SAU's new Health Sciences Center welcomes students


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Posted Online: Aug. 11, 2010, 6:52 pm
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By Nicole Lauer, nlauer@qconline.com
DAVENPORT -- St. Ambrose University's new Health Sciences Education Center opened its doors this week to its first students.

The $11.5 million center is at Lombard and Marquette streets on the southeast corner of Genesis Medical Center. It unites the university's occupational therapy, physical therapy and nursing departments under one roof.

Although a building dedication is planned Aug. 26, U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, and Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, got a tour of the facility Wednesday. Sen. Harkin, who secured $1.6 million for the center's construction, said it was an excellent public-private partnership with SAU and Genesis, which provided more than $2 million through a land gift and financial donation from the hospital's foundation.

Sen. Harkin said the center was vital in meeting future health care needs.

"We have a shortage of health care professionals in this country, and we're going to have a bigger shortage in the future," he said.

About 400 students will attend the new center each week, according to Sandy Cassady, associate dean of SAU's College of Education and Health Sciences. The building has seven classrooms and 10 laboratories that replicate health care settings.

Previously, the three programs housed in the center were spread across campus with little opportunity to work together, said Ms. Cassady. Some facilities were in less-than-ideal locations, such as the nursing program in the old print shop near the campus book store.

The new center offers plenty of room for additional SAU students in the programs, she said. Ms. Cassady added she hopes to expand the center's "sim family," or patient simulators that let nursing students practice treatments. The center has about eight of the simulators, both adult and children, that function at various levels.

Using the simulators, students can practice taking a pulse, reading blood pressures and checking for breathing and bowel sounds. Ms. Cassady said she hopes to buy more simulators -- which start $20,000 and $30,000 for the most basic version -- and even acquire one that gives birth.

Askills lab that looks like a hospital ward hosts many of the simulators. In another portion of the center, the home health lab -- an apartment complete with laundry, a kitchen and a bedroom -- lets students practice teaching patients life skills and help those in need. Other areas are equipped with physical therapy equipment.




















 



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