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Priceless Experience: The DEU Difference

From left to right: Chelsea Waltz (nurse at CUMC - Bergan Mercy on 6East), Sabrina Austin (ANC graduate Fall 2018), and Trisha Beiermann (assistant professor, Creighton University College of Nursing).

The tremendous multitasking is what struck Kara Harvey, BSN, RN, during her DEU experience.

“There’s no other way to experience it,” Harvey said. “I don’t think you really know what nurses really do until you go through it.”

The DEU or Dedicated Education Unit experience is a collaborative partnership involving intentional faculty presence, engagement and frequent communication with the staff nurse instructor (SNIs) and students.

It's different from a typical clinical because nursing students spend a full day, a full week - even five weeks - with the same SNI.

Consistency is what Harve appreciated most. “I had the same SNI every day and it was amazing,” she said. Depth of learning is another benefit of this approach.

“Instead of passing medications with your instructor, I love that you are with an SNI and you get to know her thought processes – the critical thinking behind it,” she said.

Chelsea Waltz, DNP-RN, agreed. Now a supervisor on the oncology floor at CHI Health Creighton University Medical Center - Bergan Mercy, she participated as a DEU instructor at CUMC. She’s been a nurse for nearly five years and became an SNI two years ago.

“The instructors get to know your strengths and weaknesses as you progress. They get to see your growth from week to week,” she said.

Each day builds on the previous day’s experience. Students also get a feel for the rhythm of the shift and the camaraderie of the staff.

“They get to interact with experienced nurses. They get to experience the culture of the unit,” said Waltz.

Harvey enjoyed her experience so much, she now works on the same floor where she completed her DEU – and she’s also now an SNI.

“I was on the Med/Surg/Oncology floor at CUMC - Bergan Mercy and that is the floor I’m on as a nurse. That’s why I applied. I knew the floor. I knew the wonderful staff.”

Nursing Accomplishment Highlights

Nursing Strategy

Identified and created a 2-year nursing strategic plan with measurable goals for direction and future focus.

Shared Governance

Planned and executed structures and processes for a well-designed system of shared governance and held inaugural meeting.

Team Nursing Model

Implemented team approach to nursing to increase positive patient experience and safety.

Nursing Scorecard

Created first nursing dashboard for the division to include nurse-sensitive metrics.