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Updated: January 22, 2020

$2.5M investment will double size of nurse lab at USM's Portland campus

Courtesy / University of Southern Maine The University of Southern Maine’s Simulation Center provides an inpatient setting where students can practice therapeutic techniques and other clinical tasks. A $2.5 million investment will allow the lab to double its space.

A $2.5 million investment in the University of Southern Maine’s School of Nursing will double the size of its simulation center for nursing education over the next five years.

The larger facility, on the Portland campus, will help the school address Maine’s critical shortage of nurses and attract students to USM, the university said in a news release Tuesday.

The 2,000-square-foot expansion will be funded by $1.5 million in bond money and an additional $1 million from the Boyne family, longtime supporters of the school. USM will name the expanded center the Boyne Family Advanced Nursing Simulation Lab.

“The completion of the new nursing simulation center will help expand enrollment opportunities in one of our signature academic programs, increase hands-on experiences for students, and ultimately send more qualified nurses into the Maine workforce where vacancies are waiting to be filled,” USM President Glenn Cummings said in the release.

The center will be supported by a new 2,700-square-foot interprofessional education facility in the Science Building C Wing on the Portland campus. 

Maine will be without 2,700 essential nursing personnel by 2025, according to estimates. Currently, USM enrolls over 600 graduate and undergraduate nursing students and sends more registered nurses than any other Maine institution into the workforce. 

Courtesy / University of Southern Maine
Seen here is a rendering of the 2,000-square-foot expansion.

In addition to completing the new simulation center, USM will upgrade existing simulation center space, add new faculty and launch online graduate-level programs.

“Simulation labs are an essential component of nursing education,” Brenda Peterson, associate dean of the USM School of Nursing, said in the release. “Students gain hands-on training and experience in a safe, realistic environment, with no risk to patients, bridging the gap between classroom and clinical practice.”

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