XIAO LD, KELTON M and PATERSON J. Nursing Inquiry 2012; 19: 322–333
Critical action research applied in clinical placement development in aged care facilities
The aim of this study was to develop quality clinical placements in residential aged care facilities for undergraduate nursing students undertaking their nursing practicum topics. The proportion of people aged over 65 years is expected to increase steadily from 13% in 2006 to 26% of the total population in Australia in 2051. However, when demand is increasing for a nursing workforce competent in the care of older people, studies have shown that nursing students generally lack interest in working with older people. The lack of exposure of nursing students to quality clinical placements is one of the key factors contributing to this situation. Critical action research built on a partnership between an Australian university and five aged care organisations was utilised. A theoretical framework informed by Habermas’ communicative action theory was utilised to guide the action research. Multiple research activities were used to support collaborative critical reflection and inform actions throughout the action research. Clinical placements in eight residential aged care facilities were developed to support 179 nursing students across three year-levels to complete their practicum topics. Findings were presented in three categories described as structures developed to govern clinical placement, learning and teaching in residential aged care facilities.