Learning to Listen: Nursing Students Conducting Life Reviews with Older Adults


  • Judith Bunnell Sellers


There is a growing need for geriatric nursing specialists. However, not enough nurses enter the specialty.  This may be due to stereotypes about the elderly and believing that most live in long term care facilities.  This paper describes the positive outcomes from using life review in a gerontology course in a baccalaureate nursing program.  The life review had four objectives: 1) to gain a broad understanding of the elderly, 2) to describe the elder person’s uniqueness, 3) to learn about the experience of aging, and 4) to dispel myths and stereotypes of old age.  Student outcomes of the project were very encouraging and included a positive feeling about aging;’, a changed image of older people, learning about history, family, and culture, new ways to communicate with the elderly; and positive feelings about geriatric care.  The need and potential for life review in education is discussed.