USM to open $2.5M nursing simulation center 

The University of Southern Maine will celebrate the official opening of its new Boyne Family Advanced Simulation and Interprofessional Education Center, a two-floor, state-of-the-art learning space that more than doubles USM’s simulation lab area and will help the University prepare Maine’s next generation of nursing professionals. 

The opening celebration and ribbon cutting will be held at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, April 25 in the Science Building on the University’s Portland Campus. Members of the media will have the opportunity to tour the space, see the simulation lab in action, and interview students and faculty on site.

Located on two floors of the Science Building, the 6,000-square-foot Boyne Center includes a high fidelity nursing simulation lab that replicates both hospital rooms and a home setting, an athletic and physical training teaching lab, and a professional health teaching space to support related health care professions. 

The center’s advanced technology will have the capacity for training in telehealth modalities, such as mobile health monitoring — important for Maine’s rural population. The sim lab also includes virtual reality trainers and interactive, talking patient simulators that are designed for immersive training.

“In healthcare, preventable medical error continues to be a leading cause of death in the U.S. Simulation training provides the opportunity to learn skills in a safe environment, with no risk for patient harm,” said Brenda Petersen, Associate Dean for the School of Nursing. “At USM, we are engaged in innovative approaches through simulation in our new state-of-the-art, high-fidelity interprofessional training center. This expansion has allowed us to grow our capacity in order to graduate more highly trained nurses to help bridge Maine’s nursing gap.”

The $2.5 million Boyne Center is expected to help boost nursing enrollment at USM by 20% over the next five years. The University of Southern Maine has long led the way in graduate and undergraduate nursing education, preparing more RNs than any other Maine institution. With the state’s nursing shortage projected to be 2,700 by 2025, the opening of the Boyne Center is a cause for celebration. 

The Boyne Center was made possible through a generous $1 million gift from the Boyne family. 

“The opening of the Boyne Center is a milestone for our family,” said John Boyne. “It would have meant so much to my father, Dr. Philip J. Boyne, who founded the Boyne Foundation in 2005. For the past two decades, three generations of the family have been committed to making an impact on the nursing profession in Maine through their philanthropic support of scholarships and investments in high-quality training for student nurses.”

John and Candy Boyne’s daughter, Sarah Boyne, graduated from USM’s Nurse Practitioner program in 2008 and is currently practicing in Maine. She and her sister, Jennifer McDonough, have both been instrumental in leading their family’s philanthropy around nursing.

Support for this project was also provided by the citizens of Maine in 2018 and by the 128th Maine Legislature as part of a larger bond investment in University of Maine System workforce development infrastructure. That 2018 workforce bond contributed $1.5 million toward the project. 

University President Jacqueline Edmondson expressed gratitude to the Boyne family, Maine citizens, and the 128th Legislature. 

“We deeply appreciate the generosity of the Boyne family and their ongoing commitment to the School of Nursing at USM. The Boyne Foundation’s $1 million gift to USM, coupled with funds from the 2018 Maine workforce bond, represents a vital investment in healthcare that benefits us all — our nursing students, our University, and our communities,” Edmondson said. “Thank you to the Boyne family and the voters of Maine for making this remarkable center possible.”

To further expand and enhance the sim lab, USM will also receive funding later this year through Congressionally Directed Spending, known commonly as an earmark, secured by Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King in 2022 and 2023 at the request of the University of Maine System.

“While work continues on the scope of that future funding, we hope to even more greatly enhance the Boyne Center through additional state-of-the-art software and equipment,” Petersen said.