Indexed on: 15 Jan '17Published on: 15 Jan '17Published in: Nurse Education Today
This educational intervention takes place when the population of older people with dementia is increasing. Health and Social care professionals must work jointly in increasingly complex contexts. Negative attitudes towards older people are cited as a contributor to poor care delivery, including the use of dismissive and/or patronising language, failing to meet fundamental needs and afford choice. 'Sliding Doors to Personal Futures' is a joint, drama-based, educational initiative between NHS Education Scotland and the Scottish Social Services Council, delivered using interprofessional education (IPE) towards encouraging person-centred health and social care. This paper considers whether 'Sliding Doors' had an impact on social work and nursing students' attitudes to older people, person-centred care and interprofessional collaboration. Two groups of third year students were studied; one from nursing and one from social work. A mixed methods approach was taken and attitudes and attitudinal shifts measured and discussed. Quantitative results demonstrated that social work students made positive attitudinal shifts in some questionnaire items and collectively the social work students were more person-centred than nursing students in their care approaches. The qualitative data however, drawn from focus groups, illuminated these results and highlighted the link between the ability for a professional to be person-centred and the conceptual view of risk within the particular profession. Risk acceptance, the theoretical position of social work, may facilitate person-centred care, whereas the perceived risk-averse nature of the nursing profession may inhibit it. Students' attempts to understand the quantitative results, without understanding the restrictions and parameters of each other's profession, led them to revert to stereotypes and negative views of each other as practitioners. The paper concludes that there is an important difference between nurses' and social workers' frames of reference. It is suggested that IPE in its current form will not impact positively on outcomes for older people, unless both professions can openly acknowledge the reality of their professional contexts and develop an understanding of each other's professional restrictions, opportunities and aspirations.