Impact of dementia educational intervention on attitudes/practices of early career nurses

Mrs Helen Gulliver1,2

1Tasmanian Health Service – Launceston General Hospital, West Launceston, AU, 2Wicking Dementia Research and Education Centre, Hobart, AU


The Wicking Dementia Research and Education Centre (WDREC) has developed a massive open on-line course, Understanding Dementia (UDMOOC), to provide accessible and evidence-based education to a broad range of people, regardless of educational background. Since 2013, 55,000 people from more than 180 countries have enrolled in the UDMOOC.  WDREC impact  studies have established that completion of the course has a demonstrable impact on participant dementia knowledge.  Helen Gulliver’s PhD research is interested in the impact of the UDMOOC  for early career acute care nurses.  Some areas of particular interest to be considered during Helen’s research are whether this educational intervention can contribute to change in nurse attitudes towards people living with dementia; or  whether initial increase in dementia knowledge and change to dementia-care nursing practice (if identified) are sustained over time.

As we advance towards a future where a projected 600 000 Australians will be living with dementia, Helen’s research will  contribute to understandings of ‘what works’ in dementia education, particularly in an acute setting where it is recognised that complex and multi-faceted factors influence why and how nurses prioritise and value the care they provide.  Research into this area is still in its infancy and education via the UDMOOC is one intervention which might assist with meeting the associated future challenges and expectations of acute-sector dementia care.


Helen Gulliver is a Registered Nurse and Clinical Nurse Educator for Transition to Practice at the Launceston General Hospital.    In this role she works within a team  to recruit, support and educate first year and early career nurses.  Helen is also a PhD candidate with Wicking Dementia Research and Education Centre.  Helen’s PhD research is exploring the outcomes for early career nurses who are working in an acute care facility and who have completed an existing on-line dementia education course, the Understanding Dementia Massive On-line Course (or UDMOOC).