UMass Boston



What are DEUs?

Dedicated Education Units (DEUs) help our student nurses gain real-world, hands-on experience with patients and staff nurses. Our students work with nurses who serve as clinical instructors while providing patient care. Currently, four hospitals work with us in academic-service partnerships to provide UMass Boston students two semesters of DEU clinical experiences.

How is a DEU experience different from clinical rotations?

Clinical rotations require a faculty member to instruct a group of six to eight students for the clinical rotation, in the hospital setting. In a DEU, the role of the clinical instructor is met by a staff nurse, who works directly with one to two student nurses for a full semester. Faculty members provide guidance to a group of staff nurses and oversee the student learning experience.

Which hospitals can I work in as a student?

The CNHS has DEU partnerships with Massachusetts General Hospital (since 2008), Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Charlestown, South Shore Hospital, and Veterans Administration Hospital in Bedford.

What are the benefits of a DEU?

There are many benefits: to students, to hospitals, to faculty, and even to patients! Students appreciate the real-world environment of working intimately on nursing units. They have nearly constant access to their staff nurse instructor to pose questions and receive helpful feedback on their nursing knowledge and skill development.

Staff nurses get extra help in caring for their patients, new perspectives in improving nursing care, and the satisfaction of educating the next generation of health care providers. Our faculty work closely with the nursing unit to improve patient care and nursing education.

Student Perspective

“This amazing opportunity has allowed me to grow as a student nurse in the hospital that I can only dream of working someday. My critical thinking skills were sharpened and my performance on exams was strengthened by this experience. I have developed more confidence in my abilities for upcoming clinical rotations.” - Anonymous DEU student

Faculty Perspective

“We’re very proud of the work we initiated through Project PDQ (Partnering for DEU Development and Quality) over ten years ago with our clinical partners at MGH, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Good Samaritan. This prestigious Robert Wood Johnson Foundation grant has allowed us to conduct a rigorous, independent evaluation research study and catapulted UMass Boston’s nursing program into the national spotlight as a respected leader in clinical education innovation and led to important scholarly collaborations and many national and international presentations, publications and new academic-practice partnerships. We are very proud of our current partners who are helping to sustain this important clinical education innovation work by providing our students excellent preparation in teamwork, collaboration, evidence-based practice, and clinical judgment competency development.” - JoAnn Mulready-Shick, EdD, RN, CNE, ANEF, Clinical Professor