Addressing future demands: Nursing students, elders, and pet birds: A student-initiated quality improvement project

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The purpose of this quality improvement (QI) project was to promote the enthusiasm of baccalaureate nursing students in providing service to older adults by using the concept of service learning as a teaching strategy. An additional goal of the student-initiated QI project, which later also included graduate social work students, was to explore the impact of caring for a pet for older adults in an assisted living facility (ALF). After completing a student-elder team QI project, nursing students' journals yielded three themes: Improved Communication Skills with Elders, Becoming Interested in The Eden Alternative® Principles, and Skills in Implementing and Evaluating Interprofessional Interventions. Elders' anecdotal comments and interviews yielded four themes: Improved Self Care, Decreased Anxiety, Sense of Purpose, and Sense of Belonging. These outcomes demonstrate ways to drive student interest in interdisciplinary gerontological care and to promote elders' well-being when transitioning to residential care.

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