Students in Thailand

Experiential Learning

As the institution that created cooperative education in 1906, the University of Cincinnati commands a rich history in experience-based learning.

At the core of the university's curriculum, these real-world experiences promote professional maturity and enhance career opportunities after graduation. At the College of Nursing, every student puts his or her classroom knowledge to the test in our simulation laboratory and in clinical settings. Additionally, we offer unique opportunities for hands-on, experiential learning through our undergraduate co-op program, Dedicated Education Units (DEUs) and international clinicals through our Global Programs.

The college's co-op program pairs Bachelor of Science in Nursing students with experienced preceptors to provide a one-to-one, paid mentorship opportunity in various units at UC Medical Center and Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. Students further develop the professional skills and knowledge needed to work independently as a registered nurse and gain a year of additional hands-on, professional work experience before they graduate.

Co-op students are paid to participate in a minimum of 600 total hours of preceptor-guided experiences in clinical placements where they develop skills, assess culture and fit, and learn how to navigate different hospital units. The development of competencies is assured by their clinical preceptors, who supervise each student’s performance of nursing tasks. Along with the real-world, hands-on experience gained in the program, students participate in various committees and projects at their respective placement hospitals, introducing them to other important roles nurses hold within health care systems.

Students experience working in areas such as general medical/surgical care units, intensive care units, post-anesthesia care units, operating rooms, cardiac catheterization labs, radiology, neonatal intensive care units, obstetrical units, and emergency departments. Many participating students are also given the opportunity to act as a charge nurse under the supervision of their preceptor and faculty director.

The co-op program does not extend the traditional four-year degree timeline. Students apply in December of their third year and serve in the program from June through graduation.

We leverage our strong partnerships with local health care organizations to offer our undergraduate students unique clinical experiences, called Dedicated Education Units (DEUs), where each student is paired one-on-one with a staff nurse throughout the semester, closely modelling how nurses practice in real-world settings.

Dedicated Education Units (DEUs) are an innovative way to clinically prepare nursing students that focus on peer-teaching, education collaboration and improved clinical outcomes for students. Nursing students who are part of the DEU program are assigned to single-care teaching medical-surgical units at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center or Cincinnati VA Medical Center and work side-by-side with nursing staff and clinical faculty. This one-on-one experience with a staff nurse for entire shifts provides students with additional perspectives on patient-load organization, handling, and reporting, and allows them to perform tasks side-by-side with their precepting staff nurse.

The DEU program does not extend the traditional four-year degree timeline. Students apply for the program during their pediatrics and mental health courses.

The college offers undergraduate and graduate students opportunities to study abroad in various locations. Designed to develop responsible citizens of the world, participants earn course credits while enhancing their cultural awareness and challenging their understanding of global health issues and disparities.

In recent years, students have traveled to destinations in the United Kingdom, Thailand, Japan and Tanzania. Partial scholarships for participants are available through UC International.