by Dennis Dalman
One of every five students who come to the College of St. Benedict enrolls in its nursing program. It’s the fourth-largest major program at CSB. Is it any wonder, therefore, the college is about to vastly update its nursing-instruction technology?
The $2.5-million project will start this spring and is expected to be completed by the fall of 2015. During the process, the current nursing department will be located in Richarda Hall. The work will involve renovating and expanding the current facilities.
The current teaching facility, an area on the fourth floor of the Main Building, was built way back in 1973. It was created years before the many major, technological changes in the medical field.
CSB officials have decided to call the new project the Schoenecker Nursing Education Center to recognize a married couple who gave a generous gift of money to make it all possible.
“This renovation finally allows us to create a simulated learning space that’s up-to-date,” said Carie Braun, professor of nursing and chair of the Nursing Department.
The redesign will include six simulation rooms – small, flexible spaces that will resemble patient-care settings. The rooms will be fitted with ceiling-mounted cameras and microphones, allowing students to record and analyze their learning efforts.
Another feature will be a simulation-control center so faculty can control the blood pressure and heart rate of the training mannequins, the vocalizations of the mannequins and the monitors in the room. Instructors will be able to observe multiple learning processes going on at the same time.
The center will also have two interactive classrooms where teachers can walk throughout the rooms to observe problem-solving activities, such as patient-family interactions.
Three other state-of-the-art features will include:
- a large contextual-learning/practice laboratory where students can move between group problem-solving and hands-on psychomotor skill practice;
- a fully functional nurses’ station, which is the hub of any real-life hospital. Students will prepare, along with faculty, for setting interdisciplinary collaborations in the nurses’ station;
- and, a seminar space for small-group meetings of up to 18 students so they can conduct business, hold discussions and give presentations.
At CSB, the nursing program began in 1971. It serves about 160 students each year from CSB and St. John’s University, about 55 seniors, 55 juniors and 55 sophomores; and it employs 17 full-time instructors. More than 2,000 CSB graduates work in the health profession throughout the world.
Ratings of the CSB nursing program by the National Council Licensure Examination group are consistently above the national average.
CSB President Mary Dana Hinton praised the renovation-redesign project and thanked those who made it possible.
The $2.5-million project is made possible, in part, through: a grant given by Barbara and Guy Schoenecker; a $500,000 grant from the Margaret A. Cargill Foundation; as well as other donations.
In addition, the Schoeneckers gave an additional $500,000 to endow the nursing program. This grant is in addition to yet another $500,000 grant given by CSB alumna Sharon Ridgeway’s previous 1981 commitment of $500,000. Both of those gifts will ensure the nursing program’s long-term sustainability.
“The donations and grant recognize the transformational potential of this renovation project and the college’s role in providing high-quality health care in the region,” Hinton said. “The renovation will not only transform the physical space in which we teach nursing at the College of St. Benedict and St. John’s University, but it will also enhance the quality of instruction we are able to provide our nursing students.”