Nursing students' attitudes towards nutritional care of older people: A multicentre cross-sectional survey incorporating a pre post design.


San Paolo Bachelor School of Nursing, San Paolo Teaching hospital - ASST Santi Paolo e Carlo, Milan, Italy. Electronic address: [Email]


BACKGROUND : Malnutrition is a debilitating and highly prevalent condition in acute hospital settings especially in older person; however international literature revealed negative attitudes in providing nutritional care among nurses and health professionals. Few studies have investigated attitudes towards nutritional care among nursing students, there are no data regarding the Italian context.
OBJECTIVE : The aim of this study was to explore nursing students' attitudes towards nutritional care in older people.
METHODS : A multicentre cross-sectional survey incorporating a pre post design.
METHODS : A convenience sample of nursing students of the bachelor's degree in Nursing in the three hospitals were recruited.
METHODS : Nursing students completed "The Staff Attitudes to Nutritional Nursing Care Geriatric Scale (Italian version) (SANN_GITA scale)"; first year students completed the scale before (T0) and after (T1) lectures about nutrition and nutritional care.
RESULTS : 245 students were enrolled (response rate 88.4%). The overall score of sample attitudes was Median(Me) = 66 (IQR = [60; 72]); at the variation of the year the neutral attitudes are prevalent with a significant tendency to increase the positive attitudes (p < .003) and there is a statistically significant difference (p < .05) in all dimensions except the "habits" dimension "(P = .1126). After two months from the end of the lessons regarding nutritional care there is an increase in subjects with neutral attitudes and a decrease in those with negative attitudes (P = .05).
CONCLUSIONS : This study revealed a progressive improvement of the attitudes during the three-year course, underling the importance of nutritional contents provided; understanding the most critical aspects about nutritional care can be helpful in understanding in which areas university education should be improved, in order to train nurses able to assess and face with each patients' assistance need.


Aged,Attitude of health personnel,Nutrition sciences,Students nursing,Surveys and questionnaires,