The Importance of Influencing Nursing Students' Attitudes Toward Older Adults


Address correspondence to: Molly A. Rose, 893 North Taney Street, Philadelphia, PA 19130.


The purpose of this quasi-experimental study was to determine if a course in gerontology would improve baccalaureate senior nursing students' attitudes toward older adults and increase their interest in working with older persons as clients. The course concentrated on aging as a positive experience. Clinical experience involved health assessment and health promotion with well older people in their homes and in senior citizen centers. Attitudes of students who were enrolled in the course were compared to those of fellow classmates who were not. As predicted, those who participated in the gerontologic course scored significantly higher on a “facts on aging” quiz and showed a more positive net bias toward older adults than the control group. Their interest in working with older people also increased. More emphasis must be placed on decreasing stereotype attitudes of nurses. Those who view the older adult in a more positive image will be increasingly likely to become involved in program planning and research in the area of health promotion and disease prevention for the older population.