Why dementia training should be mandatory for nursing students
RCN professional lead for older people and dementia Sally Wilson on why she believes dementia care should be a mandatory module for every nursing student
In my experience, every clinical area provides services for people with dementia, and in every adult hospital ward there are patients with the condition. NHS England estimates that one in three people will care for someone with dementia in their lifetime.
Yet dementia awareness is lacking in every health and social care policy and curriculum. While the demand for dementia training is increasing exponentially, the taught content on most preregistration nursing courses is variable.
In 2018, Health Education England updated its comprehensive dementia training standards framework to set out the core skills and knowledge that should be applicable to, and transferable across, different types of service provision. However, there are still many differences in how dementia training is delivered.
Dementia-specific placements for nursing students
An audit of dementia education and training published in 2019 suggests that, while the UK health and social care system is complicated, there is more to be done to ensure quality education and training for all staff delivering care to people with dementia.
Dementia care should be a mandatory module for every nursing student, who should all have dementia-specific placements. These modules and placements should be planned and delivered in a consistent manner, with measurable learning outcomes.
- RELATED: Nursing students’ experiences of, and socialisation in, dementia care in the acute hospital setting
Dementia training should be accredited to ensure, as far as possible, a consistent approach to learning, and all training should be of a duration and method most conducive to positively influencing practice.
People with dementia, and other conditions that increase vulnerability, such as mental illness and learning disabilities, experience greater health inequalities and prejudice in health and social care services than other groups.
Improving education for all health and social care staff, including nurses, can help us work towards a parity of service for all our vulnerable patients.
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