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College of Nursing Benefits from Multi-Million Dollar Gift from Intermountain Healthcare


Gift totals $3 million to nursing and $250,000 to Health Sciences Education Building

Salt Lake City - University of Utah officials today announced a $3 million gift from Intermountain Healthcare to the University's College of Nursing. The gift will provide funding for the renovation of the nursing building and creation of a new simulation center. The center will be named in honor of Intermountain Healthcare.

The announcement marks the launch of the college's $8.5 million Building for the Future of Nursing Education campaign. The money will be used to renovate nursing's existing building and expand the simulation learning facility.

We hope that Intermountain can always be a strong partner in support of the University's indispensable medical education programs, said Charles W. Sorenson, M.D., executive vice president and chief operating officer of Intermountain Healthcare. We appreciate the dedicated nurses who work in hospitals and clinics throughout the state, and our donation underscores our commitment to nursing as a profession and to nurses as individuals.

Sorenson noted that $3 million of the contribution will be used for renovation of the nursing building. In addition, Intermountain Healthcare will donate another $250,000 to enhance the clinical skills suite in the Spencer F. and Cleone P. Eccles Health Sciences Education Building.

We are pleased to have Intermountain Healthcare as our partner as they share our vision and commitment to responding to the health care needs of the citizens of this region by providing outstanding educational experiences for tomorrow's health care providers, said A. Lorris Betz, senior vice president for health sciences and executive dean of the University's School of Medicine.

The College of Nursing's new, state-of-the-art Intermountain Healthcare Simulation Center will provide more than 10,600 square feet of training space, more than double its current size, for the training and testing of students' clinical and decision-making skills in realistic patient-care scenarios. Features of the simulation center include three medical/surgical patient care rooms, one medical-surgical/maternity room, a critical-care room, and one pediatric room where nursing students will be able to practice physical assessments, cardiac monitoring, intravenous access, surgical dressing changes and other invasive procedures. Four other rooms will be dedicated to human patient simulators-life-size mannequins that mimic a range of critical conditions, as well as acute injuries and chronic illnesses.

According to Maureen R. Keefe, R.N., Ph.D., dean of the College of Nursing and presidential endowed professor of nursing, the use of simulated situations enables students to test and hone their knowledge in a hands-on, risk-free environment. Students learn to manage patient scenarios, engage in critical thinking, and develop competence in clinical care settings, which directly impacts patient safety and the quality of health care delivered by these students, she said.

Keefe noted that the current simulation center is outdated, reminiscent of an old hospital ward. Since a simulation center's purpose is to depict real-life situations, we are excited to be able to improve our facility to be more reflective of today's health care environment and give our students a setting equivalent to regular patient care units in hospitals that feature private rooms and intensive care units, she said.

During the 2005-2006 school year, more than 250 undergraduate and 200 graduate nursing students will spend time in the current simulation center. In addition to use by students and faculty, the center's resources and space are available for use by nurse educators to train and certify hospital nursing staff.

As the growing need for nurses has created a strong job market, some estimates project that by 2020, the United States will have a 20 percent shortage in the number of nurses needed. According to Keefe, the ultimate impact of this project will be the University's increased ability to prepare more nursing faculty who will be responsible for educating future nurses. This gift ensures that future nurses will receive an excellent education, Keefe said.

The University of Utah College of Nursing celebrates and showcases the best in nursing education, research, and practice.

As the state's flagship nursing college, the U's College of Nursing is the only program in Utah to offer a doctoral-level degree program and graduate preparation for nursing educators. Students can select from three baccalaureate program options, a master's degree with 14 specialty areas, and two doctoral program degree options. For more information, visit


Chantelle Turner, U of U Health Sciences Public Affairs, 801-581-7387

Jason Mathis, Intermountain Healthcare, 801-442-3104