Nursing program continues to improve with DEU

Ariana Beedie

The Dedicated Education Unit (DEU) teaches nursing majors how to adequately care for patients in a hospital setting. St. Mary’s nursing staff collaborates with nursing students to carefully prepare them for a job the nursing field.

A DEU is an area of the hospital dedicated to only one school of nursing, said Susan Siebert, nursing instructor and DEU liaison.

“On a DEU, only one school of nursing gets that unit,” Siebert said. “The beauty of it is the nurses can better know what level the student is on.”

St. Mary’s nurses, otherwise known as Clinical Teaching Partners (CTPs), teach two students at a time over the course of a semester. The students work with the same CTPs to develop a relationship for better completion of the required 60 clinical hours.

“It’s a different model of clinical education,” Siebert said. “The nurses take over the teaching role and the faculty is a resource for the CTPs.”

The required hours involve two days per week, eight hours per day.

“This semester is the pilot program,” Siebert said. “For right now, we have second-semester juniors, but next semester we will allow first-semester juniors in the program.”

The original DEU was created in Australia in the early 2000s. The University of Portland took the idea and became the United States version of what a DEU is supposed to be.

“Our DEU here at USI was set up and formatted to Portland’s,” Siebert said.

The DEU is a more improved way of immersive learning for nursing students.

“I found with the old model that if you weren’t doing great, you really didn’t get a lot of attention from the clinical instructor,” nursing major Meagan Cobb said.

A main focus of having a DEU is to improve the relationship between students and CTPs.

“Me and another student were paired one-on-one with a nurse on this unit who wanted to teach, had a lot of experience and was a good nurse,” Cobb said. “So we worked her schedule and followed her, which seems like a lot with class on top of it, but it really is what they do in the real world.”

Cobb said she loved the experience because she became very comfortable with the nurse she was working with and also learned a lot.

“I feel like the DEU gave us more attention and time to ask questions,” junior nursing major Ashley Marshall said. “I think the structure of the USI nursing program is constantly improving.”