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Australian Nursing Pioneer Kay Edgecombe Visits UTHSC


On October 19 and 20, Kay Edgecombe, RN, an internationally known pioneer in nursing education, practice and research, will meet with UTHSC College of Nursing administrators, faculty and students.

On October 19 and 20, Kay Edgecombe, RN, an internationally known pioneer in nursing education, practice and research, will meet with the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) College of Nursing administrators, faculty and students. Central to Edgecombe’s visit are tours of the three Dedicated Education Units that UTHSC established in partnership with Methodist University Hospital and Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital. In 1996, Edgecombe conceptualized and implemented the first Dedicated Education Unit (DEU).

DEUs are strategic, sustained collaborations among academic faculty, hospital management and working nursing professionals. This novel model of clinical nursing education allows experienced nurses to serve as clinical teachers who lead by example, providing nursing students with richer, more intensive, real-world clinical training. Edgecombe’s multi-city tour of DEUs around the globe is designed to spur further development and exploration of the DEU model, which has been adopted in health care facilities around the world.

“We are honored to have someone of Ms. Edgecombe’s stature visit our college and include our work in her international review of Dedicated Education Units,” said Donna Hathaway, PhD, RN, FAAN, dean of the UT College of Nursing. “As one of the earliest DEUs in the region, our first unit opened at Methodist in January 2009. Its success propelled the establishment of two DEUs at Le Bonheur,” Dean Hathaway observed. “In the past 21 months, 154 UT nursing students have rotated through our three DEUs. These new nurses have attained levels of clinical knowledge, proficiency and confidence that will make all the difference for them, their employers, their colleagues and their patients as they transition into practice.”

A member of the Faculty of Health Sciences, School of Nursing and Midwifery at Flinders University, Adelaide, South Australia, Edgecombe has an abiding interest in the nexus between practice and learning, which is a main focus of her work as a lecturer in nursing. Her clinical specialties of wound care management and infection control have driven her ongoing teaching and research agendas. She also developed and maintains Australia’s longest-running infection control course for nursing clinicians.

Her academic research focus has been on the transfer of learning from theory to practice, having developed and investigated a variety of different models to facilitate practice-based learning and teaching, including the DEU concept. In 2009, Edgecombe’s contribution to nursing education was recognized with a national Australian Learning and Teaching Citation.

With a wide variety of presentations, workshops and publications to her credit, Edgecombe maintains membership in such industry organizations as the: Nurses Board of South Australia, Australian Nurse Teachers Society, Infection Control Association of South Australia, and Wound Management Association of South Australia.