Term of Award

Spring 1992

Degree Name

Master of Science in Nursing

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (restricted to Georgia Southern)

Committee Chair

M. Christine Talmadge

Committee Member 1

Camille P. Stern

Committee Member 2

June Alberto

Abstract

There are 5,957,000 elderly citizens residing in the South Atlantic states, which include Georgia. By the year 2,000 this number will increase to 7,183,000. The elderly occupy 40% to 6 0% of acute hospital beds, and remain, on average, twice as long as their younger counterparts. Hospitals will be responsible for ensuring that the nursing staff possess the knowledge and skills necessary to provide the specialized care needed by the elderly patient population.

The purpose of this study was to determine if hospitals in the South Atlantic States are developing orientation, continuing education, and in-service programs/offerings to prepare the nursing staff to care for the increasing elderly patient population. The specific population chosen for this descriptive survey study was acute care general hospitals. A 20-item survey questionnaire was mailed to 84 hospitals in the South Atlantic States selected by random cluster sampling. Fifty-one questionnaires were completed and returned. The data were summarized using descriptive and inferential statistics. The chi-square test of association was used to determine the level of significance between variables.

The findings indicate that acute care hospitals in the South Atlantic States are presenting orientation, continuing education, and in-service programs/offerings for their nursing staff. However, the majority of the hospitals are presenting only one to three programs per year. The number of programs presented increased when hospital or nursing administration mandated them. Though few of the findings were statistically significant, they did raise questions as to whether hospitals in the South Atlantic States are being proactive in preparing staff to care for the increasing elderly patient population.

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