Celebrating a new way of training nurses
7 September 2012
Hospitals are busy places and when you are a nursing student doing your clinical experience you can simply feel in the way.
Manukau Institute of Technology Bachelor of Nursing graduate Anj Taylor says she felt like a wallflower at times during her student days.
“At handover it was like ‘who wants the student?’ It wasn’t negativity. You could see the nurses were exhausted and they felt the student wasn’t going to facilitate making their job easier. They felt like being with a student was a chore.”
Luckily for Anj she became one of the first MIT students to do her clinical experience in a Dedicated Education Unit (DEU) at Middlemore Hospital.
In a DEU students work shifts alongside registered nurses, but the environment and staff are dedicated to teaching and learning. The student is not an add-on, but an integral part of patient care.
In 2009 MIT and Counties Manukau District Health Board worked together to trial two pilot DEUs in wards six and 24 of Middlemore Hospital.
It has been a successful pilot. There are now nine DEUs within CMDHB, consisting of seven inpatient wards, two in mental health and one recently set up for aged care at Howick Baptist Hospital.
This week [Sep 5] a celebration was held at Middlemore Hospital, with past and current students, hospital and MIT staff attending to mark the success of the DEU model, which has become embedded in clinical education.
Anj, who is now a registered nurse and helps teach students within a DEU, says she can’t imagine working in a different environment.
“I think the Dedicated Education Unit really breaks down barriers. It’s a fantastic philosophy and way of going forward. There is no way of failing. You’ve got all these people there to help you.”
The staff and students within a DEU are supported by a Clinical Liaison Nurse (appointed by the hospital) and an Academic Liaison Nurse (appointed by MIT).
Clinical Nurse Liaison Rhonda Thorn says there is no doubt the DEU environment is best for students.
“We didn’t have DEUs when I came through MIT. I didn’t have a bad experience, but I knew there were some things missing. Now I’m able to help the students move through their study with confidence.”
Rhonda says a focus is to introduce students to other disciplines within the hospital, including pharmacy, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy and social work.
This prepares students for the collaborative skills they need to give patients the very best care.
One of the most eye-opening experiences for students is spending time with the hospital’s bed managers, Rhonda says. This helps them understand exactly what a patient goes through before they are admitted to a ward.
MIT Dean of Nursing and Health Studies Willem Fourie says MIT and CMDHB have presented to the Nursing Council about the success of the DEUs and have also published a how-to guide for other DHBs and tertiary institutions.
The project has received support and funding from Ako Aotearoa, the National Centre for Tertiary Teaching Excellence. Director Peter Coolbear says it has been highly successful and the model could be used by other vocational training disciplines.
Contact: Andrea Svendsen
Phone: 09 968 8755