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Letter to the Editor – Dedicated education units: An innovative model for clinical education

May 27, 2015

Lillee Smith Gelinas, Editor-in-Chief
Cynthia Saver, HealthCom Media
American Nurse Today

Dear nursing colleagues,

This feedback I offer about the article entitled ‘Dedicated education units: An innovative model for clinical education’ (Volume 10, No. 5, pp. 46-49) seemed longer than intended for your online feedback site myamericannurse.com. Therefore, thank you for allowing me to provide information to both editorial leadership and email queries in this one letter.

Dedicated education unit (DEU) clinical teaching model warrants inclusion in your journal. As a disruptive innovative, it has changed our thinking on best practice in clinical teaching and learning and redefined academic-service partnerships. DEUs have altered the very landscape of clinical teaching and learning in the United States (US) for at least ten years.

The University of Portland School of Nursing in Portland, Oregon, has been the original and persistent translator of this Australian model into the US nursing education and service environments for those ten years. Together with our clinical partners in a Veterans Administration medical center, a private hospital system, long term care agency, and community-based organization, we have continued to sustain and further develop the potential of this model. We have hosted three international conferences and present at every opportunity to disseminate information. We continue to provide individual consultations frequently to inquiring partnerships, and have from the beginning made all our information available free on the school’s website (www.nursing.up.edu).

Among the resources on our website is an extensive DEU bibliography, including what most consider the seminal DEU article by Moscato, Miller, Logsdon, Weinberg, and Chorpenning in Nursing Outlook (2007). We published our expansion into school nursing in Braband and Vines in Communicating Nursing Research (2012) and long term care by O’Lynn in Geriatric Nursing (2013). Warner and Burton published a model that reconceptualized academic-service partnerships related to educating our nursing workforce in the Journal of Professional Nursing (2009). Two excellent articles by Nishioka, Coe, Hanita and Moscato in Nursing Education Perspectives (2014) report evaluation findings from the Robert Wood Johnson funded Evaluating Innovations in Nursing Education project. And there is more.

Why do I write? I understand the limit of five references in your peer-reviewed articles. In no way do I expect the Hunt, Milani and Wilson article to provide a comprehensive review. However, I worry that your peer reviewers or readers lack a context for this innovation, or that they would find the New Rochelle, New York experience as more novel than history might indicate.

Furthermore, why do I write? My motive is to provide a deeper historical context for a model that will continue to transform how we practice and teach. If you need peer reviewers for future DEU articles, the University of Portland School of Nursing stands ready to assist you. Thank you.


Joanne R. Warner, PhD, RN
Dean and Professor

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