Baccalaureate nursing students' attitudes toward poverty: implications for nursing curricula.
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Given the link between poverty and health, nurses, in their work in hospitals and in the community, often come into contact with people who are poor. To be effective care providers, nurses must have an adequate understanding of poverty and a positive attitude toward people who are poor. This study examined attitudes toward poverty among baccalaureate nursing students (N = 740) at three Canadian universities. Students' attitudes were neutral to slightly positive. Personal experiences appeared to have an important influence on the development of favorable attitudes. The findings point to several considerations for nursing curricula. Students should not only be provided with classroom opportunities for critical exploration of poverty and its negative effects on individuals and society, but also have clinical learning experiences that bring them face-to-face with people who are poor, their health concerns, and the realities of their circumstances. Thoughtful critique of poverty-related issues and interpersonal contact may be effective strategies to foster attitude change.
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