Changes in knowledge and attitude resulting from the training of nursing students on Alzheimer's disease (AD) and related dementias
For the current study, a training program on AD and related dementias was designed and presented to 63 second semester Licensed Vocational Nursing (LVN) students at three area campuses of South Plains College. The purpose of the study was to assess the differential effects of program participation on students' knowledge of AD, as well as knowledge of and attitude toward the aged. Students were first measured on knowledge and attitude instruments two weeks prior to AD training. Experimental subjects were tested a second time immediately following training, while control subjects were tested just prior to training. Students were last tested on the instruments in follow-up, six weeks post AD training. One of the study's two principal instruments was developed by the researcher.
It was hypothesized that experimental versus control subjects would evidence significantly greater mean knowledge of AD at second testing. Results of the between groups t-test for independent means supported the hypothesis. It was also hypothesized that experimental subjects would demonstrate a significant increase in AD knowledge at second testing as compared to first, and maintain that significantly increased level of knowledge at third testing. Findings from t-tests for correlated means supported these two hypotheses. Experimental versus control subjects did not differ significantly in mean aged bias at second test administration, disconfirming the study's fourth hypothesis. This finding, along with supplemental within group t-test analyses indicates that participation in training had no effect on the directional status, and little effect on altering the strength of students' attitudes toward the aged. Correlational data were computed to study the relationships among the variables of AD knowledge, knowledge of aging and the aged, and attitude toward the aged. The most consistently positive and significant relationships were found between knowledge of the aged and aged bias. The least consistent relationships were found between knowledge of AD and aged bias. Finally, means, standards deviations, and supplemental t-tests analyses were calculated on data from students' self-ratings of professional sense to determine if program participation acted to enhance LVN students' feelings of professional worth. Findings indicate that the benefit of training was limited to AD knowledge gain.