The Impact of Clinical Experience With Alcoholics on Brazilian Nursing Students’ Attitudes Toward Alcoholism and Associated Problems

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Abstract

This quasiexperimental study assessed the impact of a clinical experience involving alcoholics on nursing students’ attitudes. The study participants were 195 students at a large university-based nursing school in Brazil. They were divided into experimental and control groups. Individuals in the experimental group (n = 56) participated in 6 weeks of a clinical practicum at a specialized treatment service for addiction, during a course in psychiatric nursing. In the same period, the control group (n = 144) participated in a 6-week clinical practicum at a specialized mental health service that did not treat people with addiction. At the end of the theoretical course and clinical practica, both groups completed an attitude measurement scale. Data analysis, using analysis of variance, indicated a statistically significant difference in the overall score on the attitude scale between the experimental and control groups (p = .04), indicating that the experimental group participants’ have more positive attitudes, perceptions, opinions, and feelings toward alcoholic individuals and working and relating to these patients. In conclusion, educational interventions that include clinical experience with alcoholics may be an effective teaching strategy that contributes to better skill preparation and more comfortable feelings for nurses intervening in problems related to the use and abuse of alcohol and other drugs.

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