A research critique on ageism in nursing

A research critique on ageism in nursing

Aresearch critique on ageism in nursing


Inthe article “Attitudes of Healthcare Workers towards Older Peoplein a Rural Population” (Doherty et al., 2011), discuss the attitudethat public workers hold towards the older population. The researchis conducted in one of the rural counties in Ireland. The authors setup an extensive study to examine this phenomenon based on two ideas.First, the population of Irelanders aged 65 and above is expected toincrease by 25%, from 2004 to 2026, and second the rise in the numberof older people using hospitals and receiving substandard care(Central Statistics OfficeIreland, 2007). However, what is not known about the clinical problemis that it is difficult to ascertain evidence relating to educationlevels, and attitude towards old people. If it were easilyunderstood, it could have been used to improve healthcare delivery.

Purposeand Research Questions

Themain objective of this study according to the authors was toascertain the attitude that healthcare workers hold towards the oldermembers in the rural populations of Ireland. Moreover, the studyaimed at meeting three key objectives

  1. Measuring the attitudes of healthcare workers towards the elderly using Kogan’s Attitudes towards Older People Scale [KOP]

  2. Comparing the [KOP] scores across several groups of healthcare professionals who would be categorized based on role, length of time worked, and workplace setting

  3. Working out the relationship between [KOP] scores, and the highest verifiable education level attained by the healthcare professionals

  4. Making recommendations based on the research with the aim of educating healthcare professionals on best practices

Byconducting the study, the authors aim was to find out whether therewas a significant difference in attitude towards the older members ofthe community based on the following three key factors role, lengthof time worked, and workplace setting.

Theresearch questions that the authors intended to answer were relatedto the problem. The study was conclusive that healthcare workers inthe rural county of Ireland held a positive attitude towards the old.Based on the level of education those with a university degreedisplayed the highest level of attitude. The authors give anexcellent example of a research conducted by (Pursey &amp Luker,1995) “Attitudes and stereotypes: nurses’ work with olderpeople,” to support this claim. However, there is a limitation inthis study as Kogan’s Attitudes towards Older People Scale [KOP]does not detect substantial differences in in attitude based ongender, service tenure, job title, and location of duty.

Thequalitative techniques applied by the authors were quite significantin this study. If the authors had used an alternative method ofresearch, it would have been difficult for them to disapprove orapprove a hypothesis after they collected the data. The method thatthey have used has finalized the findings in a systematic andstandard order. Moreover, the quantitative technique applied has beenable to support the findings by recording the behaviors and attitudesof healthcare workers towards the old members of the community.


Theauthors have included a lot of quantitative and qualitative studiesrelevant to the study, 38 sources to be precise. They have ensuredthat any research evidence, theory or quantitative method used hasbeen supported with evidence. In order to make it clear to thereaders, they have gone further to expound on new terms such asKogan’s Attitudes towards Older People Scale [KOP]. According to(Doherty et al., 2011), “TheKOP is a 34-item Likert type scale with 17 matched positive andnegative statements”.

Outof the 38 sources that the authors have referenced only 10 arecurrent. Being a qualitative study, a majority of the sources areolder than the stipulated five year limit. The benefits of oldersources in this research far outweigh the limitations, as theyprovide an in-depth analysis of the information. In addition, theygive a historical view, which can be compared to present day data fora better analysis.

Oneof the weaknesses that the authors have highlighted in this study isthe use of the Kogan Scale to measure the attitude of heath careworkers towards the old. The use of this scale which was developed in1960 has been a source of criticism. According to (Iwasaki &ampJones, 2008),“McLaertyhas suggested that the scale measures societal attitudes but does nottake into account the particular context in which nurses meet olderpeople”.

Thequalitative and quantitative studies that the authors have includedhave been adequate to build and support a strong hypothesis. Theyhave included quite a number of supporting documents and sources ofreference for their work. In so doing they have been able to provetheir case beyond reasonable doubt.


Theperspective of this study was developed from The “Fair Deal”legislation which was introduced in 2009. This legislation aims atensuring equality and fairness in the access of services in Ireland.The research was, therefore, conducted to assess whether there was anattitude towards the old in the fulfillment of this deal.

Theauthors developed three diagrams to explain the results of the study.These included the ‘test of normality table’, ‘highesteducation qualification assessment table’ and ‘Kogan’sattitudes towards older people scale scores’. It is from theanalysis of these findings that the authors conclude that graduatehealthcare workers show more attitudes towards the old.


Thisarticle by (Doherty et al., 2011), did an exceptional job ofproviding a detailed analysis to support the author’s claims that‘healthcare professionals do have an attitude towards olderpeople’. Despite having some limitations, they were not quitesignificant to warrant a negative hypothesis. The use of outdatedsources was also very commendable as it gave us a clear understandingof how traditional methods such as [KOP] are still applicable inquantitative analysis. From this article’s analysis, the author’sstatements regarding the “Attitudes of Healthcare Workers towardsOlder People in a Rural Population” make more sense.


CentralStatistics OfficeIreland, Ageing in Ireland (2007). Retrieved September 13, 2015, fromhttp: //www.cso.ie/newsevents/pr ageinginireland2007.htm.

Doherty,M., Mitchell, E. A., &amp O`Neill, S. (2011). Attitudes ofHealthcare Workers towards Older People in a Rural Population: ASurvey Using the Kogan Scale. NursingResearch and Practice.

Iwasaki,M., &amp Jones, L. (2008). Attitudes toward older adults: Areexamination of two major scales. Gerontologyand Geriatrics Education, 22(3),

Pursey,A., &amp Luker, K. (1995). Attitudes and stereotypes: Nurses’ workwith older people. Journalof Advanced Nursing,29(2),139-157. 547–555