November 17, 2018 | ° F

New $62.5 million building at Rutgers—Camden provides nursing students with new opportunities for hands-on practice

Hundreds of guests attended the building's grand opening this week

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Rutgers—Camden's new Nursing and Science building has labs that will provide students with realistic hospital, outpatient and home care settings. The cost was covered in part by a $750 million loan and grant program approved by New Jersey voters in a 2012 ballot referendum.

This week, Rutgers—Camden opened their Nursing and Science building to students. Worth $62.5 million, the facility includes new laboratories and classrooms as part of the merger between Rutgers—New Brunswick and the Camden School of Nursing.

Barbara McAleese, the senior public relations specialist for the Rutgers School of Nursing—Camden, said students thrive off the hands-on instruction provided by the simulation and basic clinical competencies labs included in the facility.

These labs provide students with realistic hospital, outpatient and home care settings to refine their skills and develop muscle memory in a variety of challenging environments, McAleese said. The labs introduce students to unusual situations and patient populations they may not readily encounter during clinical rotations.

Rutgers—Camden Chancellor Phoebe Haddon told Rutgers—Camden NewsNow there were more than 200 guests in attendance at the building's opening. 

“This building represents Rutgers’ first bold step in forging an ‘eds and meds’ corridor that moves us closer toward our vision of a city where innovation in healthcare and bioscience commands the imagination of the world," she said.

According to their website, the $62.5 million project was financed, in part, by proceeds from the “Building Our Future Bond Act,” a $750 million loan and grant program approved by New Jersey voters in a 2012 ballot referendum.

The Nursing and Science building connects Rutgers—Camden with Camden’s University District, according to their site. This district includes Cooper University Hospital, Coriell Institute for Medical Research and the Cooper Medical School of Rowan University. The building was awarded the 2017 New Jersey’s Leading Infrastructure Project Award.

“There’s been a nursing education presence here at Rutgers—Camden for 45 years," McAleese said. "Like a lot of nursing schools across the country, the nursing program here got started in a variety of different departments. At one point it was in the College of Arts and Sciences and at one point it was nested within the Department of Education." 

She said in 2011 the School of Nursing became one of four designated schools at Rutgers—Camden. In 2013,  the University consolidated the School of Medicine and Dentistry and the Nursing School at the Camden campus. 

The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education has given separate accreditation to Rutgers—Camden and New Brunswick nursing programs, McAleese said. The Nursing School is partnering with the School of Business for a new dual degree program.

“(Merging schools) streamlined the academic program process. In the field of nursing, the master’s program is falling by the wayside. The preferred degree program is the Doctor of Nursing Practice," she said.

There is a severe shortage of nursing faculty across the country, McAleese said. The merger helped strengthen the core academic programs such as the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP). The undergraduate nursing program allows students to take introductory DNP courses.

McAleese said the first two floors of the new building are primarily devoted to College of Arts and Sciences classrooms and labs. The third floor has the basic clinical competency lab, and the fourth floor has the simulation space. 

The Nursing and Science building is finished and the transition has been extremely smooth, McAleese said.The first floor has retail space and will be hosting a Walgreens Pharmacy with a civic engagement partner on campus. 

“Everyone loves the building. The comments I hear range from, 'My god, it’s beautiful, it’s bright, I love coming here.' The views outside of the building are beautiful," she said. "It’s fair to say that the staff loves being here. We’re not in an old dormitory anymore." 

Samil Tabani is a Rutgers Business School sophomore. He is a staff writer for The Daily Targum.

Samil Tabani

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