A Dedicated Education Unit is one floor or unit of a health facility devoted entirely to nursing students from a single nursing program and staffed by a consistent group of nurses who are provided professional development as educators.
Benefits of DEUs:
- Development of stronger bonds between staff nurse mentors and students.
- Consistent interaction between them allows a staff nurse to gauge a student’s strengths and weaknesses, have immediate confidence in a student’s ability, and easily assess the daily progress of each student.
- Staff nurses, hospitals, and (importantly) patients, gain from DEU arrangements with UConn. Strengthening instructors and, in turn, sparking a motivation in some to head back to school to build their own knowledge and clinical practices.
- Each hospital also develops a substantial relationship with students, giving UConn nurses an important edge when applying for new jobs with those hospitals after graduation.
- Quality of care a patient receives gets a significant boost in a DEU as nursing students work with the same regular patients, building understanding, compassion, and sympathy within each nurse.
UConn DEU Locations
Middlesex Hospital, Hartford Hospital, Hospital of Central Connecticut and UConn Health
From Instructor to Facilitator
The institution of DEUs also marks a shift in the role of UConn’s clinical faculty: their purpose has begun to move from “instructor” to “facilitator”. They are able to focus student learning and draw upon overarching educational themes that students experience from visits with the same nurse, to the same floor, of the same hospital. The change is, of course, exciting, as it empowers students to reflect on their actual experiences and ask questions they need to know, instead of just acting as a receptor to a constant stream of information.
DEUs also open up important research opportunities for the School and for the participating hospitals. They provide a setting rife with opportunities to measure and understand student learning and teaching methods; the kind of pioneering research that is not only beneficial to our school and to our students but will leave UConn’s mark upon the entire world of nursing education. UConn’s School of Nursing once again finds itself at the forefront of education possibilities and opportunities.