Dedicated Education Units

Dedicated Education Units (DEU) enhance future nurses’ experience. Read more about ABS program alumnus Noah Bourne's DEU experience in UBNow.

UB School of Nursing has Dedicated Education Units (DEU) in numerous settings to provide a synergistic environment to best educate the next generation of nurses. We partner with numerous community health care organizations to provide the best clinical experiences for our students.

More About Dedicated Education Units

Based on innovative models originally designed at Flinders University in Australia and adapted by the University of Portland, the DEU model for clinical teaching is a partnership between health care administrators, nurse clinicians and faculty to create an optimal and efficient learning environment for students.

In the DEU, staff nurses provide instruction for students. The university faculty's role is to work with the staff nurses to support their clinical teaching, facilitate transfer of classroom learning and assure the students’ achievement of expected learning outcomes. A central concept is the belief that the staff nurses’ educational role is vital to the development of students’ professional skills and knowledge.

Built on mutual respect, open communication and collaborative relationships, the DEU is unique in that it is a partnered commitment to student learning.

The DEU concept utilizes staff nurses as clinical “teachers” to educate nursing students. In the DEU model, the students and the staff nurse share the same assignment. Having a staff nurse share her assignment with two students offers great opportunities for both teaching and learning to occur. It is also an opportunity for nursing staff to stay current on trends in nursing education and research and to be motivated in their roles as mentors and role models; it is also a way for faculty to remain grounded in current clinical reality.

Benefits of Dedicated Education Units

Student Benefits

  • High quality learning environment1,3
  • Mentoring and individualized learning1,3
  • Skills to transition to independent practice1,3

Clinical/Practice Partner Benefits

  • Promotes growth of professional nurses in role as educator
  • Strengthens staff morale and confidence
  • Promotes evidence-based practice: “Nurses benefit from teaching which keeps them updated on the changes in health protocols”2
  • Potential impact on outcomes through unit-based evidence-based practice projects
  • Nurse recruitment & retention
  • Improved new graduate transitions4
  • Potential future measures4
    • Patient Satisfaction
    • Use of evidence-based practice at point of care
    • Measuring of quality indicators (falls, etc.)


1. Crawford, R., Jasonsmith, A., Luechars, D., Naidu, A., Pool, L., Toswill… Woodsworth, A. (2018). “Feeling part of a team” a mixed method evaluation of a dedicated education unit pilot programme. Nurse Education Today, 68, 165-171.

2. Koharchik, L., Jakub, K., Witsberger, C., Brooks, K., Petras, D., Weideman, Y., & Antonich, M. G. (2017). Staff nurses’ perception of their role in a dedicated education unit within the intensive care unit. Teaching and Learning in Nursing, 12, 17-20.

3. Nishioka, V. M., Coe, M. T., Hanita, M., & Moscato, S. R. (2014). Dedicated education unit: Student perspectives. Nursing Education Perspectives, 35(5), 301-307.

4. Parker, K. M., & Smith, C. M. (2012). Assessment and planning for a dedicated education unit. Journal for Nurses in Staff Development, 28(3), E1-6.

Implementation of the DEU Model (Videos)

Origin of DEU and DEU Models

Developing Academic-Clinical Partnerships

Nuts and Bolts of Growing and Sustaining DEU Partnerships

Creating DEU Orientations for Clinical Partners and Academic Faculty

Panel Discussion and Q & A