Towards new ways of working in dementia: perceptions of specialist dementia care nurses about their own level of knowledge, competence and unmet educational needs



S. Page

Albett Unit

Glan Clywd Hospital


Denbighshire LL18 5UJ




Accessible summary

  • The move towards new ways of working in Mental Health services has challenged multidisciplinary teams to consider how new roles and responsibilities can be supported.
  • Staff development is central to this but there are concerns about education and training opportunities within the dementia workforce.
  • This papers asks nurses working in dementia care to assess their own level of knowledge and competence and to identify areas of unmet educational needs.
  • The results suggest that not all nurses are developed to such a point that new ways of working can be effectively introduced.


It is expedient to consider new ways in which dementia care services may be configured to meet increasing demographic, societal and regulatory demands. Greater equity in the distribution of clinical responsibility across multidisciplinary teams has been suggested as one method that may offer a range of benefits to both the service user and the service itself. However, within the dementia workforce there are concerns about inconsistency and variability in both knowledge of dementia and competency in meeting the needs of those affected. Taking this into account it was felt important to explore perceived knowledge and competency of specialist dementia care nurses who would not only be expected to possess higher levels of knowledge and skill but are positioned as the obvious clinical group to engage with new ways of working. Consequently, this paper offers the results and subsequent discussion of a survey of senior nurses working in dementia care across the UK.