ASU and Phoenix Children’s Hospital team up to provide pediatric nursing opportunities to students

Phoenix Children’s Hospital and Arizona State University Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation have partnered to develop pre-licensure and graduate-level programs that enhance the preparation of pediatric nurses.

To accomplish the mission of enhancing education and research efforts while training the next generation of pediatric clinical talent, Edson College and Phoenix Children’s created a Dedicated Education Unit (DEU) for pre-licensure nursing students.

“A DEU like the one at Phoenix Children’s is one of the first of its kind in pediatrics, and this program helps develop ‘workforce ready’ nurses who are confident in their ability to work with young patients,” Phoenix Children’s Chief Nursing Officer Julie Bowman said.  

The new DEU program includes a pediatric elective with course credits for pre-licensure nursing students interested in pediatric care. Through the program, students will have a total of 72 focused hours of time at the patient’s bedside.

In many cases, the way we treat our clinical partners is going to them and saying ‘I need to put ten students on this unit on these days’ and it’s like treating them like real estate,” Judy Karshmer, dean of Edson College, said. “What we’ve done with [Phoenix Children’s], we’ve said ‘what are your priorities? How can we be responsive? And how can we then use that as a high-quality experience to prepare the next generation of nurses?’”

According to Phoenix Children’s and Edson College, this program is a first of its kind because in most nursing curricula the time spent with pediatric patients is minimal. Through the DEU program, students are paired with PCH nurse preceptors who they will shadow for six full nursing shifts, but according to Karshmer, it’s more than just shadowing.

Often when students go to a clinical study, their focus is entirely on the patient, understanding the patient’s problem, understanding whatever is the diagnosis, what’s the treatment regimen,” she said. “In this model, a huge focus is also on the nurse and her or his decision making… It’s actually learning how a nurse thinks and that’s such a gift for the students.”

The program is as an opportunity to gain a level of competence that is much greater because of its contact hours and allowing the students to become comfortable with their knowledge.

“Our primary goal is to develop high quality, nationally renowned pediatric nursing programs that offer students increased time at the pediatric patient bedside,” said Bowman.

The two entities also collaborated on the development of the Acute Care Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) and Certificate Program Curriculum for graduate-level nursing students, which has some of the newest and highly focused programs in a United States graduate-level nursing program.

“My hope is that this is a model for pediatric nursing education… and improving the relationship between academic nursing and the practice setting,” Karshmer said.

Emily Richardson

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