Nursing and Dedicated Education Unit

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What Are Dedicated Educational Units In Nursing Education

Nursing and Dedicated Education Unit

What Is Dedicated Education Unit,Implementation of Dedicated Education Unit In Nursing,Impact of Dedicated Educational Unit on Nursing Education.

What Is Dedicated Education Unit

    The dedicated education unit (DEU) is a collaborative clinical learning environment for nursing students that takes advantage of an existing nursing setting by a specific school of nursing. A specific school utilizes the DEU during established hours or days. It involves a commitment by all stakeholders in the academic setting, the clinical setting. and the students. 

    The traditional roles of clinical faculty and staff nurses are revised on the DEU to allow for utilization of the unique expertise of both, specifically the clinical expertise of the staff nurse in the clinical setting and the educational expertise of the clinical faculty to promote clinical reasoning and reflection (Edgecombe, Wotton, Gonda , & Mason, 1999; Moscato , Miller, Logsdon, Weinberg, & Chorpenning , 2007) DEUS enhance student learning through the application of theory to clinical practice while under the supervision of both expert staff nurses and clinical faculty ( Ranse & Grealish , 2007). DEUs are built on mutual respect, open communication, and collaborative relationships, and represent a partnered commitment to student learning ( Moscato et al., 2007).

Implementation of Dedicated Education Unit In Nursing 

    The DEU was conceived and first implemented in Australia, and subsequently described in the literature (Edgecombe et al. 1999). The DEU has been the solution to a nursing shortage, a nurse faculty shortage, the dissatisfaction with clinical education on the part of students, as well as the solution to a discrepancy between employers' expectations of newly graduated nurses' skill sets and the new graduate nurses' actual readiness for practice (Edgecombe et al., 1999; Miller, 2005; Moscato et al., 2007; Pappas, 2007). 

    The DEU has been used primarily as a clinical setting for nursing students. Several settings have been utilized as DEU. An acute care setting was the location of the original Australian DEU, and acute care settings continue to be the primary locations for DEUS. DEUS also have been located in inpatient psychiatric units, skilled nursing facilities, and with school nurses in an educational service district. As DEUs are developed in new settings, the essential elements remain intact: The nurse or health care team in the setting is the expert in the type of care provided and the clinical faculty member is the expert educator.

    Schools of nursing anticipated that utilizing a DEU as a clinical setting would maximize the transfer of knowledge from the classroom, to the clinical setting, and back to the classroom (Edgecombe et al., 1999). Research conducted around the implementation of the DEU model has provided qualitative and quantitative data that suggest that transfer of knowledge does occur. Additional outcomes include the following: 

    Both students and nurse clinicians prefer the DEU placement to traditional clinical learning scenarios; nurse doctors report being challenged in their role, which results in improved practice; there is an overall sense of improved relationships, both between the academic and health care institutions, and between students and the nursing doctors; and students report a stronger sense of inclusion in the DEU ( Gonda , Wotton, Edgecombe, & Mason, 1999).

    The initial DEU settings also yielded some areas for improvement Students found that the time commitment of the DEU along with other course work allowed little time for reflection ( Gonda et al, 1999; Moscato , Kaakinen , Mitchell, Gatlin, & Miller, 2004). Nurse clinicians reported being challenged to adjust to the role of teacher and to learn the language of the evaluation tools ( Moscato et al, 2004). These challenges were eagerly met by the academics and the nurse clinicians, with solutions from both parties, as the overall positive experience by all resulted in a desire to continue with the DEU model.

Impact of Dedicated Educational Unit on Nursing Education

    The DEU is a collaborative learning model that uses existing clinical settings as an optimal learning environment for nursing students. The expertise of the academic faculty and nurse clinician is maximized in this model to allow for improved knowledge transfer for students from the classroom to the clinical setting. Nurse clinicians report a preference for the model as they have a stronger relationship with the student and the academic faculty, and they are more familiar with a specific school's goals and outcomes. 

    Students report a stronger sense of belonging to the unit, allowing them to learn the work of the nurse and grow in their role. The DEU utilizes existing clinical settings and established relationships with service partners to enhance nursing and student satisfaction in the education of nursing students.

    While the current literature indicates that the DEU is an innovative and collaborative way to address the pending nurse faculty shortage, additional research in this area is needed. Evidence in support of improved student learning remains mostly qualitative and anecdotal. Further research into the learning benefits of a DEU is recommended.

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