How my nursing DEU experience prepared me for what’s next

Dedicated education units are a special opportunity the College of Nursing provides us as students

By: Theresa Ferdiny, Bachelor of Science in Nursing '23; Nursing Student Ambassador

Theresa Ferdiny

For my first semester of clinicals during my sophomore year in Spring of 2021, I was fortunate enough to be enrolled in the Dedicated Education Unit (DEU). The experience of working one-on-one with a nurse is such a special opportunity the UC College of Nursing provides to us nursing students as a way to truly experience the 12-hour shifts, patient care and much more of a nurse. I had a lot of flexibility in my schedule and was able to plan when I wanted to have my clinical throughout the semester. I got to watch a lot of different skills we were learning and learn how to pass medications that we were currently learning about — it was really amazing to understand the process and the skills needed to pass medicines.

I will never forget this experience full of worth, genuine connections and lots of learning.

Theresa Ferdiny

Throughout the clinical experience of spring semester, I felt I was learning skills that I would use in the upcoming semesters of nursing school and, at the same time, learning the skills that I would use as a future nurse as well! I also gained a lot of experience in patient-to-nurse communication and how to approach different situations and genuinely talk to people. Throughout the nursing program, you learn quickly you not only need to advocate and care for your patient physically, but additionally, you must care and advocate for them emotionally.

I frequently felt that I was making a difference in my patients' lives and made it a point to learn about them not only as a patient, but also as an individual and keep them company during their hospital stay while visitors were restricted due to COVID-19. My patients have taught me that being strong is a lot more than just some mindset and it takes a support system to get through your struggles. Getting to work with patients and be a special person in their lives during this vulnerable time period felt like an honor. I will never forget this experience full of worth, genuine connections and lots of learning as part of the Dedicated Education Unit students.