Sen. Reed announces $282,000 for School of Nursing lab

RIC’s School of Nursing has received a $282,150 federal appropriation for a major upgrade of its clinical laboratory. On Nov. 30, U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-R.I.) joined RIC President Nancy Carriuolo and Jane Williams, dean of the School of Nursing, to announce the funding, which Reed secured to upgrade the school’s simulated learning laboratory. The funds will transform the lab into a state-of-the-art facility that replicates a real-world clinical environment.

Dean Jane Williams, RIC President Nancy Carriuolo and Sen. Jack Reed speak at the
appropriation ceremony.
“At a time when Rhode Island and the nation are facing a shortage of nurses, this federal funding will help RIC bring more highly-skilled nursing graduates into the workforce and improve patient care,” said Reed, a member of Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services and Education, who secured the funding in the fiscal year 2009 Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Act.

“We want to give nursing students the best, most realistic learning environment possible. This funding will provide students with practical training and allow them to hone their skills on the latest health monitoring technology,” added Reed.

“The college is proud to be Sen. Reed’s partner in providing the best health care possible to Rhode Island’s citizens,” said Carriuolo.

Classrooms in the Fogarty Life Science Building will be transformed to reproduce patient care settings adaptable to a wide range of conditions, including a basic hospital unit, critical care area, birthing area, and a health assessment section.

Reed and Judy Murphy discuss simulation technology.
Additional technology is needed to teach simulated exercises in the nursing lab, so students will learn by practicing, Williams said.

“By advocating for this funding, Sen. Reed contributed to the advancement of the nursing program at Rhode Island College and is ensuring high-quality education for future nurses,” she said.

The funding will also help RIC purchase patient simulators and manikins to teach clinical skills and critical thinking, while allowing students to practice and build confidence before working with a real patient. Students will use this equipment in patient scenarios that resemble authentic experiences in the clinical setting.

The RIC School of Nursing currently has 450 students enrolled in the undergraduate program. More than 100 graduate from the program annually, and 90 percent of these graduates assume initial employment in Rhode Island hospitals and other health care institutions.

The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) estimates a shortage of 200,000 full-time licensed nurses. By 2020, the shortage will grow to over one million.

“This is a response to the inevitable,” Reed said.