Stereotyping of elderly patients by learner nurses: A personal construct theory study

Kerr, David Robert Cresswell (1986) Stereotyping of elderly patients by learner nurses: A personal construct theory study. MSc(R) thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Stereotyping of elderly patients by learner nurses was investigated in the context of the latters' experience on wards where elderly patients were nursed on a long term basis. The theoretical base of the research is Kelly's (1955) Personal Construct Theory, in which man is viewed as building theories about his world, testing these theories against experience, and changing them where necessary in order to enhance their predictive power, and thus make his own actions more effective. Individual's personal theories may be examined by the use of technique called the Repertory Grid. It is argued that theories are made up of "constructs", which most commonly may be thought of as dichotomous verbal labels. From the literature on Personal Construct Theory, it was argued that stereotypes were aspects of highly predictive personal theories, for which there might be a high cost of change in terms of predictive power. From both the Personal Construct Theory literature, and literature concerning nursing it was argued that the type of "constructs" learner nurses used in stereotyping their patients might affect their ability to empathise with them. The research reported had three stages a. A First Exploratory Study. In this it was attempted to test the last mentioned hypothesis. This failed to get off the ground as a measurement of empathy did not prove possible. b. A Second Exploratory Study. In this study the evidence suggested that some learner nurses associated stereotypically "Objective" constructs of patients with "Psychological" constructs. c. A Main Study. Using Repertory Grids made up of both "provided" and "elicited" constructs the hypothesis that learner nurses who used certain constructs more stereo typically than their peers, would be less likely to alter the predictions associated with them after a period of time on a ward was examined. The evidence from this study suggests that this was indeed the case for two constructs associated with patient dependency, and cognitive orientation. However, as this was not a general pattern with regard to other constructs, it was suggested that the extent to which a construct was used "superordinately" may be as important in predicting "consistency of predictive pattern" as the extent to which it is used stereotypically, and that this might be the true explanation for the above result. In a brief review it is finally suggested that a more useful role at present for the Repertory Grid Technique, in relation to studying learner nurses, would be to use it as "conversational tool" to stimulate self directed change of stereotypes.

Item Type: Thesis (MSc(R))
Qualification Level: Masters
Keywords: Medicine, Nursing
Date of Award: 1986
Depositing User: Enlighten Team
Unique ID: glathesis:1986-76615
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 19 Nov 2019 14:03
Last Modified: 19 Nov 2019 14:03

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