The State of Geropsychiatric Nursing Education in the US

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

K. Susan Sifford, MSN, RN
College of Nursing and Health Professions, Arkansas State University, State University, AR

Learning Objective 1: Describe current trends in geropsychiatric nursing education.

Learning Objective 2: Discuss areas in which geropsychiatric nursing education requires improvement.

Purpose: This study involved the collection of survey data related to geropsychiatric courses and content offered in courses in both undergraduate and graduate nursing programs. Two research questions were asked:  1) What is the prevalence of geropsychiatric nursing education in the United States; and 2) What specific curricular content is being offered to nursing students regarding the care of older adults with mental disorders? The purpose of this pilot project was to describe current geropsychiatric nursing education in the United States.

Methods: This study used a cross-sectional design that examined geropsychiatric course content. The sampling frame was a census of all nursing programs that claimed in a previous survey to offer geropsychiatric nursing content and/or those that were listed on the National Conference of Gerontological Nurse Practitioners Website (n = 242). The survey letter requesting information was initially sent to the dean of each nursing program who either provided the requested information or delegated the task to a gerontological or psychiatric educator.
Results: Analyses include descriptive statistics regarding geropsychiatric course content, characteristics of nursing programs, and stand-alone versus integrated courses.
Conclusion: Upon completion, the results will provide essential preliminary data for the creation and inclusion of core geropsychiatric nursing competencies in nursing education programs and for the development and dissemination of geropschiatric nursing curricula.