The demand for nursing services for the care of patients with dementia is expected to rise with the concomitant increase in the number of elderly. Nursing management of this patient population is challenging and complex and may be influenced by attitudes and critical thinking skills. Gerontological and geropsychiatric nursing care recognized as subspecialties requiring the nurse to possess a highly specialized body of knowledge. The purpose of this study is to explore the relationships among knowledge, attitudes, and critical thinking skills of nurses caring for patients with dementia. A descriptive correlational design will be used for this study. Subjects participating in this study will be drawn from the population of CC Nursing staff who provide care for patients with dementia. Clinical nurses agreeing to participate in this study will be asked to complete the following scales: 1) attitude towards demented patients scale; 2) Alzheimer's disease knowledge test; 3) Facts on aging test; 4) Watson Glaser critical thinking appraisal; and 5) Clinical case review. The findings from this study should add to the body of nursing knowledge that deals with variable affecting clinical decision making among nurses caring for patients with dementias. Data obtained from this study will be used for the subsequent development of supportive educational programs designed to meet the needs of this subspecialty nursing profession, with the ultimate goal of providing the highest quality patient care. This protocol was approved on August 16, 1994. Plans to begin data collection are in process.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Clinical Center (CLC)
Intramural Research (Z01)
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Clinical Center
United States
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