Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Committee Member

Tish Smyer

Second Committee Member

Lori Candela

Third Committee Member

Michele Clark

Fourth Committee Member

LeAnn Putney

Number of Pages



In 2011, 58,327 qualified applicants were denied admission to U.S. baccalaureate programs due to an inadequate number of qualified faculty, insufficient clinical placement sites, and resource constraints. Nursing faculty leaders are being challenged to increase enrollment to address a projected worsening nursing shortage and to transform prelicensure nursing education to ensure that program graduates have the nursing skills and competencies to meet the health care needs of the population.

Collaborative educational partnerships offer promising strategies to diminish the nursing faculty shortage, educate more students, and provide stable, rich learning environments. The Dedicated Education Unit (DEU) model is one of these newly developed educational partnerships between a university and a hospital. As part of this model, baccalaureate nursing students are immersed in real-life experiences under the direct supervision of staff nurses who have been trained to be clinical instructors. The university faculty mentor the staff nurse instructors. The faculty role in a DEU differs from their role in the traditional faculty-supervised clinical model; therefore, it is anticipated that faculty may experience a shift in thinking and a period of adaptation to this new clinical model and learning environment. Studies of transition experiences in nursing education have revealed that a period of adjustment can be expected for faculty who are either new to teaching or new to a different learning platform. The meanings of the experiences of faculty who teach in the DEU model have not previously been studied.

The purpose of this study was to describe, interpret, and offer insight into the meanings of the lived experiences of nursing faculty in DEUs across several prelicensure baccalaureate programs. The phenomenological approach of Max van Manen guided the inquiry, and Colaizzi's seven-step method was used to systematically analyze and interpret the meanings of the hermeneutic faculty interviews. The research question that guided the study was: What is the meaning and significance of the lived experience of being a faculty member on a Dedicated Education Unit used for prelicensure baccalaureate nursing education?

Eight nursing faculty members from seven schools of nursing participated in the study. The findings gleaned from the interview data analysis led to the development of a model depicting the fundamental structures of the overall essence of "The DEU as a New Synergy of Learning: Becoming a Guardian" which includes the three major themes and a total of nine subthemes. The information gathered in this study will be useful for faculty members who are preparing to engage in teaching on a DEU and for nursing education leaders who will be supporting faculty development.


Baccalaureate nursing program; Bachelor of arts degree; Clinical education models; Clinical partnerships; Faculty presence; Faculty relationships; Nursing – Study and teaching (Higher); Nursing schools – Faculty; Trust


Education | Nursing

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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