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academic partnership, dedicated education unit, integrated care clinical practicum, prelicensure nursing education



  1. Walsh, Lisa Marie MSN, APRN, CARN, FNP-BC, PMHNP-BC, CARN-AP
  2. Goodson, Mallory MSN, RN, CNML, NE-BC
  3. Pfeiffer, Katherine MS, APRN, PMHCNS-BC, PMHNP-BC
  4. Higgins, Melinda PhD
  5. Robertson, Bethany DNP, CNM


Background: Traditional mental health clinical experiences expose students to an environment that may not prepare them to address mental health needs in hospital settings.


Purpose: The purpose is of this project was to evaluate the implementation of an integrated mental health and acute care clinical model on a dedicated education unit (DEU).


Methods: In this pilot project, students provided dually focused medical and mental health care on assigned patients. A preclass and postclass survey measured their perceptions of mental health competency.


Results: There were no statistically significant differences between the 2 groups (integrated model on the DEU compared with a traditional experience on an acute care and inpatient behavioral health unit). All groups reported increased mental health competency.


Conclusions: Both groups showed similar improvements from the preclass to the postclass survey on perceived competence, suggesting that an integrated acute care and mental health clinical practicum may be equivalent to the traditional model.