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Nursing School plans for future

Students and faculty at the School of Nursing can look forward to a new facility and a new curriculum in upcoming years.
Plans are under way for the M. Christine Schwartz Center for Nursing Education, and revisions to the undergraduate curriculum are also being made to reflect nursing of the future.
“This new space will enable students to network with faculty and the other students,” said Dr. Sharon Pontious, interim dean of the School of Nursing. “We have wonderful faculty and motivated students, and we’ve been creative in using the resources we have now, but this new facility will give us the room we need to better teach our students.”
Development of the M. Christine Schwartz Center for Nursing Education will begin in May 2003 and will be completed by fall of 2004. The four-story building will be located between Allen Hall and the Memorial Building.
“It was a dream of ours to have our own school for a long time,” said Cheryl Quinlivan, director of development at the School of Nursing. “We didn’t think it would be possible. Students are very excited about having their own school.”
So far, the school has raised $11 million of the needed $13 million to fund the development of the new center.
“We’ve received small and large gifts from individuals who have been touched by the role of nurses,” said Quinlivan. “We’re very hopeful that we’ll raise all of our funds.”
The new facility will be the home students and faculty need to progress in nursing education and research.
“he space will allow us to refine health assessment skills,” Pontious said. The new technology will enable students to practice intravenous administration, catheritizations nd injections. The space will also allow faculty to have individual offices.”
The School of Nursing is currently located on the periphery of campus on Red Road, in an old fraternity house that was renovated to facilitate the current school. The facility, however, has become so limited in space that on-site practice labs are exceeding maximum capacity.
“I feel that the current building is too small for the current number of students that attend the School of Nursing,” said Jessica Sikkema, a senior nursing student. “We are also distally located on the campus, so sometimes we feel somewhat unattached to the rest of the school.”
“When we show prospective students and parents our current facility, they wonder why they would be paying UM tuition to attend the school,” Pontious said. “We have no space in the current building.”
Space is so limited that bathrooms have been made into offices for some of the faculty. Academic faculty are also sharing offices, eliminating confidentiality.
Undergraduate classes are taught in the Learning Center and Memorial Building, making it inconvenient for students to take the shuttle back and forth between the School of Nursing and the center of campus.
“The students don’t feel they are a part of campus,” Pontious said. “They’re never in the middle of campus to interact with the other students. They were left out of the yearbook last year because they were not around the UC often enough to see the banners.”
A limited facility has also made it difficult for undergraduate and graduate students to interact with one another and the faculty.
“I think that, the way the building is now, there is no place for nursing students to sit and do homework or hang out,” Minnie Perraza, a junior in the School of Nursing, said. “It’s time for a change.”
The school hopes to emphasize community-based nursing and will develop new majors to be implemented in fall 2003; however, some improvements to the curriculum have already taken effect.
“Last year we didn’t have a tutoring program for math,” said Marie Felix, a junior in the School of Nursing. “We have a tutoring program this year and, because of the program, I’ve been able to increase my math scores.”
A new program will also allow students who have completed their associates or bachelors degree to obtain their masters degree in two-and-a-half years.
The new center will not only benefit current students, but it will help increase the enrollment of students who wish to study nursing at the University.
“Even though I have not seen the specific drawing regarding the layout of the new School of Nursing, I feel thatthis would be a great way to attract more students into a career in nursing,” Sikkema said.
“The program is very hard and you need to study a lot, but I would recommend it to incoming students anyways,” said Felix.
The school currently has about 260 undergraduate and 110 graduate students and is expected to increase to about 500 total students by 2005.
“There are tons of exciting careers in nursing,” Pontious said. “It’s a profession that allows so much flexibility. Nursing is one of the only careers where you are making a difference in somebody’s life and you are getting paid for it. That’s exciting.”

November 15, 2002

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The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami


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The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.