Incorporating geriatrics into baccalaureate nursing curricula: laying the groundwork with faculty development.
In June 2001, the John A. Hartford Foundation of New York awarded the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) a 3.99 million dollar grant to enhance gerontology curriculum development and new clinical experiences in 20 baccalaureate and 10 graduate schools of nursing. Over the 4-year grant implementation period, AACN learned a valuable lesson from the grant's site directors: Faculty development is the single most necessary precursor to the successful implementation and maintenance of geriatric curricular enhancements. Unless faculty members foster positive attitudes toward aging, expand their geriatric nursing knowledge base, and are able to integrate geriatric content into the curricula, progress cannot be made. Enhancing Geriatric Nursing Education project directors recommend that the following steps be taken toward the creation of successful faculty development activities: (1) anoint a champion to mentor and persuade faculty members to embrace gerontology; (2) garner faculty buy-in by engaging the faculty early so that they become active participants in the curricular change process; (3) assess faculty knowledge and comfort level by administering tools developed by the John A. Hartford Foundation Institute for Geriatric Nursing and by conducting surveys based on AACN geriatric core competencies; (4) conduct faculty development workshops that include cutting-edge knowledge and research and provide the faculty with opportunities to discuss feelings and stereotypes about aging; (5) elicit the dean's support to encourage and allow time and opportunities for training; and (6) use the many excellent resources that help the faculty integrate geriatric content into their courses. This article will further elucidate such strategies and will highlight the range of faculty development activities in which grant-funded schools engaged.
Latimer, DG; Thornlow, DK
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