Dedicated Education Unit

Innovations in Clinical Education: The Dedicated Education Unit

The UNMC College of Nursing has implemented an innovative Dedicated Education Unit (DEU) clinical model for both traditional and accelerated BSN students. In the DEU model, students provide patient care alongside an experienced staff nurse who has been oriented to the role of the Clinical Staff Instructor (CSI).

In the traditional clinical education model, one clinical faculty supervises 8-10 students. Students work with a variety of staff nurses and may work with a particular nurse only once leading to increased student anxiety that may interfere with learning. In addition, there is limited opportunity to build trust between the students and the staff nurse. This traditional model is depicted in the diagram below.

The diagram below depicts the DEU model. In the DEU clinical model, one faculty mentor oversees 10-12 nursing students, but each pair of students work at the bedside with one CSI, who is a nurse on the unit. The students work with the same CSI every clinical day. College of Nursing faculty function as a mentor for the staff nurse in this new role of clinical staff instructor. Final evaluation of student performance is completed jointly between the CSI and the faculty mentor.

The advantages to this model are:

Although the HRSA grant that supported the development of this model at UNMC has come to a close, the DEU clinical education model remains in place so that nursing students and CSIs continue to reap the benefits of this innovative program. Reflection on this clinical model from students, faculty, CSIs and hospital administrators are on the right. Their comments operationalize the benefits of the DEU model.

[1] Edgecombe, 1999

[2] Edgecombe, 1999

[3] Boogaerts, 2005

[4] Ranse, 2007