The Clinical Learning Experiences of Nursing Students Caring for Elderly Schizophrenia Inpatients

Chia-Shan Wu, Jiin-Ru Rong, Wen-Kuei Liao, Hsun-Wen Chang, Wei-Na Hsu


Aims: Young nursing students who are engaged in psychiatric nursing practice for the first time have many difficulties. In order to help students learn how to care for elderly patients with mental illness, this study explored student perceptions, evaluated clinical learning experiences using qualitative research methods, and assessed the experiences of student nurses in caring for elderly patients with schizophrenia in Taiwan.

Methods: The data presented in this study were derived from an qualitative study based on a phenomenological approach. The 20 participants were selected from the students of a nursing college in Taiwan. Individual in-depth interviews were held with nursing students, these students were selected from the fourth-years of nursing college of associate degree. The mean age of all of the participants were 18.7(±0.46).

Results: Colaizzi's analysis method was used to analyze the data. Six main themes were obtained: (1) Assessing clinical problems associated with psychiatric disorders and geriatric diseases; (2) Preparing for and engaging with the clinical internship environment; (3) Establishing relationships with elderly patients; (4) Participating in clinical learning and applying nursing knowledge and skills; (5) Shaping a good attitude towards elderly schizophrenia patients; (6) Gaining confidence in the internship process.

Conclusions: Although nursing students lack clinical knowledge and situational experience in geriatric psychiatric nursing, nursing teachers need to help students be more perceptive and evaluate their clinical learning experiences, and to express themselves and reflect on the process of care delivery to hospitalized elderly patients with schizophrenia. 

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International Journal of Studies in Nursing  ISSN 2424-9653 (Print)  ISSN 2529-7317 (Online)

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