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J Gerontol Soc Work. 2013;56(4):335-55. doi: 10.1080/01634372.2013.775989.

Cultivating interest and competency in gerontological social work: opportunities for undergraduate education.

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  • 1Social Work Program, University of Portland, Portland, Oregon 97203, USA.


Undergraduate social work programs are well-positioned to recruit students to gerontology, but little is known about how well curricular activities help foster students' commitment to the field. This study considers whether a small group of undergraduate students' interactions with older adults positively impacts students' plans to work with older adults; perceptions of skills; and feelings of comfort and competency in working with older adults. Experiences from this study suggest that experiential learning can positively impact students' perceptions of work with older adults, but may not be enough to draw students to the field. Implications for undergraduate education are discussed.

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