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RIC, R.I. Hospital launch new team teaching project for nursing students

Ron Pitt, RIC's VP of Academic Affairs (back row, left), and Jane Williams, RIC's Dean of Nursing (second row, left), are joined by Danise Davis, Rhode Island Hospital's clinical manager (back row, second from left), and Barbara Riley, Rhode Island Hospital's VP of Patient Care Services (back row, third  from left), Rhode Island Hospital's clinical nursing staff and RIC nursing students on Bridge 7.

Ron Pitt, RIC's VP of Academic Affairs (back row, left), and Jane Williams, RIC's Dean of Nursing (second row, left), are joined by Danise Davis, Rhode Island Hospital's clinical manager (back row, second from left), and Barbara Riley, Rhode Island Hospital's VP of Patient Care Services (back row, third from left), Rhode Island Hospital's clinical nursing staff and RIC nursing students on Bridge 7.
Starting in Fall 2010, the Bridge 7 unit of Rhode Island Hospital will become a working classroom for Rhode Island College senior nursing students enrolled in the Dedicated Education Unit (DEU) project that pairs nursing professors with professional nurses to teach clinical nursing courses.

A DEU is a designated unit of a hospital with a specific client base, such as general health problems, for faculty and nurses to cooperatively instruct students.

This is the first time a DEU has been established at any hospital or health care agency in the state.

Jane Williams, RIC’s Dean of the School of Nursing, said that the DEU was developed as a way to address the shortage of nursing faculty and practicing staff nurses.

“DEUs will allow nursing programs to increase the efficiency of nursing education,” said Williams. She added that Rhode Island Hospital nurses will be coached by RIC faculty to assume a greater teaching role with the students to provide them with the maximum in clinical experience.

Michele Siskind, RIC nursing professor (left), shows RIC nursing student Kelly Burke
how to prepare medication.
Rhode Island Hospital closed its nursing school in the mid-1970s and has since worked with nursing schools in the state to provide a venue for students to practice skills they learn in lectures or simulation labs.

“The DEU model fosters more opportunities for students to have more time to learn, have more hands-on technical practice, and have more interaction with other disciplines,” said Danise Davis, clinical manager at Rhode Island Hospital.

Currently, there are eight students to one faculty member for clinical groups. In the DEU, each student will be paired with a staff nurse on the unit.

RIC nursing faculty will hold workshops this summer to train the staff nurses for their teaching role. A RIC faculty member will remain on the unit to teach and evaluate the students and support the staff nurse mentors.

“On the DEU, nursing staff have in-depth understanding of the expectations and outcomes of the particular nursing program and are more involved in teaching, supporting and guiding the student,” Williams said.

Bridge 7 is one of three units in the new Bridge Building at Rhode Island Hospital that opened in November 2008. The building houses three inpatient units equipped with state-of-the-art technology. Bridge 7 has 38 beds for general medical patients.

Bridge 7 staff nurses have always been involved in mentoring student nurses, said Davis. She added that the DEU pilot project will allow Bridge 7 and Rhode Island College to standardize this practice.

“The students will have increased learning opportunities with increased patient interaction as well as enhancing their level of competence and confidence for their future nursing practice,” said Michele Siskind, RIC nursing professor.

A demonstration of the DEU will be held for media this summer.

The DEU project is facilitated by the Center to Champion Nursing in America, an initiative of AARP, the AARP Foundation and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Funding for the project was provided by the R.I. Governor’s Workforce Board.