Alumni, supporters and members of the Caldwell University community gathered on Feb. 26 for a ribbon cutting celebration to mark the opening of new nursing labs on campus. The guests enjoyed getting an inside view of the state-of-the-art facility that is being used for classroom, clinical and simulation instruction.
The students and nursing faculty were delighted to show guests around the 4,000-square-foot learning environment, which features nursing-skills, health-assessment and simulation laboratories and a general classroom with seminar space. Julie Andrews, a senior nursing student, said the evening provided a “good way to get people to see what we are doing.” Kevin Boyle, vice president of development and alumni affairs, welcomed the guests and thanked supporters for making the college’s vision of producing a forward-thinking nursing department a reality.
Marycarol Rossignol , Ph.D., R.N., CNL, director of the Nursing Department, was thrilled that the facility now provides a “lasting home for the growing program” of more than 200 students. “It accommodates the future expansion to graduate education,” she said. “The learning environments were designed to support more interactive, collaborative, comfortable and active engagement equipped with furniture and interactive digital boards to provide new ways of learning.”
Among the guests was Lou LaSalle, senior vice president of external affairs for Barnabas Health, who said his institution was “excited about the partnership between Barnabas Health and Caldwell University” and looked forward to the “great continued relationship” between the two organizations.
J.B. Wilson, president and CEO of the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of New Jersey, was amazed at the transformation of the space and said it was “great to see how excited the students are” about the new environment.
Amanda Diaz, a junior nursing student, is happy to be a part of the nursing program at this pivotal time and especially appreciates having “wonderful professors who are very supportive.” Marchell Boyd, also a junior nursing student, said she is really impressed with how the program had evolved in such a short time. “It is really nice,” she said.
Marsha Atkind, executive director at The Healthcare Foundation of NJ, toured the facility with HFNJ Trustee Natalie Peck. Marsha said they “were extremely gratified to see the wonderful equipment that Caldwell University students will now have at their disposal to maximize their learning opportunities and simulate real-life medical situations.” She said it was a pleasure for their organization to provide seed funding for “this important project”.
The simulation laboratory is equipped with high-fidelity manikins and emergency equipment and supplies for students to focus on quality, safety, team-based skills, evidence-based practice, leadership and delegation. A control room inside the simulation lab will house the computer operator and equipment, which includes the capability to video record and review the simulations.
Dr. Mary Beth Russell, nursing director at St. Barnabas Medical Center, found the simulation lab to be “exceptional” and she said it is crucial to learning since it gives nursing students practical experience so they are “not fearful and have confidence” when they go out into a health care setting. Having the simulation background will “enable Caldwell students to transition from students to staff expeditiously,” she said.
The nursing main skills laboratory provides nine bed stations outfitted with authentic equipment and supplies that simulate acute hospital and long-term-care settings and give students the opportunity to work in small groups. The health assessment laboratory consists of nine primary care stations with partitions for privacy. There are tables and chairs for conferences or classes.
The new facility was made possible through the bond initiative passed by New Jersey voters in 2012 and the generosity of several organizations including the Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey, the George I. Alden Trust, the Hyde and Watson Foundation, Barnabas Health, the Independent College Fund of New Jersey, the C. R. Bard Foundation Inc., the Johnson and Johnson Family of Companies, St. Joseph’s Healthcare System, BD, and alumni and friends of Caldwell University.