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Title: The factors involved in shaping the attitudes of student nurses toward illicit drug use : a mixed method study
Author: Harling, Martyn Richard
ISNI:       0000 0004 5356 9903
Awarding Body: University of Leicester
Current Institution: University of Leicester
Date of Award: 2014
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Previous research has indicated that nurses may hold moralistic or stereotypical views of illicit drug users, suggesting that such views may influence the care provided to a potentially large number of patients. The current study aimed to identify the factors influencing the pre-existing attitudes of student nurses toward illicit drug use, ascertain if these attitudes changed over the first year of training, and discover if any changes were specific to nurse education. No previous studies could be found which measured the impact of a range of variables on attitudes toward illicit drugs or longitudinal changes in attitude during nurse education. A mixed methods design was employed, with student nurses and comparison groups of clinical psychology trainees, health and social care, social work and midwifery students completing an anonymous questionnaire at the start of their course (N=311). This questionnaire measured the students’ attitudes and collected data on a range of variables identified as significant in terms of attitudes to illicit drugs. The questionnaire was reissued to the same students at the end of their first year (N=267). Semi-structured interviews were also conducted with volunteers, from the students who had completed the questionnaires (n=25). Results found that students who self-reported personal use of illicit drugs or were aware of use by family/friends expressed more positive attitudes. Student nurses indicated less tolerant attitudes than the other groups of students and minimal changes in attitudes were detected over the first year of training for all student groups. However, the student nurses’ attitudes increased, whereas the comparison groups all decreased. The study highlights the need for a specific educational focus on illicit drug use, as simply entering nurse education appears insufficient in addressing negative attitudes. However, any educational approach aimed at improving attitudes needs to take into account the students’ previous experiences around illicit drugs.
Supervisor: White, Patrick; Christie, Marilyn Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available