Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


School of Nursing


The world is ageing and as a result there is an increased incidence of older people accessing acute healthcare services. It is therefore essential for nurses within acute healthcare settings to be equipped with the professional attributes, knowledge and skills to meet the unique care needs of older people. One way to achieve this is by establishing healthful relationships. Healthful nurse–patient relationships with older people contribute to shared decision making, person-centred care, positive outcomes and experiences for older people, as well as nurses’ work satisfaction. One essential component of healthful relationships is empathy. Yet nurses’ empathy towards older people reduces over time. Nursing students show a reduction in empathy from enrolment to graduation. Similarly nurses working in acute healthcare settings show a reduction in empathy after their first graduate year. Fortunately, empathy can be ‘taught’, not through instruction but using simulation-based-education (SBE) interventions, particularly ageing simulation interventions where participants wear ageing-suits to experience the potential motor-sensory changes of advancing ageing. Ageing simulation interventions have proven to be successful in developing nurses’ empathy towards older people.

FoR codes (2008)




Unless otherwise indicated, the views expressed in this thesis are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the University of Wollongong.