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UMSL Plans $7 Million College Of Nursing Expansion To Meet Growing Demand

Nursing students at UMSL's College of Nursing practice on mannequins while in simulation labs. The interim dean of the College of Nursing, Roxanne Vandermause said the renovations and expansion will give instructors more control and freedom to educate their nursing students.
August Jennewein
/
University of Missouri - St. Louis
Nursing students at UMSL's College of Nursing practice on mannequins while in simulation labs. The interim dean of the College of Nursing, Roxanne Vandermause said the renovations and expansion will give instructors more control and freedom to educate their nursing students.

The University of Missouri-St. Louis College of Nursing will expand and renovate its Nursing Learning Resource and Simulation Center to help meet the growing demand for nurses.

The $7 million renovation project will add updated nursing equipment and new technology to the center. It will include a 5,000-square-foot expansion of simulation rooms and renovated skills labs.

The expansion will help UMSL train more nurses at a time when the nation is dealing with a nursing shortage because of the coronavirus crisis, UMSL Chancellor Kristin Sobolik said.

“The more nurses that we can train and provide to the region, then hopefully that decreases the nursing shortage and allows us to serve our community better in all things, including during COVID times, but also post COVID times as well,” Sobolik said.

When completed, the renovated 21,000-square-foot training facility will allow nursing students to participate in expanded simulation activities, train in updated labs, use debriefing rooms to discuss lessons and engage in interactive classroom learning.

Graduate students will use the facilities to practice primary care, community health and acute care lessons.

Given the current shortage of nurses, university officials hope the expansion will allow UMSL to increase its nursing graduates by 20%.

Updated resources and technology are critical to helping nursing students prepare for nursing careers, said Roxanne Vandermause, interim dean of the university’s College of Nursing.

“We're able to provide some of the conditions and experiences and environmental issues that we think could happen in the future,” Vandermause said. “And allow students to become more confident and experienced and know that they have what it takes to address even novel situations like the one that we've encountered here this year with the pandemic."

The learning facilities and simulation rooms also will be open to students in optometry, psychology, social work, education and other programs.

Construction is scheduled to begin in January and be completed by next fall.

Follow Andrea on Twitter: @drebjournalist

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Andrea Henderson joined St. Louis Public Radio in March 2019, where she covers race, identity and culture as part of the public radio collaborative Sharing America. Andrea comes to St. Louis Public Radio from NPR, where she reported for the race and culture podcast Code Switch and produced pieces for All Things Considered. Andrea’s passion for storytelling began at a weekly newspaper in her hometown of Houston, Texas, where she covered a wide variety of stories including hurricanes, transportation and Barack Obama’s 2009 Presidential Inauguration. Her art appreciation allowed her to cover arts and culture for the Houston African-American business publication, Empower Magazine. She also covered the arts for Syracuse’s Post-Standard and The Post and Courier in Charleston, South Carolina.