DEU Philosophy

The DEU is a model of clinical teaching and learning which expands upon the traditional concept of one-on-one preceptorship.  It is a team preceptorship model that sees all staff within a clinical practice area (including MDT) offer support and learning opportunities to our undergraduate nursing students. Collaboration with our academic providers allows DEU areas to provide a more supportive clinical learning and teaching environment for students, encouraging incidental and intentional learning as well as peer teaching.


The following principles underpin the partnership between our Academic providers and a DEU practice area.


Dedicated Education Unit  Principles

Shared responsibility and commitment to creating a learning partnership between education and practice.
Cooperation in an open and cooperative manner, share information, with meaningful consultation, networking, collaboration and support as the basis for the partnership.
Acknowledgment that each partner has different structures of accountably and each partner has the right as a separate entity to express their views independently.
Acknowledgment partnership relies on common vision and commitment from partners at every level to achieve the collective aims. In doing so, partners recognise decisions made within one organisation, indirectly affect the other, and neither can accomplish the combined purpose alone.
Management processes exist to monitor quality and report regularly to all partners regarding the outcomes of the partnerships.
Partners will demonstrate their commitment to each other and their mutual vision by adequately resourcing the partnership.

Brown, D., Clare, J., Edwards, H., & van Loon, A., 2003

Key Features of the Canterbury DEU Model

Practice area is dedicated to supporting undergraduate nursing students on clinical placement. 
Students placed in a DEU will be supported by three key roles, the Clinical Liaison Nurse (CLN), an Academic Liaison Nurse (ALN) and staff from the clinical area.
The CLN is a regular staff member of the practice area who has an interest in promoting and facilitating clinical learning for nursing students.
The ALN is a tenured staff member of Ara, UO or UC dedicated to a DEU practice area.
All staff working within the DEU practice area support teaching and learning opportunities for nursing students e.g. Registered nurses, Enrolled Nurses, Nurse Assistants, pool nurses, allied professionals and the medical team.
DEU staff are flexible and responsive to student learning.
Education and practice organisations support, value and recognise the contribution that staff make to student learning.
Students commence clinical placement with a structured orientation.
Allocation of patient load should be commensurate with student's skill and ability.
Patient/client allocation for CLN is taken into account by the Charge Nurse Manager, NIC.
CLN is the consistent person from DEU practice area who undertakes student clinical assessment and is a support for students and staff.
Quality of patient/client care is paramount.
Peer teaching and learning is encouraged and valued.
Commitment to evidence-based practice, undertaking collaborative research, research utilisation and quality improvement.
Staff committed to on-going professional development.
Teaching and learning are valued.
Relationships are open and feedback encouraged.
Acknowledgement that 'repetition' is essential for skills acquisition.
Learning occurs through direction and delegation.



Brown, D., Clare, J., Edwards, H., van Loon, A. (2003). AUTC Phase Two Final Report. Evaluation Clinical Learning Environments: Creating Education-Practice Partnerships and Clinical Education Benchmarks for Nursing. Adelaide, Australia: Finders University.

Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology. (2015). Bachelor of Nursing: Student Handbook. Christchurch, New Zealand: Author.


Edgecombe, K & Bowden, M (eds). (2014) Clinical Learning and Teaching Innovations in Nursing: Dedicated Education Units Building a Better Future. Adelaide, Australia, Flinders University

Kegan, R. (1994). In over our heads: The mental demands of modern life. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

School of Nursing and Midwifery. (2006). A guide to clinical practice. Adelaide, Australia: Flinders University.


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Page last reviewed: 18 June 2024