University of Michigan set to break ground on $50M School of Nursing Friday
Courtesy of U-M
“The students are incredibly excited,” said U-M School of Nursing Dean Kathleen Potempa. “This is the first time in our 125-year history that we will occupy a building specifically designed for education.”
The 78,000-square-foot facility at Kingsley and Cornwell streets on the north side of Ann Arbor will open in 2015. Construction will eliminate about 125 parking spaces at that location.
Courtney Sacco | AnnArbor.com
Potempa said she projects the School of Nursing’s student population to increase by 20 percent in the first five years after the opening of the new building -- a figure she says is a “conservative” projection.
The new building will be down the street from the existing facility the School of Nursing occupies at 400 N. Ingalls St. Built in 1913, the nursing school has been using the facility since 1977.
“We demand the highest level of scientific knowledge and the judgment to apply it in context,” Potempa said of students at U-M’s School of Nursing. “It will allow us to introduce the very latest tools to enhance that We just do not have the capacity to introduce those tools now.”
Growth among nursing professions is projected to last through mid-century, Potempa said.
Those demands have translated into a 26 percent increase in enrollment in the past 10 years at U-M’s nursing school that has stretched it to its limits.
In the fall of 2008, there were 647 undergraduate students admitted to the School of Nursing and in the fall of 2012, that figure was 641. Graduate student enrollment to the School of Nursing has accounted for a significant increase: 198 were admitted in the fall of 2008, compared to 278 in 2012.
Within the past five years, more nurses in Michigan have continued working instead of retiring because of the declining economy, according to the Michigan Center for Nursing.
Those workers are about to begin retiring -- which will mean there will be more room for recent nursing graduates to move into full-time employment, officials say.
Potempa said there’s a growing trend towards nurses pursuing graduate degrees, as well as a market demand for family nurse practitioners and acute care practitioners.
“The demand is huge we turn away many more students than we can accept,” Potempa said.
Long-term care facilities also have sought to hire registered nurses rather than licensed practice nurses because patients are increasingly sicker than they have before, Carole Stacy, director of the Michigan Center for Nursing, said in a previous interview with AnnArbor.com.
Potempa said the limiting factor for the number of students they can accept in some programs is the number of clinical placements for internships.
“That’s why we’re being conservative with the 20 percent increase (in students),” Potempa said.
Within U-M’s new nursing school, about 13,000 square feet of space on the lower level will be dedicated to simulation lab space for students.
In the 400 N. Ingalls building, the School of Nursing has about 2,500 square feet of simulation lab space. The national average for lab simulation space in a nursing school is 12,000 square feet.
Using virtual technologies, nursing students will be able to practice procedures they're learning to enhance their judgement skills.
The lab space will include computer-based simulations from an intensive care unit experience to patient examinations to help nursing students prepare for their clinical exams.
Disaster situations and staging areas also can be simulated in the lab space to assist students and community members in emergency response training.
Potempa said the school hopes to purchase a virtual human body that mimics internal organs and skeletal components to augment anatomy and physiology classes.
Group work and interactive labs will become a larger part of the curriculum with the added space in the new building.
“We’re not in a place where we cram facts into students’ brains,” Potempa said. “We really focus on synthesis and application. (The new facility) will give us the setting and style of teaching and the electronic-based capacity to get to that level.”
Courtney Sacco | AnnArbor.com
Group meeting space with computer access also will be a part of the new school’s internal floor plan.
The building on North Ingalls will still be used by the School of Nursing after the opening of the new Kingsley building for faculty offices and some classroom space.
Eventually, the school’s building on North Ingalls will be replaced, Potempa said.
In 2012, the School of Nursing estimated that it would be adding 40 faculty and staff members to its ranks throughout the next 10 years.
Potempa said that figure was a projection based on the growing demand for a spot in the school’s programs.
Potempa said nursing school alumni from all over the country will be attending the groundbreaking ceremony Friday.
“(The alumni) know what it will mean for the next generation of students,” Potempa said.