Why don’t nursing students like to work in a gerontological setting?

Mei Hua Kerry HSU

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Theses


The world's older population is estimated to reach 22% by 2050 which is double from 11% in 2000. Macao also faces challenges with regards to an aging population. It is estimated that by 2036, 23.7% of Macao’s population will be aged 65 years or older. Previous studies addressed that there were not many nursing students choosing to work in gerontological nursing (GN) after graduation. To date, little is known about Macao nursing students’ attitude towards older people, as well as preferences and willingness towards working in GN after graduation. The purpose of this study was to examine the preparedness of nursing students for GN practice in Macao, including their attitudes towards older people, preference and willingness to work in GN after graduation, and factors affecting and contributing in GN education and future work.

A survey design was adopted to understand the situation and attitude among Macao nursing students towards working in GN after graduation. This survey also included a small section with open-ended questions that helped enrich the understanding of the subjective perception of Macao nursing students towards GN education and working in GN after graduation. In total 377 Macao nursing students were included (return rate=83.04%) in this survey study.

This study concluded: (a) 24.4% Macao nursing students had willingness to work in GN settings after graduation. (b) Only 9.5% Macao nursing students chose GN as the first to third future work (most preference). (C) Macao nursing students with higher Kogan’s attitude scores towards older people (KAOP) would be more willing to work at GN after graduation. Religion, culture factor, intention factor, and education factor were associated with positive attitudes towards older people. (d) Three predictors of preference and willingness towards GN work were confirmed in this study including “intention to live with 65+”, “good experience of clinical practice with 65+” and “KAOP”.

Two themes were confirmed in open-ended questions’ findings: (a) GN education including GN taught course and clinical practice. (b) Non-educational factors relating to salary and GN setting, personal interest and experiences with older people. Personal interest is confirmed in this study as the most important factor among nursing students towards future working in GN. On the basis of research findings, this study proposed suggestions and strategies in GN education to promote nursing students’ preferences and willingness towards working in GN after graduation.

This study gained more understandings among Macao nursing students in preference and willingness to work in GN after graduation. As ageing society, the findings will provide information to nursing educators and policy makers for strategies in GN education and policy to promote more nursing students working in GN after graduation. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Education
Awarding Institution
  • The Education University of Hong Kong
  • LUI, Tai Lok 呂大樂, Supervisor
  • LING, Man Ho, Alpha 凌萬豪, Supervisor
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Nursing student
  • Gerontological nursing (GN)
  • Kogan’s attitude towards older people (KAOP)
  • Preference/Willingness for future career
  • Theses and Dissertations
  • Thesis (Ed.D.)--The Education University of Hong Kong, 2018.


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