Visual perceptions of ageing: A multi method and longitudinal study exploring attitudes of undergraduate nurses towards older people
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AbstractAgeism and negative attitudes are reported to be institutionally embedded in healthcare. The unprecedented increase in the older population together with social perceptions of later life presents all those involved in the delivery of healthcare with considerable challenges. It was therefore timely to examine attitudes and perceptions of healthcare professionals towards older people. This study presents a critical visual exploration of the perceptions of ageing of undergraduate nursing students at a University in the North of England, based on the findings of a three year longitudinal study. The research employed a pragmatic standpoint where mixed methodology was adopted to explore perceptions and included the use of an attitude towards older people scale (KOP) (Kogan, 1961), visual methods (participants were asked to draw a person aged 75), a Thurstone scale and photo elicitation. The research design and construct was influenced by the epistemology of constructionism and discourse analysis. The research was conducted alongside an undergraduate nursing programme, and followed the natural journey of 310 students from one intake and involved three waves of data collection. The study established that the majority of participants had moderately positive attitudes towards older people the beginning of the programme and that these had improved for a significant number by the end of the study programme. From the quantitative data it was determined that age, gender, educational qualifications, practice learning, branch of nursing and contact with older people influenced the participants’ overall attitude score. The use of visual methods provided a narrative of the participants’ perceptions of later life and appearance dominated the imagery via the physical depiction of ageing and the ascetics of clothing and grooming. The influence of role models was seen to impact upon the production of the image via the depiction of grandparents and people they knew and the drawings identified some older people being active. The visual findings established that the undergraduate nurses in the study viewed older people from a socially constructed phenomenon and used symbols (hairstyle, clothing, mobility aids) to depict old age. The nursing programme was found to positively alter perceptions. The research findings have led to recommendations based on three prominent themes; 1) implications for nurse education and practice, 2) gerontology education and research and 3) future use of the research methods.
CitationRidgway, V. J. (2015). Visual perceptions of ageing: A multi method and longitudinal study exploring attitudes of undergraduate nurses towards older people (Doctoral dissertation). University of Chester, United Kingdom.
PublisherUniversity of Chester
TypeThesis or dissertation
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