This Nursing Program Upgraded Its Entire Facility To Create A More Hospital-Like Environment For Students

Nursing School Upgrades

Through an extensive renovation, Illinois Wesleyan University has aligned the physical space of its School of Nursing with the growing need of laboratory and simulation learning for the training of nursing students. The century-old Stevenson Hall was transformed into a facility with a layout that closely resembles that of many major medical centers.

Here are some of the major upgrades:

  • The centrally located nurses’ station in the Nursing Interventions Lab features lifelike manikins laying in one of the five distinct patient care bays.
  • The head wall of each bed is connected to air, power, and suction, with a desk nearby for taking notes.
  • The entire garden level of Stevenson Hall now offers intervention and simulation learning for nursing students. Students are challenged to solve simulated patient events.
  • High-fidelity manikins are developed and programmed by faculty and a simulation expert in order to respond in lifelike fashion to various medical emergencies.
  • The control booth is fitted with video screens wired to cameras installed over patient beds. From inside the booth, the simulation expert observes student responses and decision making.
  • The Jarvis Health Assessment Lab, located on the west end of the garden level, contains six examination tables mimicking a primary care setting.
  • The renovation also created a Pediatric Simulation Lab filled with both pediatric and newborn simulation manikins.
  • Living and sleeping areas in The Home Healthcare Room, also located on the garden level, simulates an apartment for students, where they can practice assessment, ambulatory and other skills in a non-hospital environment.
  • The new Medication Room features a Pyxis Medstation automated medication dispensing system that allows students experience safe handling and dispensing of medications.

Many nursing students enrolled in the program are positive about this upgrade to the facilities, finding that the new look is very realistic in how it simulates a real hospital setting.

Some nursing schools have eliminated specialized clinicals such as pediatrics. We have not, and we believe combining direct patient care opportunities with high fidelity simulations is very important to student learning,” said SON Director Vickie Folse, Ph.D., APN, PMHCNS-BC, LCPC.


According to Dr. Folse, Illinois Wesleyan nursing students, who were looking for a place to gather between classes to mingle or to study, helped design the renovated spaces.

The $2 million project was completed over the summer. About 350 donors including SON faculty and staff, contributed to the fundraising campaign.

Ariel Jacoby
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