Rotarians Visit the Future of Nursing School

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Rotarians visit the future of Nursing in AlabamaThe ceremonies will also feature the presentation of the Rotary Rose award to a  special recipient, a non-Rotarian, in honor of Veterans day, as well as a special honor for all of our veterans at the end of the hour.

One could forgive Rotarian Sara Barger, Professor and Dean of the School of Nursing at the University of Alabama, for taking a minute to boast. Sara has devoted the better part of her career to realizing her vision, a new state-of-the-art nursing facility for her school. Now that vision has become reality: a 63,000 square foot building, its stately presence on University Boulevard marking the approach to the campus.

Rotary of Tuscaloosa visits University of Alabama Nursing SchoolNursing’s new home is not only quite an improvement over the old 18,000 square foot facility at the old Student Health Center. And at a mere $20 million, contracted at the depths of the construction recession, the facility was not only a bargain. Much more than that, as Marsha Adams, Assistant Dean for undergraduate programs, made clear, it is home to one of the finest facilities for nursing instruction in the world.

A top floor is dedicated to faculty offices and administrative space. The first floor is dedicated to classroom space, where incoming nursing students—in their cohorts of ninety six per year—can plug laptops directly into the table tops for note-taking and even exams.

Rotary of Tuscaloosa learns about the future of nursing in Alabama

A second floor is devoted to space that allows the students to practice their craft—including real-life computer simulations (pictured left) in which students try to treat “medical mannequins.” These futuristic creatures not only look like real people. They are also programmed to exhibit a wide range of complex symptoms, and they respond to the nurses’ treatments accordingly. A few have even “died” on the table, allowing the students to learn valuable lessons about the stakes of their decisions. But of course most survive, not least because of the talents of the young students whose skills are put to the test!

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