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Dedicated Education Units benefit College of New Rochelle students

Monday July 1, 2013
CNR students who participated in the Montefiore Medical Center, Einstein/Weiler campus DEU program on 10 South are, back row from left, Afua Gyamfi, Nana Ogyri and Stephanie Pelosi, joined by assistant professor of nursing/clinical coordinator Deborah Hunt, RN, and Juan Hernandez, student. Front row, from left, are Elaine Llanos, RN, CNR graduate student; and students Amanda Defrancesco and Lisa Hernandez.
CNR students who participated in the Montefiore Medical Center, Einstein/Weiler campus DEU program on 10 South are, back row from left, Afua Gyamfi, Nana Ogyri and Stephanie Pelosi, joined by assistant professor of nursing/clinical coordinator Deborah Hunt, RN, and Juan Hernandez, student. Front row, from left, are Elaine Llanos, RN, CNR graduate student; and students Amanda Defrancesco and Lisa Hernandez.
(Photos courtesy of Elaine Llanos, RN)
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Standing from left at Montefiore Medical Center, Einstein/Weiler campus, 10 South, are Barbara Leader, RN, clinical nurse preceptor; Nana Ogyri, CNR student; Vanessa Davis, RN, clinical nurse preceptor; Afua Gyamfi and Stephanie Pelosi, students; Maria Castaldo, RN, clinical nurse preceptor; Juan Hernandez, student; Anne Farrington, RN, clinical nurse preceptor; and Judy Nebel, RN, nurse manager. At front, from left, are students Amanda Defrancesco and Lisa Hernandez.
(Photo courtesy of Elaine Llanos, RN)
NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. — As part of the undergraduate nursing program, the faculty at The College of New Rochelle has developed clinical experiences for junior and senior students on Dedicated Education Units at Westchester Medical Center, Valhalla, N.Y., and Montefiore Medical Centerís Einstein/Weiler campus, Bronx.

Piloted in 2011 at Westchester and expanded to Montefiore in 2012, six groups of students have completed clinical experiences at the two facilitiesí DEUs as part of the med/surg third- and fourth-year courses.

"The facility preceptors and students develop a special working relationship, and in that relationship, preceptors offer clinical guidance and leadership, while students become immersed in the nursing practice role and continue to develop clinical, assessment, critical thinking and organizational skills, and blossom in their professional development," said Deborah Hunt, RN, PhD, assistant professor of nursing at CNR.

While in the DEU program, Juan C. Hernandez said he witnessed the dedication of nurses on the unit, enhanced his clinical skills and became more confident and empowered in the process.

"I saw team collaboration in action when I attended interdiscipinary meetings with my preceptor, and I also saw how this collaboration enhanced patient care," said Hernandez, who graduated this spring.

The program has served as a recruitment opportunity, and several CNR students have been interviewed for possible employment as a result of the DEU experience, according to Hunt.

Always present on the unit, CNR faculty help direct and support studentsí learning experiences by conducting pre- and post-conferences; facilitating studentsí off-unit experiences, such as ones to the OR, ED and CCU; maintaining ongoing collaboration with clinical nurse preceptors and nurse managers; grading clinical assignments; and completing formal evaluations with input from clinical preceptors.

"Our faculty is also working with staff on evidence-based projects and providing educational offerings to unit RNs, so weíve developed fuller relationships with one another," said Mary Alice Donius, RN, EdD, dean and associate professor at CNR.

Preceptors who volunteer for the role and are selected by their managers must complete the hospital-based preceptor program. They attend the CNR orientation, where they learn about the school, course objectives and the preceptor and student roles.

"The nurse preceptors were proud to be part of the studentsí professional development, and they developed their own knowledge and skills as well," said Judy Nebel, RN, MA, NE-BC, administrative nurse manager, med/surg, Montefiore, who set up a dual preceptor arrangement so students successfully worked with two preceptors over the semester.

Carriann Grexa-Allen, RN, DNP, CIC, nurse manager, surgical-trauma unit, Westchester, said nurses on the unit sought out the students to provide additional worthwhile clinical experiences and developed strong, close working relationships by nature of the extended time they spent together.

At Westchester, CNR clinical instructors Mary F. Milani, RN, CAGS, MS, FNP, and Susan Wilson, RN, MSN, ANP, implemented and also teach in the DEU program.

Before developing DEUs at the two facilities, Donius visited two nursing programs in Buffalo. It was there that she learned the importance of developing buy-in from nursing administration, management and staff.

"It is critical for sustaining the DEU program that we have everyoneís support, and weíve been able to accomplish this goal," Donius said.

CNR faculty plans to expand the DEUs to other local facilities.

Janice Petrella Lynch, RN, MSN, is a regional nurse executive.


To comment, email editorNJ@nurse.com.
What students say

Sharleen Taylor
Senior nursing student, who will graduate this summer

The DEU prepared me for the real world of nursing, which includes prioritizing, leading, managing and advocating for the patient. The DEU experience not only increased my confidence, but it prepared me to value teamwork and critical thinking in order to make important clinical decisions. The experience helped to reinforce the preceptorsí knowledge, and we were able to provide more help with patient care. For example, sometimes I was able to give added support to the patients by listening to their concerns and fears.

Juan C. Hernandez
Senior nursing student, who graduated this spring

During the interdisciplinary meetings, I witnessed how different healthcare professionals interacted with one another in communicating their goals in order to improve the patientís progress. I realized how team collaboration focuses on and enhances patient-centered care. The DEU program has been a valuable experience that I will take with me as I grow in the nursing profession and become a more caring, efficient and competent nurse.

Elisa Marie Hernandez
Senior nursing student, who graduated this spring

The nurses were open to allowing and wanting us to learn and be part of various experiences during our clinicals. My learning and growth was nurtured and facilitated as a direct result of the theory classes, outside reading, clinical experiences and wisdom from the expert nurse preceptors. I grew to become more confident in practicing basic nursing skills, and I became part of the interdisciplinary team, which I think helped to benefit the patients under my care as well as [the care of] the nurse preceptors.

Amanda DeFrancesco,
Senior nursing student, who graduated this spring

On one occasion I had a male patient who had psychiatric problems along with his medical issues. He was very agitated, and I spent most of my first time with him earning his trust. The next week when I arrived, he was being discharged, and he came up to me, gave me a hug and thanked me for spending time with him the week before. It was times like these that I was particularly pleased that I was in the DEU program. I liked having the one-on-one relationship with the nurse preceptor. And if I needed help, the nurse was always there to guide and support me.

Compiled by Janice Petrella Lynch, RN, MSN