A cross-national cross-sectional survey of the attitudes and perceived competence of final-year medicine, nursing and pharmacy students in relation to end-of-life care in dementia

Bannin De Witt Jansen, Michelle Weckmann, Christopher M Nguyen, Carole Parsons, Carmel M Hughes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background:

Little is known about the attitudes of healthcare professional students’ perceived competence and confidence in treating those with dementia who are at the end of life.

Aim:

To explore the attitudes of final year medical, nursing and pharmacy students towards people with dementia and to evaluate their perceived competence and confidence dealing with biomedical and psychosocial issues within the context of palliative care provision to patients with dementia.

Design:

Cross-sectional survey using a questionnaire.

Setting/participants:

Final-year students in each profession from Queen’s University Belfast (Northern Ireland) and the University of Iowa (USA) were recruited.

Method:

Three versions of an online questionnaire (containing the Attitudes to Dementia Questionnaire and a series of questions on end-of-life care in dementia) were distributed.

Results:

A total of 368 responses were received (response rate 42.3%). All respondents reported positive attitudes towards people with dementia. US nursing students reported significantly more positive attitudes than the medical students of United States and Northern Ireland. Medical students were more likely to report low confidence in discussing non-medical aspects of dying, whereas nursing students were most likely to feel prepared and confident to do this. Medical and nursing students reported low confidence with aspects of medication-related care; however, data from the pharmacy samples of Northern Ireland and United States suggested that these students felt confident in advising other healthcare professionals on medication-related issues.

Conclusions:

While healthcare students hold positive attitudes towards people with dementia, some clinical tasks remain challenging and further basic training may be of benefit.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)847-854
JournalPalliative Medicine
Volume27
Issue number9
Early online date23 Apr 2013
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 01 Oct 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine

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