image title

New nursing approach benefits students, clinical facilities

ASU 'team model' approach makes nursing students more attractive job candidates.
April 7, 2022

ASU students work in one clinic rather than rotating between clinics

When the pandemic hit in March 2020, hospitals and clinical facilities across the Valley had to close their doors to nursing students. The break gave leaders at Arizona State University's Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation time and the opportunity to rethink the student nursing experience.

Prior to the pandemic, students would rotate between numerous facilities in the Valley, including Banner Health, Abrazo Health, OASIS Hospital and HonorHealth. It was a wide-ranging education, but the constant movement between facilities didn’t allow students to become embedded in the culture of a medical practice and truly get to know the doctors and nurses they were working with.

ASU officials, including Edson College Dean Judith Karshmer, asked their clinical partners how they might change the process in order to better educate students and make them more attractive job candidates after graduation.

Those conversations led to the “team model" approach, which may be unique among nursing schools in the country, said Salina Bednarek, a clinical assistant professor in Edson College.

“We have a consultant we work with who told us everybody is talking about it, but nobody is quite doing it,” Bednarek said.

Here’s how the team model works: Teams of eight students — there are nine teams in total — work in a single facility throughout the school year rather than jump from one facility to another. They rotate between practices in that facility, say, from endoscopy one week to pre-operative care the next.

Students have input as to what type of facility they would like to work in, based on their interests, geography, populations they want to serve, etc. They do not select a specific facility, though.

“The benefit of this model is that the facilities get to know them as students, the students get to know the facilities and they’re able to focus more on learning the concepts that we’re trying to instill in them,” Bednarek said.

“In clinical agencies, nurses are tired. Nurses are overworked. Nurses are usually seeing a large volume of students, and it’s a revolving door. They invest a lot of energy into training students, but they never get to see the students develop. They have fleeting moments with them," Bednarek said. "This model allows nurses to see those students develop and see those students grow. Professionals invest in them because they know they’re probably going to be working alongside them soon.”

Michelle Gilman, director at Dignity Health and the college contact for St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center, praised the new approach.

“Operationally, I would say it’s working,” Gilman said. “We’re used to having the nursing students rotate in and rotate out. It’s actually nice to have them there every week. It creates a continuity, which creates a better buy-in for the students and our nurses.

“Continuity is everything to a new learner, especially when they’re learning scary new content. I think seeing them (the student nurses) from when they’ve started and seeing them now, the looks on their faces is much less deer in the headlights.”

That comfort level is just one of the benefits of the team model approach.

“The (previous) experience wasn’t as rich as it could be because they weren’t really delving into it as in depth as they could,” Bednarek said. “With this model, we’re taking away the unknown and we’re creating some consistency for student learning so they can grow and develop as opposed to being in a new unit and wondering where the glucometer is, where the bathroom is, how the culture of the unit works. They’re actually focusing more on growing as a nurse.”

Nursing student Alyssa Millard works at St. Joseph’s with her team. Although she rotates between units at St. Joseph’s, Millard said the ability to develop deeper relationships with the professional nurses and doctors at the hospital has opened up conversations regarding medical care she might not have had when moving from facility to facility.

Nursing students watch an instructor go over an infusion pump

Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation student Alyssa Millard (center) and other nursing students, including Kelsey Brownlee (left) and Grace Kim (right) listen as their instructor goes over an infusion pump at the Mercado building in downtown Phoenix. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU News

“I’m starting to see some familiar faces and getting used to them,” she said. “It’s different doctors every week, but it’s becoming more comfortable to ask them questions and feel like you’re not putting anyone out by asking a question.”

That comfort level has another benefit: Doctors can better evaluate their students’ professional behavior, which only helps ASU grads when their job applications go out.

“For physicians and staff, they get to know the students very well,” said Alexis Warren, education specialist at St. Joseph's. “They get very comfortable. There’s this really well-oiled relationship. And it just all ultimately creates a better, safer environment for our patients.”

Millard said, “They get to know you, and they get to see your work ethic — whether you’re just going to sit on the sidelines the whole day or you’re going to jump in and be like, ‘Hey, can I do this?’”

In essence, Gilman said the team model is an internship opportunity.

“We’re interviewing them the entire time, and they’re interviewing us the entire time. They’re one step closer than someone who’s coming in off the street, who’s never rotated in our facility. They understand Dignity Health, they understand our mission and our vision.”

Another benefit of the team model is the value students receive by being part of an eight-person team.

“Building community among the eight students is one of the byproducts of these groups,” Bednarek said. “They travel together, they stay together the entire time and that builds a community where they trust each other and learn from each other.”

ASU student Parker Shumway said the students on his team are in constant communication about what they’ve learned, the next unit on the rotation list and what the doctors and nurses are like. That kind of shared experience was much harder to achieve when students were moving from one facility to another.

“We’re really able to get the inside scoop of what we’re getting ourselves into,” he said. “That’s huge because instead of getting thrown into all these scenarios kind of by ourselves, we’re able to experience it together. We’re really getting kind of a deeper dive into nursing.”

Top photo: Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation Instructor Dawn Bedwell goes over an infusion pump with a group of nursing students at the Mercado building in downtown Phoenix on March 18. The cohort is part of the accelerated post-baccalaureate group "Arizona Periop" that will spend its clinical time at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center caring for patients before and after surgery. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU News

Scott Bordow

Reporter , ASU News

image title

ASU units celebrate our planet Earth

April 7, 2022

Week of events to offer thought-provoking discussions, sustainable activities, sneak peek of ASU's newest research and teaching facility

Average annual greenhouse gas emissions were at their highest levels in human history throughout 2010–19. Drastic action is needed, warned an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate report last week: Emissions reductions are needed in all sectors, and countries should seek to wean themselves off fossil fuels — including industry and transportation.

In the face of these recent challenges, Arizona State University prepares to showcase its efforts — and a new $192 million research building — during the upcoming Earth Week to celebrate what people can do to develop solutions and drive impactful change for a planet where all of its inhabitants may thrive.

There are two main conferences happening in concert: the Democracy and Climate Change Conference on April 19–20, hosted by The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; and the full Earth Week schedule of events on April 18–23, organized by the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Futures Laboratory and centered on the new Interdisciplinary Science and Technology Building 7 on the Tempe campus.

Woman in white blazer and blue shirt

Miki Kittilson

“With Earth Week, the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Futures Laboratory has the opportunity to bring together students, faculty and staff in our new building — ASU’s newest and largest research and learning facility — which is the center for our engagement, collaboration and innovation,” said Miki KittilsonCollege of Global Futures associate dean and chair of the Global Futures Laboratory’s Earth Week planning committee.

“We are excited to present a week full of activities that are representative of what Global Futures has to offer, and we encourage the entire ASU community to participate.”

ISTB7 will host a dedication ceremony on Tuesday, April 19. Come this fall, the new facility will house more than 750 Global Futures scientists and scholars and 1,300 College of Global Futures students. It also features 70,000 square feet of lab space, classrooms and a 320-seat auditorium.

Earth Week events range from the future of our oceans, to Indigenous ways of knowing, to a sustainable retail and sports industry. Another highlight is a keynote address Tuesday night by former Vice President Al Gore, as part of the Democracy and Climate Change Conference.

There are also several showcases where ASU students will present their research and projects.

An interactive village in the atrium of ISTB7 will be a focal point Wednesday–Friday, where event goers can gather to celebrate Earth Week, learn more about Global Futures programs through interactive exhibits and enjoy food trucks providing local tastes. 

Earth Week event highlights

For more information and to see the full schedule of events, go to and

Monday, April 18

9–10 a.m. — Earth Week Welcome by Peter Schlosser, and Firestarter Chat: Can we fix the future by fixing energy?
This discussion explores how we think about and approach energy in the context of building better futures at a global scale.

12:30–1:30 p.m. — Just and Resilient Global Futures: WE Empower UN SDG Challenge — Business for Profit and for Purpose
The WE Empower UN SDG Challenge is a first-of-its-kind global competition for women entrepreneurs who are advancing the UN Sustainable Development Goals. This panel discussion on sustainable business practices features opening comments from WE Empower Co-chair, high-level judge and ASU Global Futures Laboratory founding benefactor Julie Ann Wrigley.

2:30–4:15 p.m. — Scaling Innovation: How the MechanicalTree exemplifies innovation at scale
Learn about the first ever MechanicalTree, produced in partnership with Carbon Collect and the ASU Center for Negative Carbon Emissions. A tour will immediately follow the talk inside the ISTB7 auditorium with a short walk to the testing pad.

4:30–6 p.m. — Arizona’s Energy Journey
A special panel examines what the recent Arizona legislative rule changes mean for our state’s energy future.

Tuesday, April 19

10:30–11:30 a.m. — ISTB7 Building Dedication Celebration
Join us in the center atrium for a special celebration of ASU’s newest flagship research and teaching facility. Tours of the building will follow.

10:45 a.m. — Constitutional and Practical Reforms to Enable Effective Responses to Climate Change
Expert panelists will discuss possible reforms to the constitutional system that can enable a better response to climate change. How can reforms accommodate stressors on democracy imposed by climate change? What can we learn from other democracies’ approaches to these issues? Part of the Democracy and Climate Change Conference; taking place on the Downtown Phoenix campus. 

2:30–4 p.m. — The Future of Conservation
This three-part session will begin with a keynote by Peter Seligmann, chairman of the board for Conservation International, followed by a photographic journey of global conservation “hot spots” guided by National Geographic photojournalist Keith Ladzinski. It will conclude with a panel, moderated by Susan Goldberg, with conservationist and author Enric Sala, ocean conservation expert Aulani Wilhelm and ASU professor Haunani Kane.

6 p.m. — Democracy and Climate Change Conference Keynote Address by Former Vice President Al Gore
As Democracy and Climate Change Conference keynote speaker, Gore will offer a live virtual address on how the threats to democracy impact climate activism and policy reform. 

Wednesday, April 20

8:30 a.m.–5 p.m. — 2022 Democracy and Climate Change Conference
This conference will discuss how to meet the challenges to democracy and climate stability and contribute to the transition to a post-fossil fuel world that is fair, democratic, resilient and durable. Sessions range from mobilizing for climate justice to why climate change isn't fake news. All sessions will be in the Pima Ballroom at the ASU Memorial Union.

10–11:30 a.m. — The Power of Global Partnerships and Youth Action
To date, only 53% of the world’s national education curricula make any reference to climate change. This panel focuses on empowering youth voices and climate experts on the global partnerships needed to avert the climate crisis.

4:30–5:30 p.m. — Cooking in Two Worlds
A food sovereignty journey with celebrated Diné chef Brian Yazzie.

Thursday, April 21

11:30 a.m.–1 p.m. — The Future of Our Oceans
This "State of Our Oceans" conversation led by Bill Curry, president and CEO of the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences, showcases the latest research and learning center to join the Global Futures Laboratory. In addition to Curry’s keynote, this session will include videos on current oceans research and a panel of experts discussing what are the opportunities and needs in ensuring the health of the planet’s oceans. 

1:30–4 p.m. — Indigenous Ways of Knowing Water, Land and Sky
For this in-depth presentation, three Indigenous female sustainability scientists explore the "Deep Blue" of oceans, waves and water; the "Deep Green" of plants, seeds and land; and the "Deep Space" of stars, galaxies and planets. From Indigenous languages, stories and practices to scientific instruments and data, these interconnected presentations will provide a coherent and comprehensive perspective of Indigenous sciences of water, land and sky. They will emphasize the importance of “two-eyed seeing” to weave together Indigenous and Western knowledge systems and understandings of the natural world to create greater resilience.

4:30–9 p.m. — College of Global Futures Student Showcase
Each semester, the College of Global Futures invites students to highlight their research, internships and projects at a celebratory Student Showcase. The showcase is open to undergraduate and graduate student work affiliated with the School for the Future of Innovation in Society, the School of Sustainability and the School of Complex Adaptive Systems.

6:30–7:30 p.m. — The Future in 2052: Teetering on the Edge of Tomorrow
A moderated panel discussion between future thinkers at ASU on the unique challenges and opportunities global society will face over the next few decades in the light of emerging technological and social trends, and how to successfully navigate them.

Friday, April 22 (Earth Day)

8:30–10:30 a.m. — Ecologies and Infrastructures Cultural Techniques of Environmental Management
The first symposium on ecologies and infrastructures between Kings College London and ASU, a comprehensive panel will explore questions like what future contributions can human, or even posthuman, sciences make to help drive sustainability.

10–11 a.m. — Welcome and Firestarter Chat: How Do We Foster Hope in a World That Sometimes Seems Hopeless?
An inspiring discussion around the importance of hope and how we find it through vision, aspirations, collaboration, discovery, our humanity, etc., and the roles of the Global Futures Laboratory and ISTB7 in fostering hope.

11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m. — Hope, Alarm and Climate Change: The Climate Narratives Prize
Three nationally renowned writers will receive the inaugural Climate Narratives Prize, nominated by leaders in the field including Katherine Hayhoe, Bill McKibben, Wendell Berry, Frank Sesno, Vann Newkirk and Lacy M. Johnson. The winners will be featured live and others will join virtually to discuss the work and the kinds of narratives that resonate with audiences and can drive change. This event will be moderated by Steven Beschloss and Sarah Viren and is the result of their graduate course, “Climate Narratives, Apocalypse, and Social Change.”

Saturday, April 23

8:30–10:30 a.m. — Earth Day Cleanup Event

Calling all environmental heroes … celebrate Earth Day with ASU, Rio Reimagined and a group of partners and help clean up the Salt River! Meet on the west side of 91st Avenue, 1 mile south of Broadway; more information on the volunteer sign-up form.

Top photo by Deanna Dent/ASU News

Reporter , ASU News