Some of you may know that I am a registered nurse and that I attended the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Nursing here in Urbana. Confused? Here’s the scoop. UIC is the “mothership” for health careers in the University of Illinois system. They have satellite campuses, Urbana included. So we have had a College of Nursing in Urbana for quite some time, but very few people realize that. This past week, Dr. Burke (shown below), the Dean of the College of Nursing Urbana, hosted former students, professors, and other college associates for a ribbon cutting event in the new College of Nursing Urbana.
For many years, the College resided in what looked like an old apartment building on the corner of Illinois St. and Goodwin Ave. (below). Some may say it had character and that it was intimate. I would probably say that it was worn out and over crowded — but all that has changed. The college has moved to a shiny new space located at 625 S. Wright Street, known to many as the former Follett’s building.
The event was proper. I watched as my professors almost danced through the building while showing guests around our new facilities. The facility felt clean but not sterile. It was spacious and open. It was quiet. And it did not smell like it shared a building with Panda Express (which it does).
I believe the college is probably most proud of their upgraded lab. The lab is where nursing student go to practice their skills before they get into a real life situation. The lab used to be located in a building with more “character” and was more “intimate” than the main building. It was located on Nevada St. (shown below), next to the dance studio. It is literally an old house. Anyways, the new lab is great.
Within this new space are hospital beds with simulation patients, mobile learning stations, medication administration carts, a nurse’s station, and linen cart. All of these are crucial to learn to manage during a shift and doing so in a space that resembles more of what a student is going into during clinicals and eventually a job, is more conducive to learning.
There are also smaller rooms in which students take care of simulation patients while professors watch through a one-way mirror. The simulation patients are hooked up to a system from which the professor can control things like breath sounds, pulse rates, and verbal responses. The situations will help prepare students for real life situations like when people get sick and end up in the hospital.
The entire lab seems to be wired for listening, too. This may creep some of you out, but it is apart of our learning. A nurses day consists of very little multiple choice questions and most of it is spent verbally and non-verbally communicating with other professionals and patients. So professors need to hear and see how we act in situations so that they can help coach us to provider higher quality care.
Not to be ignored are the new classrooms with huge monitors and natural lighting. I think the new monitors will be great for Skype conferences with other campuses, showing educational videos, and displaying power-points.
People in central Illinois depend on Champaign-Urbana to deliver high quality healthcare. It is important for us to support students who are learning to help provide for this dependency. The new building is a symbol that we value nursing education in Champaign-Urbana, and that is awesome.
If you always wanted to become a nurse but loved Champaign-Urbana so much that you never wanted to leave, then you’ve probably struck gold on this article. UIC College of Nursing Urbana offer a Bachelors in the Science of Nursing, a Master’s program, and a Doctoral degree in nursing. Check them out online.