Listening to elders' stories
: transforming nursing students' perceptions about gerontology nursing

  • Jeanine Tweedie

    Student thesis: Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) - CDU


    When teaching gerontology nursing to nursing students, their preconceived ideas, biases and prejudices associated with ageing become barriers to effective learning and caring for elders. Nursing literature recommends that gerontology nursing educators address these challenges by providing nursing students with positive learning experiences with well elders. Listening to elders’ stories has been shown to be a positive experience but little is known about how the experience impacts nursing students.

    This thesis explores the experiences of 15 baccalaureate nursing students in Hawai`i who were interviewed to share their experiences listening to elders tell their stories. Using the methodology of narrative inquiry and the method of life story, each audio taped interview was restoried into a narrative text and analysed for emerging themes. The major theme of liminal spaces represents the transitions that occurred throughout the nursing students’ stories. The conceptual framework of cultural safety and the philosophical position of Martin Buber informed this study of gerontology nursing education and practice in relation to the balance of power in the care of elders and the nurturing of relationship.

    The key findings indicate that the nursing students were transformed both personally and professionally by listening to the stories of elders. Consequently, they discovered that the experience changed their attitudes and improved the way they provided nursing care to elders. This supports the desired outcomes of gerontology nursing education and confirms that listening to elders’ stories is a valuable educational strategy. Key words: cultural safety, elders, gerontology nursing, nursing students, life stories, narrative inquiry

    Note: Restricted
    Date of AwardMay 2012
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorRose McEldowney (Supervisor) & Peter Brown (Supervisor)

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