Nursing students looking for firsthand experience in the nursing field were paired up with clinical nurses in the new Dedicated Education Unit, or DEU, a collaboration between the MSU’s College of Nursing and Lansing’s Sparrow Hospital.
DEU is a pilot program in which nursing students are assigned to a clinical mentor to shadow weekly as part of a clinical requirement for a nursing course. Students work a 12-hour shift once a week with the same mentor.
Martha Scheckel, director of undergraduate programs in the College of Nursing, said this model is different from the traditional model in which one faculty member teaches multiple students.
“The experience is one where it’s more than just observing — they actually are hands-on with the nurse, hands-on practice (and) engaged in providing patient care,” Scheckel said.
Nursing junior Holly Steward said she has learned a lot from her clinical mentor, Kelly Smith, a registered nurse at Sparrow Hospital.
“You really get to know your clinical mentor,” Steward said. “Rather than traveling every week, you feel like you are building on (your) nursing skills.”
Steward said before the program, she wasn’t sure what a nurse’s responsibilities entailed.
“I’ve learned a lot about critical thinking and applying the knowledge to the patients,” she said. “It’s a lot different from reading about it in a textbook.”
MSU clinical faculty member Peggy Campbell, who is working with the DEU students this semester, said this is the first time the class is being taught this way.
“It is what I expected it to be — (a) wonderful teaching model,” Campbell said.
Smith said when she was asked to participant in the program, she was glad to offer her help — direct help she wished she had as medical student years ago.
“When I was in nursing school, I would have loved to have a DEU program,” Smith said. “I remember what it was like having one teacher and seven students.”
Scheckel said so far, the student response to the collaboration has been positive.
“The students are very receptive to this new model of clinical education the clinical mentors are very engaged in (teaching),” Scheckel said.