Inter-Disciplinary Student Work Placements within a Care Home Setting: Improving Student Employability and Developing Social Connections – A Qualitative Evaluation

  • Rachael Mason University of Lincoln
  • Rachael Hunt University of Lincoln
  • Dr. Ros Kane
Keywords: care homes, employability skills, higher education, inter-disciplinary learning, work experience

Abstract

This article reports on the development, implementation and evaluation of a project to develop students’ employability skills by involving them in work experience within a care home. The aims of this project were (1) to describe how employability skills developed during the work experience (including knowledge and values relevant to the health and social care sector) and (2) to promote social engagement for residents living within the care home. In this descriptive qualitative study, 12 students from various disciplines across social science courses volunteered to participate following an advert to all students. Alongside three key care home staff, these students participated in two information sessions prior to involving residents in individual and group activities commencing in the following week. Qualitative, semi-structured, written evaluations were collected from the students and care home staff at three time points: immediately after the information sessions, immediately following volunteering sessions and at the end of the project, five months after the project commenced. Evaluations were analysed thematically using the principles of Braun and Clarke (2006) with the identified themes demonstrating students had developed skills, knowledge and understanding in the context of caring for older adults through their planning and implementation of activities, engaging and communicating with the residents, and working alongside care home staff. They reported benefiting from working as a team and commented on their perceived benefits to the residents. Students were able to build transferable skills which they felt would benefit them in future employment. Their participation resulted in a greater understanding of caring for older adults which students stated they can apply both in their working and social lives. The project provided an opportunity for peer education and experience of inter-disciplinary teamwork. The perceived benefits to residents included a positive impact on social engagement, communication and well-being.

References

Adams, J. (2004). Time to remember: Introducing reminiscence into elderly care. Nursing Older People, 16(2), 37–37. https://doi.org/10.7748/nop.16.2.37.s26

Alzheimer’s Society. (2017). Dementia Friends. https://www.dementiafriends.org.uk/

Annear, M. J., Elliott, K.-E. J., Tierney, L. T., Lea, E. J., & Robinson, A. (2017). ‘Bringing the outside world in’: Enriching social connection through health student placements in a teaching aged care facility. Health Expectations, 20(5), 1154–1162. https://doi.org/10.1111/hex.12561

Aşiret, G. D., & Kapucu, S. (2016). The effect of reminiscence therapy on cognition, and activities of daily living for patients with Alzheimer disease. Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry and Neurology, 29(1), 31–37. https://doi.org/10.1177/0891988715598233

Barton, E., Bates, E. A., & O'Donovan, R. (2019). ‘That extra sparkle’: Students’ experiences of volunteering and the impact on satisfaction and employability in higher education. Journal of Further and Higher Education, 43, 4, 453–466. https://doi.org/10.1080/0309877X.2017.1365827

Braun, V., & Clarke, V. (2006). Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 3(2), 77–101. http://dx.doi.org/10.1191/1478088706qp063oa

Brennan, J., Blasko, Z., Little, B., & Woodley, A. (2002). UK graduates and the impact of work experience: A report to the HEFCE by the Centre for Higher Education Research and Information (CHERI). HEFCE. https://dera.ioe.ac.uk/5171/1/rd17_02.pdf

Caggiano, V., Schleutker, K., Petrone, L., & González-Bernal, J. (2020). Towards identifying the soft skills needed in curricula: Finnish and Italian students’ self-evaluations indicate difference between groups. Sustainability, 12, 4031. http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/su12104031

Chiang, K.-J., Chu, H., Chang, H,-J., Chung, M.-H., Chen, C.-H., Chiou, H.-Y., & Chou, K.-R. (2010). The effects of reminiscence therapy on psychological well-being, depression, and loneliness among the institutionalised aged. International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 25(4), 380–388. https://doi.org/10.1002/gps.2350

Colorafi, K. J., & Evans, B. (2016). Qualitative descriptive methods in health science research. Health Environments Research and Design Journal, 9(4), 16–25. https://doi.org/10.1177/1937586715614171

Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (2016). Success as a knowledge economy: Teaching excellence, social mobility and student choice. Department of Business, Innovation and Skills. https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/523546/bis-16-265-success-as-a-knowledge-economy-web.pdf

Dewing, J. (2002). From ritual to relationship: A person-centred approach to consent in qualitative research with older people who have a dementia. Dementia, 1(2), 156–171. https://doi.org/10.1177%2F147130120200100204

Dewing, J. (2007). Participatory research: A method for process consent with persons who have dementia. Dementia, 6(1), 11–25. https://doi.org/10.1177/1471301207075625

Gonzalez, J., Mayordomo, T., Torres, M., Sales, A., & Meléndez, J. C. (2015). Reminiscence and dementia: A therapeutic intervention. International Psychogeriatrics, 27(10), 1731–1737. https://doi.org/10.1017/s1041610215000344

Haslam, C., Haslam, S. A., Jetten, J., Bevins, A., Ravenscroft, S., & Tonks, J. (2010). The social treatment: The benefits of group interventions in residential care settings. Psychology and Aging, 25(1), 157–167. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0018256

Holt-White, E., & Montacute, R. (2020). COVID-19 and social mobility impact brief #5: Graduate recruitment and access to the workplace. The Sutton Trust. https://www.suttontrust.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/Access-to-the-Workplace-Impact-Brief.pdf

Karthikeyan, R., & Baskaran, G. (2011). Soft skills: What do employers expect from their employees? Language in India, 6, 299–304. http://www.languageinindia.com/june2011/softskillskarthikeyanfinal.pdf

Keating, F., Cole, L. & Grant, R. (2018). An evaluation of group reminiscence arts sessions for people with dementia living in care homes. Dementia, 19(3), 805–821. https://doi.org/10.1177%2F1471301218787655

Kitwood, T. (1997). Dementia reconsidered: The person comes first. Open University Press.

Little, B., & Harvey, L. (2006). Learning through work placements and beyond: A report for HECSU and the Higher Education Academy’s Work Placements Organisation Forum. HECSU https://hecsu.ac.uk/assets/assets/documents/Learning_through_work_placements_and_beyond.pdf

Nancarrow, S. A., Booth, A., Ariss, S., Smith, T., Enderby, P., & Roots, A. (2013). Ten principles of good interdisciplinary team work. Human Resources for Health, 11, 19. https://doi.org/10.1186/1478-4491-11-19

Neville, C., Dickie, R., & Goetz, S. (2014). What’s stopping a career in gerontological nursing? Literature review. Journal of Gerontological Nursing, 40(1), 18–27. https://doi.org/10.3928/00989134-20131126-02

Norton, S. (2016). Embedding employability in higher education for student success. Higher Education Academy. https://www.heacademy.ac.uk/system/files/downloads/employability_viewpoint_july16_1.pdf

Office for National Statistics. (2020). Population estimates for the UK, England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland: mid-2019. Office for National Statistics https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/populationandmigration/populationestimates

O’Philbin, L., Woods, B., Farrell, E. M., Spector, A. E. & Orrell, M. (2018). Reminiscence therapy for dementia: An abridged Cochrane systematic review of the evidence from randomized controlled trials. Expert Review of Neurotherapeutics, 18(9), 715–727. https://doi.org/10.1080/14737175.2018.1509709

Sandelowski, M. (2000). Whatever happened to qualitative description? Research in Nursing & Health, 23(4), 334–340. https://doi.org/10.1002/1098-240x(200008)23:4%3C334::aid-nur9%3E3.0.co;2-g

Seaman, K., Saunders, R., Williams, E., Harrup-Gregory, J., Loffler, H., & Lake, F. (2017). An examination of students’ perceptions of their interprofessional placements in residential aged care. Journal of Interprofessional Care, 31(2), 147–153. https://doi.org/10.1080/13561820.2016.1262338

Skills for Care. (2020). The state of the adult social care sector and workforce in England. Skills for Care. https://www.skillsforcare.org.uk/adult-social-care-workforce-data/Workforce-intelligence/publications/national-information/The-state-of-the-adult-social-care-sector-and-workforce-in-England.aspx

Published
2021-06-08
How to Cite
Mason, R., Hunt, R., & Kane, R. (2021). Inter-Disciplinary Student Work Placements within a Care Home Setting: Improving Student Employability and Developing Social Connections – A Qualitative Evaluation. International Journal of Practice-Based Learning in Health and Social Care, 9(1), 64-76. Retrieved from https://publications.coventry.ac.uk/index.php/pblh/article/view/697
Section
Research Articles