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Center to help nursing students

Registered nurse Betsy Lyren, center, demonstrates how the Sim-Man provides real-life medical conditions to Mike Beard, left, and Lori Paris, right, of the Bemidji Area Chamber of Commerce during an open house of the new Clinical Resource Center at Bemidji State University on Tuesday evening. Pioneer Photo/Monte Draper

With clinical exam rooms and hospital suites among its features, the new Clinical Resource Center at Bemidji State University is helping nursing students sharpen their skills.

The BSU Department of Nursing hosted a donor recognition event Tuesday that included tours of the center. A ribbon-cutting was also held.

"It's really a state-of-the-art facility," said Jeanine Gangeness, associate professor and chairwoman of the department.

The center opened Jan. 12 in the lower level of Memorial Hall on the BSU campus.

"It opened with the beginning of the semester and we had students in there on Day One," Gangeness said.

The center provides core laboratory experiences for students in BSU's four-year nursing track. The program, which has 36 students this year, began admitting freshman in the fall of 2007 and accepting students in the fall of 2008.

Gangeness said students in the four-year track needed a space to practice and perfect their health assessment skills and nursing intervention.

The center features five hospital suites, including a simulation room; five clinical exam rooms and a home care suite. It also features three seminar rooms, two offices, a paperless computer area, laundry facilities and a classroom that doubles as an observation deck for the simulation room.

Additionally, the center features several simulated mannequins, including a female mannequin capable of giving birth to an infant mannequin.

Integrated into the center are six mechanical patient lift systems donated by Bemidji Medical Equipment.

The Department of Nursing received $500,000 through the Minnesota State Universities and Colleges system for the renovations, Gangeness said.

Meanwhile, the center's equipment and furniture were funded by other sources. Gangeness said furniture was primarily funded by donors while a Health Resources and Services Administration grant and a federal earmark provided funding for the equipment. The balance of these funds, she noted, is used for curriculum and faculty development.

"The students that are in the program love it here," said Gangeness, noting that the students feel that the center enhances their ability to learn.

Hannah Peterson, a student in the four-year nursing track who plans to become a nurse midwifery after graduation, said she enjoys the new center.

"It's really fun to be part of a new program ... because everything is cutting edge," she said.