Impact of experiential dementia care learning on knowledge, skills and attitudes of nursing students: A systematic literature review

Modupe Adewuyi, Kennesaw State University
Kathleen Morales, University of West Georgia
Anna Lindsey, University of West Georgia


Aim: The aim of this systematic review was to synthesize evidence on the effect of clinical experiential learning approaches on pre-licensure nursing students' competence in dementia care and to identify associated challenges. Background: As the prevalence of dementia increases, nurse educators must proactively prepare pre-licensure nursing students to care for people living with dementia. The limited number of physical clinical learning settings, especially during the current COVID-19 pandemic, has caused many nursing programs to use alternative experiential learning approaches. Design: Systematic Literature Review Methods: In accordance with PRISMA guidelines, we conducted a systematic search for the literature in Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature, MEDLINE and ProQuest for relevant peer-reviewed studies published between 2010 and 2021. Using the Boolean operator search approach, the keyword “dementia care” was combined with “AND/OR” and other search terms. In addition, a descendent and an ascendent search were conducted to find other relevant studies. Results: A total of 17 retrieved articles met the inclusion criteria. Five themes emerged, with the main findings being that face-to-face (in person), virtual and simulated experiential learning approaches increased pre-licensure nursing students' dementia care knowledge. However, the face-to-face experiential learning approach that provides physical contact with people living with dementia and clinical staff had more impact on their skills and attitudes. Conclusion: The evidence in this review could inform curriculum development, teaching methods, experiential learning experiences and clinical placements of pre-licensure nursing students with regards to dementia care. More research is needed to explore further the impact of virtual and simulated experiential learning approaches on pre-licensure nursing students' dementia care skills. Tweetable abstract: This systematic literature review synthesizes evidence of clinical experiential learning on prelicensure nursing students' competence in dementia care per PRISMA guidelines. Five themes emerged #dementia #experientiallearning #prelicensurenursingstudents #clinicalsducation