BACKGROUND: Studies have reported that student nurses hold positive attitudes towards older people; nevertheless, working with older people has consistently remained one of the least desired career choices among student nurses in most countries.
OBJECTIVES: The current study aimed to assess student nurses' intentions to work with older people and to determine the predictors of working intentions among nursing students.
DESIGN: The study adopted a cross-sectional design.
SETTINGS: Multistage sampling was used to recruit nursing students from five states in Malaysia.
PARTICIPANTS: A total of 1462 nursing students from eleven nursing education institutions participated in this study.
METHODS: A self-administered questionnaire was used to collect data. This study is underpinned by the Theory of Planned Behaviour. The Intent to Work with Older People Scale and Kogan Attitudes Toward Old People Scale were used to assess nursing students' intentions and attitudes towards care of older people respectively. Researcher-developed instruments were used to assess subjective norms and perceived behavioural control among nursing students.
RESULTS: The present study found that nursing students in Malaysia demonstrated a moderate level of intention to work with older people, with a mean of 39.72 (±4.38). There were significant differences in effects of gender, ethnic group, academic level, type of nursing institution and setting of older person care clinical experience on intentions to work with older people. There was a moderate and positive relationship between attitudes towards older people and intentions to work with older people, as well as between perceived behavioural control and intentions to work with older people; it was found that r = 0.36 for both relationships. Attitudes, subjective norms and perceived behavioural control accounted for 19.7% of the variance in intentions to work with older people.
CONCLUSION: The primary findings of this national study revealed that Malaysian nursing students have a moderate level of intention to work with older people. It is imperative to develop educational interventions to nurture attitudes for caring and promote stronger intentions to work with older people.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.