UB School of Nursing opens new building
The University at Buffalo's School of Nursing has found a new home on South Campus. The historic Wende Hall has seen $7.1 million in renovations in an effort to re-create a handsome relic of the old, while providing UB's nursing program with a brand new state-of-the-art facility.
"This is a very exciting time for the school of nursing," said Jean K Brown, Dean of the UB School of Nursing. "This new facility has provided us with more tools to support our vision."
Wende Hall, named after alumnus Grover William Wende, was built in 1885 and expanded in 1955. It was originally home to the university's Department of Physics, and until 2008, the building was a classroom and satellite office building.
The improvements have turned Wende Hall into the energy-efficient pulse of the nursing program. The nursing school's groundbreaking move from Kimball Tower, where it had operated for more than 30 years, to its own technologically advanced building matches its spirit for independence, Brown said.
At Wende Hall's grand opening on March 16, faculty, staff and students in the nursing program presented the renovations to the public and led tours of the new facility, presenting their audience with the school's plan for the future. The problems it faces as the high demand for quality nursing heightens the bar for academic excellence.
"With the well documented shortage of nurses, education preparation becomes even more important to the health and well-being of our community," said David L. Dunn, vice president for health sciences at UB. "These women and men are the backbone of the healthcare system."
UB's School of Nursing aims to be among the top 25 nursing schools in the country, and it dedicates this new building project to its commitment to leadership and quality.
"A world-class nursing program requires dedicated staff, faculty and students, but it also requires a state-of-the-art facility," Dunn said.
The new space includes 4,000 square feet for the Center for Nursing Research (CNR), a manifestation of the School of Nursing's emphasis on research. According to Brown, research for health care is an essential skill for new nurses to meet the requirements of a rapidly expanding field of medicine.
The clinical laboratories are well equipped to handle the university's new standards for patient simulation. Their talking patient mannequins, nicknamed Homer and Samson, can be controlled by an instructor who watches in the adjacent room through a video feed.
"The new clinical ‘open-labs' are available to any upperclassman, for four hours a day, three days a week, to come in and try their practical skills," said Janel Yacovoni, a junior nursing student at UB. "The new space is really nice."
As part of UB 2020's plan to group all of the university's health science schools to one campus, Wende Hall is only one of several expected building and program renovations. The nearby Acheson Hall is projected to become the new School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.
The School of Nursing hopes that the new facility will encourage students to consider nursing as a profession, to help to build a strong foundation against the nationwide shortage of nurses in health care.
"The high morbidity rates that have been linked to nursing shortages mean nothing less than saving lives is at stake," Brown said.
But the improvements to the program go far beyond new bricks and mortar. The nursing program has also launched an accelerated Bachelor of Science program, which efficiently produces new graduates in 12 months. Other program innovations include a number of graduate-level programs for nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, and an innovative nurse anesthesia program.
The new building is hardly the full result of the nursing program's dedication. Dean Brown and the School of Nursing's administration are confident that it is only a start to an improvement in health care, which goes far beyond a little fresh paint.