The rationale for this presentation is to describe the increased student engagement in a newly formed Dedicated Education Unit (DEU) through the access to information technology. It has been widely discussed at a regional level that lack of access during the undergraduate years to technology was seen as a barrier to fully immersing the student in the clinical environment and the ability to “walk in the shoes” of the registered nurse.
The Dedicated Education Unit concept was planned to be implemented at Capital and Coast District Health board (CCDHB) in July 2016 to coincide with the pre-registration nine week clinical placement for students from Massey University and Whitireia New Zealand. A cohort of 26 students was the ideal pilot group to test the feasibility of providing students with the same computer access as registered nurses.
It was time to walk the talk and trust the professionalism of our future colleagues with this additional responsibly and to demystify the computer applications in a District Health Board.
The students embraced the responsibility with great enthusiasm fully engaging with the technology, and willingly providing feedback via survey monkey on their experiences and verbally through focus groups – “I felt like a nurse” aptly sums up the responses.
Students used the access wisely to take on-line e-learning programmes, communicate with their clinical liaison nurse and review patient diagnostic results to enhance their placement and course requirements.
If you are considering how to provide additional opportunities to enable the transition from student to graduate nurse role, then access to health technology is another piece of the puzzle. There should be no surprises for your graduate nurses as they enter our workforce
Key words: Student engagement; research, technology; dedicated education unit.