Journal of Gerontological Nursing

Innovations in Long-Term Care 

Using Experiential Techniques for Staff Development: Liking, Learning, and Doing

Betsy Kemeny, MS, CTRS; Iris F. Boettcher, MD, CMD; Richard P. DeShon, PhD; Alan B. Stevens, PhD

Abstract

The authors evaluate whether the role-playing techniques used in an Alzheimer’s disease research project are effective in increasing nurses’ knowledge in person-centered care.

ABSTRACT

Experiential techniques, such as role plays and simulations, are recommended to achieve nursing home staff training and development objectives. Experiential techniques can be customized to match the learning styles and preferences of all levels of nursing staff. Nursing staff’s reactions to and benefits from such techniques are a necessary first step in the evaluation of a skills training program. Project RELATE (Research and Education for Living with Alzheimer’s Disease: Therapeutic Eldercare) measured reactions to and knowledge gained by nursing staff using such techniques in training person-centered care. Findings suggest experiential techniques are efficacious as learning methods.

Abstract

The authors evaluate whether the role-playing techniques used in an Alzheimer’s disease research project are effective in increasing nurses’ knowledge in person-centered care.

ABSTRACT

Experiential techniques, such as role plays and simulations, are recommended to achieve nursing home staff training and development objectives. Experiential techniques can be customized to match the learning styles and preferences of all levels of nursing staff. Nursing staff’s reactions to and benefits from such techniques are a necessary first step in the evaluation of a skills training program. Project RELATE (Research and Education for Living with Alzheimer’s Disease: Therapeutic Eldercare) measured reactions to and knowledge gained by nursing staff using such techniques in training person-centered care. Findings suggest experiential techniques are efficacious as learning methods.

Authors

Ms. Kemeny is Project Manager, Project RELATE (Research and Education for Living with Alzheimer’s and related disorders: Therapeutic Eldercare), Grand Rapids, Michigan. Dr. Boettcher is Medical Director of Geriatrics, Spectrum Health, and Principal Investigator, Project RELATE, Grand Rapids, Michigan. Dr. DeShon is Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, Michigan State University, Lansing, Michigan. Dr. Stevens is Director, Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, Division of Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Alabama, Birmingham, Alabama.

This study was made possible by the Blodgett Butterworth Health Care Foundation through monies donated by Peter C. and Pat Cook. The study was approved by the Spectrum Health Research and Human Rights Committee. The authors thank the staff of Spectrum Health Continuing Care Center for their support.

Address correspondence to Iris Boettcher, MD, CMD, Project RELATE, 4500 Breton Road, Grand Rapids, MI 49508.

10.3928/00989134-20060801-03

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