The University of Southern Maine is poised to increase the capacity of its School of Nursing, thanks to an investment of $2.5 million in public and private funds. With this investment, the university will double the size of its nursing simulation space over the next five years, helping to address Maine's critical nursing gap.
The planned expansion will be funded by $1.5 million in bond money and an additional $1 million from the Boyne family, longtime supporters of USM's School of Nursing. The Boyne gift will enable USM to fully build out a new 2,000 SF simulation center, with a supporting 2,700 SF interprofessional education facility in the Science Building C Wing on the Portland campus. In recognition, USM will name the new center the Boyne Family Advanced Nursing Simulation Center.
Announcing the Boyne's $1 million gift, USM President Glenn Cummings said, "We deeply appreciate the generosity of the Boyne family and their ongoing commitment to the School of Nursing at USM. The completion of the new nursing simulation center will help expand enrollment opportunities in one of our signature academic programs, increase hands-on experiences for students, and ultimately send more qualified nurses into the Maine workforce where vacancies are waiting to be filled."
Maine's nursing shortage, projected to be 2,700 by 2025, was among the most compelling reasons why Maine voters approved a $25 million bond investment in USM in November 2018. Currently, USM enrolls over 600 graduate and undergraduate nursing students and sends more RNs than any other Maine institution into the workforce. In addition to completing the new simulation center, USM will upgrade existing "sim lab" space, add new faculty and launch online graduate-level programs.
"Simulation Labs are an essential component of nursing education," said Brenda Peterson, PhD, MSN, RN, Associate Dean of the USM School of Nursing. "Students gain hands-on training and experience in a safe, realistic environment, with no risk to patients, bridging the gap between classroom and clinical practice. This new, advanced facility will provide a major competitive advantage for USM, helping to attract high-quality students and provide innovative, interprofessional student learning experiences in state-of-the-art environments."