Photos may change perceptions about older persons: research

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They say a picture paints a thousand words - and new research is about to find out if a picture can also help nursing and medical students begin to ‘see' older people in a different light.

Photographs that portray realistic images of older people, from healthy men and women to a dependent person about to be hoisted onto a bed will be used by a team of researchers from The University of Western Australia in an attempt to promote classroom discussion around ageing.  The use of photographs may also aid in the exploration of potential unexamined stereotypes or ageist perceptions students may hold towards older people

UWA lecturer and researcher Assistant Professor Gabrielle Brand, in collaboration with Professor Christopher Etherton-Beer, Associate Professor Rosemary Saunders and Assistant Professor Helen Dugmore, has won a WA Nurses Memorial Centre Charitable Trust grant to explore and evaluate the use of photographs as a teaching and learning tool with a group of UWA medical and nursing students. 

The photographs will be used to stimulate discussions in small interprofessional groups at the Beyond the Teaching Nursing Home: Community Partnership of Learning and Care environment.

"Winning this grant will allow us to make important inroads in developing teaching and learning tools that can better prepare future health professionals  to function within complex and ever-changing health care systems which  are challenged by our ageing population," Assistant Professor Brand said.

"This grant will fund essential research that will lead to new knowledge in developing visual teaching tools that better prepares and enhances the quality of medical and nursing practice and education."

The grant is from the Western Australian Nurses Memorial Centre Charitable Trust, which was established in 1998.  It awards grants for use by nurses to advance health care through education, research, practice and management in all health arenas in WA.

Assistant Professor Brand began her career as a registered nurse before pursuing a career in research.  She currently lectures in the post graduate Health Professional Education courses at UWA's Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences Education Centre.

Media references

Assistant Professor Gabrielle Brand (UWA Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences, and Education Centre)  (+61 8) 6488 6893
David Stacey (UWA Public Affairs)  (+61 8) 6488 3229 / (+61 4) 32 637 716

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