotation program with other nursing and social work schools in western and central New York.
As part of the Investing in an Elder-Competent Workforce: Strengthening Nursing and Social Work Education program, participating colleges and universities implemented the Respecting Choices® program as a requirement for all students and received funding to develop a geriatric clinical rotation.
The Clinical Rotation program featured content about working with the patient as an individual, 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.
Once the curriculum changes were approved by the respective colleges and/or New York State Department of Education, the schools received additional funding to support implementation.
This program was a part of the larger Geriatric Workforce Initiative. Through a series of programs, this initiative aims 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.
After nursing and social work students completed the program, we found through surveys and interviews that they had more positive perceptions toward work with older adults and felt more prepared to facilitate conversations about health care choices. They also reported that they had a better understanding of issues affecting older adults and they were more likely to seek positions working with older adults after graduation.