Need for Nurses Leads to Expansion

When Penn State Behrend’s nursing graduates walked across the stage this past May, they all had jobs waiting for them.

It’s not easy: Behrend nursing students must meet high grade-point average standards and put in many hours practicing clinical and critical thinking skills before doing rotations at Erie-area medical facilities.

Recognizing the demand for nurses locally and nationally, Behrend is expanding its nursing labs with the help of two grants from The Orris C. Hirtzel and Beatrice Dewey Hirtzel Memorial Foundation, totalling $900,000.

The increased space will allow for the admission of eighty B.S.N. students this fall, beyond the fifty of previous years. The program’s existing simulation lab with full-body programmable simulation mannequins will be moved to a larger space that will allow for three sim bays.

“Two labs will be medical/surgical and one will be OB/neonatal, but with the option of changing one of the med-surg labs to pediatrics or mental health or any other specialty,” Streiff said.

Activities in the sim labs will be broadcast into a classroom next door, so students can learn from the experiences of one another. As part of the expansion, the previous sim lab space will become a larger nursing skills lab.

“These changes will allow for more access, greater flexibility, and a larger number of students who can use the labs at one time,” Streiff said. “We are very excited about it.”