The ageing population is currently one of the main issues facing UK healthcare systems. Nurses of the future will be faced with the task of caring for this elderly population. Meanwhile, care standards and government policies have emphasized the need for preparing students to care for the older people. Preparing nursing students to meet the care needs of an expanding ageing population is a challenge for nursing education. Moreover, caring for older people are often not seen by students as an attractive option, a perception that exerts a considerable influence on the values that inform their future professional practice. This paper examines the literature related to the students' perceptions of caring for older people and suggests the need for specific curricular content, teaching and a structured approach to the educational preparation and support of students for their practice experience. If students are provided with the relevant preparation and support, they can engage in enriched learning experiences, deliver quality care and develop positive attitudes in caring for older people in their professional practice.
Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.