Maria College, continuing to be on the cutting edge, unveiled a state-of-the-art nursing, teaching and learning facility last week.

Located in the McAuley building at 308 South Manning Blvd, the $1 million, 6,500 square foot renovation will enhance opportunities for the development of skills and critical thinking for nursing students. 

“Maria nurses are leading the way in our region with significant contributions to improving patient care and building healthier communities,” President Dr. Thomas Gamble said. “The Maria nursing advantage lies within the legacy of the Sisters of Mercy and mission of Maria College — to instill in graduates a respect for the dignity of each person and the ability to transform learned skills into caring service.

“To ensure that our academic programs meet evolving health care needs, we are in the midst of a strategic expansion plan that includes this new high-tech nursing education center. In Maria’s 60 year history, the College has earned an excellent reputation for educating generations of nurses and health professionals who are using their skills and compassion to change lives.” 

“As student nurses progress in the program, it is important to develop their critical thinking by transferring theory to practice in the laboratory setting,” Dr. Victoria Callagan, associate chair of Nursing for Curriculum, said. “The National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses® (NCLEX-RN) measures competencies required to perform safely and effectively using critical thinking skills as a newly licensed, entry level registered nurse. 
“Maria associate degree nursing (ADN) graduates consistently achieve above average exam pass rates; the 2018 NCLEX-RN pass rate was 95.69 percent. The newly developed facilities will be instrumental in continuing to promote the achievement of successful outcomes.” 

The new space houses a nurse’s station, a medication room, two skills labs, a simulation suite, and two debriefing classrooms. Skills development is foundational for novice nursing students. Faculty will provide instruction in one of two well-designed skills labs equipped with new manikins, supplies, and WOWS (workstations on wheels) that simulate documentation and medication administration. The addition of a second skills lab will offer students increased opportunities for independent practice. 

A simulation suite in the new center will offer students the opportunity to practice what they learned in the classroom and apply it to real life scenarios in a safe environment. Cutting edge technology includes a control room for faculty with two-way viewing and videotaping capability. A family of manikins in the suite including a manikin that gives birth, an infant, a child and two adults can be programmed for a variety of learning opportunities that align with classroom instruction. The debriefing classroom offers students a space to reflect on the simulation experience and participate in the discovery of new knowledge with their peers. 

The McAuley renovation is part of a nearly $4 million expansion of Maria’s health professions programs. The project will address structural needs and capacity limitations at three buildings on campus and provide more registered professional nurses (RNs) with the opportunity to meet New York State requirements. Empire State Development (ESD) is supporting this expansion through a $250,000 performance-based capital grant.