UNMC College of Nursing’s new $14 million center to boost number of nurses in Nebraska
The University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Nursing opened a new building in Omaha that will help alleviate Nebraska's nursing shortage.
The new $14 million Center for Nursing Science, one of the nation's most advanced nursing education facilities, will address the crux of the shortage – too few nurse faculty and facility capacity. The college has turned away hundreds of qualified nursing students each year.
A projected shortage of 3,800 registered nurses in Nebraska is expected by 2020 with rural areas hit the hardest.
Omaha philanthropists Ruth and Bill Scott provided the lead gift for the center.
"We are overwhelmed by the tremendous generosity of Ruth and Bill Scott for this world-class facility that will raise the bar in our commitment to reducing the nursing shortage," said Harold M. Maurer, M.D., chancellor of UNMC. "It's an amazing facility that will enable us to educate more students, attract more nursing faculty and raise the level of nursing education and research in nursing sciences."
The new facility expands the college's space capacity by 60 percent and enables it to expand graduate programs to prepare more nurse faculty. More faculty also means more students can be admitted. The new facility will enable the college to enroll 265 additional students annually in Omaha by the year 2020 – an increase of nearly 70 percent.
Students will begin classes in the new center in January.
The latest educational technology tools and advanced clinical training laboratories will better prepare students for an increasingly complex nursing environment. The clinical laboratories, which will look and feel like patient care areas, will include mannequins and patient simulators where students will hone their nursing skills before caring for patients.
The Center for Nursing Science is located at 41st Street and Dewey Avenue, adjacent to the college's 35-year-old building.
Other principal donors include James R. Linder, M.D., and family; the late Carol M. Wilson, longtime director of nursing at the medical center; the late Vella Elsie Stewart; Ann Barelman Ross and Dennis Ross, M.D.; Leland J. and Dorothy H. Olson Charitable Foundation; and the Nebraska Heart Hospital.
"This facility, made possible by the generous support of the Scotts and others, will result in more nurses educated by the highest standards of nursing education," said Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman. "Nebraskans deserve the best."
Virginia Tilden, D.N.Sc., dean of the UNMC College of Nursing, said the new center is an investment in nursing care for generations of Nebraskans to come.
"This incredible new facility is a dream come true," Dr. Tilden said. "Ruth and Bill Scott have put us in position to reduce the impact of the nurse faculty shortage, which affects how many highly educated nurses we can prepare for Nebraska."
"The Scotts responded to the needs of Nebraskans and future generations of Nebraskans. Rural and urban Nebraskans alike will benefit from the latest technology and clinical training laboratories that will be the setting for the world-class nursing education our faculty provide. This gift will touch the lives of so many people."
Dr. Tilden said she anticipates the facility will bring more research grants to improve nursing care and continue to raise the college's national standing in research. Currently, the college ranks twenty-seventh out of 126 schools of nursing in the country that received research funds from the National Institutes of Health in the last three years.
Guest speaker at the ribbon cutting will be Kathleen Potempa, Ph.D., president of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. Other dignitaries expected to speak include Gov. Dave Heineman, Omaha Mayor Jim Suttle, University of Nebraska Regent Bob Whitehouse and University of Nebraska President J.B. Milliken.
The UNMC College of Nursing has five locations in Nebraska: Omaha, Lincoln, Kearney, Scottsbluff and Norfolk.
A public open house will be held on Saturday, Oct. 16, from 10 a.m. to noon. Parking is available in the garage located on the northeast corner of 42nd St. and Dewey Ave. Tours and refreshments will be available.