In addition to knowledge and skills, the attitudes and behaviour of nurses play an important role in the quality of care.
For example, nurses in hospitals are having to care for elderly patients more and more frequently. Caring for this category of patients is the cause of a great deal of stress. Nurses are often unaware of the problems associated with being ill and elderly. Elderly people can suffer from specific problems caused by the body’s ageing process. Furthermore, older people are at greater risk of complications. Elderly people generally also require more contact time from carers. Nurses often perceive elderly people as troublesome, and it is often difficult to care for them according to the relevant protocols within the time available. This is due to the specific care that elderly people require. Better standards of training for nurses can help in this regard. For this reason, the research group is developing a method to evaluate the knowledge and attitudes of nursing staff towards the elderly. The method will make it clear which nurses need more training in this area, leading to better care for elderly people.
The way in which senior nursing staff carry out their work is important for the quality of care provided. In the coming decades, the demand for care is set to grow but many experienced nurses are leaving the profession. More than 60% of healthcare institutions perceive their ability to recruit staff as a serious issue. For this reason, the research group is participating in a project which aims to strengthen and maintain professional nursing talent which could provide a leadership role. To do this, the research group is using the American 'Magnet Concept' and adapting it to the Dutch situation. The concept positions nursing staff differently within hospitals, giving nurses stronger representation at all levels of the organization.