Older people in Cornwall and Devon have been helping student nurses understand the needs of their future patients by giving their time and insights into their lives.
A group of nursing students from Cornwall College Saltash held a focus group with members of the older people to gain a further understanding of issues facing them and their families.
“As we age, it is everyone’s duty to stay active and part of society”
They spoke to the group about various sensitive issues from care plans, how they feel about getting older and possibly losing some independence to how they have settled into retirement.
Norma Barrett, lecturer for Access to Higher Education at Cornwall College Saltash, said: “The older age visitors the class met are shining examples of the ‘activity theory’, which states that, as we age, it is everyone’s duty to stay active and part of society.”
“In the UK, many mid-aged parents find they are looking after their young school-aged children as well as elderly parents,” she noted.
“If everyone took an individual and collective responsibility to maintain health, this would also aid the NHS budget,” she suggested.
Student nurse Sarah Rochester, who lives in Plymouth, said she found the focus group “a very informative session”.
“It was a fantastic opportunity to ask some questions relating to theories we are currently studying,” she said. “Our visitors were really honest with their answers and discussed issues ranging from politics to death.”
“It was really inspirational to hear their stories and what they have achieved so far in life,” she added.
Judith McQuillen, who is 74 and was part of the focus group, said she found it “reassuring” that the students at were so “confident, sensible and thoughtful”.
“I enjoyed being interviewed by them and wish them well with their future university courses,” she said.