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Reactions of nurses and therapists in mainstream health services to contact with people who have learning disabilities.

McConkey, Roy and Truesdale-Kennedy, Maria (2000) Reactions of nurses and therapists in mainstream health services to contact with people who have learning disabilities. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 32 (1). pp. 158-163. [Journal article]

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URL: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1046/j.1365-2648.2000.01413.x/abstract

DOI: 10.1046/j.1365-2648.2000.01413.x


Government policy in the United Kingdom is to make the National Health Service accessible to all citizens including those who hitherto may have relied on specialist services. It is recognised that the attitudes of health professionals can be a major influence in making this happen. To date there has been a paucity of research studies involving nurses and therapists; two of the largest groupings of health care workers. The present study contrasted the reactions of nurses and therapists to their contact with people who have learning disabilities, with those of staff working in specialist services for this client group, and with students who are not involved in health services. Over 1,000 respondents - mainly University students on undergraduate or post-graduate courses - completed a written questionnaire. Although nurses and therapists had significantly less contact with people who had learning disabilities during their work than did staff in specialist services, there were no differences in terms of contact in personal life. In both instances their contacts were higher than that reported for non-healthcare students. However both nurses and therapists were significantly less confident in working with a patient who had learning disabilities as opposed to one with physical disabilities. By contrast, willingness for social contacts did not vary across the four groups although respondents with previous personal contact were significantly more willing for this than those with no prior contact. The results confirm that the form of contact is a more salient variable on staff attitudes than contact per se. Hence, changed reactions are more likely to come about from successful contacts in a work rather than social environment. The implications are discussed for initial and post-qualifying training courses, especially for suitable placement experiences. Suggestions are made for future research that focuses on increasing the expertise and confidence of nurses and therapists in working with patients who have learning disabilities.

Item Type:Journal article
Faculties and Schools:Faculty of Life and Health Sciences > School of Nursing
Faculty of Life and Health Sciences
Research Institutes and Groups:Institute of Nursing and Health Research
Institute of Nursing and Health Research > Centre for Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
ID Code:18382
Deposited By: Prof Roy McConkey
Deposited On:19 May 2011 10:29
Last Modified:19 May 2011 10:29

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