Student nurses' learning - care home nursing

Exploring the attitudes and learning needs of student nurses in relation to care home nursing

Team Members:  Tonks Fawcett, Julie Watson, Jo Hockley, Sarah Rhynas

School:  Health in Social Sciences


In the UK there are 450,000 care home beds, three times the number of acute hospital beds, yet student nurses receive the majority of their clinical placement learning in acute hospitals. The competencies of nurses in care homes are poorly defined and there is a perception that it is a less skilled branch of nursing and therefore a lower status career. This is despite the care home population having increasingly complex care needs relating to the combination of multimorbidity, dementia and the need for palliative care.

If the future nursing workforce is to be equipped and inspired to meet the nursing needs of an ageing population, care home nursing needs to become a core part of the student nurse preregistration curriculum and recognised as a positive career choice. The aim of this project is to understand the attitudes, experiences and learning needs of student nurses in relation to care home nursing.

Two focus groups will be conducted with up to eight students from Years 1 to 4 of the BN with honours degree programme (total eight focus groups). Findings will inform not only the innovative redesign of the nursing curriculum in 2018 but also the development of care homes as learning environments in which to enhance student learning.

Findings will also inform the establishment of Lothian Care Home Centre of Excellence, Innovation, Training and Research (Usher Institute) and the development of the curriculum in relation to other disciplines such as medicine.

Final project report

Download the final project report (PDF)

Other project outcomes

Briefing paper to participant students (PDF)

Presentation given at Scottish Care conference (Nov 2018) (MS PPT)

Presentation given at  British Geriatric Society/NHS Research Scotland annual meeting in April 2018 (MS PPT)

Newsletter of the Edinburgh Centre for Research on the Experiences of Dementia