A study is being launched to help improve nursing care for older people.
Researchers from the University of Stirling are joining forces with staff from two other universities to explore student nurses’ understanding of “human dignity” – giving someone respect, support and care in their later stages of life.
Professor William Lauder, Head of Stirling’s School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health, said: “The project will examine students’ current perceptions of dignity – and develop training materials to improve the way they care for older people. This will be shared across the UK and internationally.
“We’re all aware of people who have died in hospital or who have battled debilitating illnesses in later life. It’s important that people don’t just get the right kind of medical support, but that the care is person-centred with dignity.
“Stirling leads the way in nursing education and we’re delighted to be taking part in this research.”
Work on the study will start in October this year and involve 300 nursing students based at the University of Stirling’s Highland Campus in Inverness.
Funding to support the work has been provided by the Scottish Crucible, a highly-competitive leadership and development programme for early career researchers. (See www.hw.ac.uk/scottishcrucible/)
The study – entitled “Human Dignity Narratives and Nurse Education: Promoting Dignity in the Care of Older Adults” – will be supported by a range of experts.
Stirling lecturers Dr Leah Macaden and Dr Richard Kyle with expertise in nurse education – also based in Inverness - will work on the study with an expert in human rights law, Dr Elaine Webster from the University of Strathclyde, and an expert in participatory research, Dr Sarah Anne Munoz from the University of the Highlands and Islands.
The Scottish Crucible Project Fund supports projects that are interdisciplinary, innovative, sustainable, and have the potential to make a significant positive impact on the people of Scotland.
Each year, 30 future research leaders are selected to participate in intensive two-day “labs”, designed to catalyse innovative interdisciplinary collaborations across the Scottish research community. Dr Macaden participated in the programme in 2013 and Dr Kyle was among the 2011 cohort of “Cruciblists”.
The award for the new nursing study was presented at the Annual Royal Society of Edinburgh Awards Reception on 2 September.
Dr Macaden said: ‘‘This is an exciting opportunity for us. I am particularly pleased to be working with academics from different disciplines – each with their own unique skills and expertise.
“Often the concept of dignity is quite abstract to define – but it’s very central to the concept of good nursing.
“We want to equip nursing students with the right kind of skills not only to be knowledgeable and competent but to also be caring practitioners. Hopefully this new study will help.”