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USM Nursing Opens New Simulation Center

The patient's chest rises and falls with the sound of his breath. The pulse is uneven. Fluid bags drip liquids into the arm. The patient speaks, groans and even has heart attacks. But that's okay, because the patient will recover from those and other health care issues within a few minutes.

The patient is a computerized, robotic mannequin, one of several that have been "admitted" into the USM School of Nursing's new Learning Resources and Simulation Center. The center is set up to simulate a hospital unit and give students the chance to get as close as possible to the real thing.

The USM School of Nursing is hosting a grand opening celebration in the new Learning Resources and Simulation Center from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., Thursday, November 3, in Masterton Hall on USM’s Portland campus. The celebration is free and open to the public. For information and directions, contact the School of Nursing at 207-780-4063.

The new Simulation Center has four patient rooms with a control center between each of the two rooms. Computers located in the control room control the mannequins. One-way glass allows for viewing of the health care scenarios as they evolve in the patient rooms. In addition, students and faculty will now have the capability to record or show live simulations as they occur in a new debriefing room.

The use of realistic, simulated health-care situations allows more students to become better accustomed to acute-care situations before they actually begin their real-world clinical placements. Research has shown that nursing students who engage in simulation instruction have greater retention of knowledge and skills and demonstrate more self-confidence.    

The Center was made possible through a federal earmark of $775,000 secured by Senators Collins and Snowe and Congresswoman Pingree.

The renovations also include the new Fundamentals Lab. The lab is a fully supplied, five-bed patient care unit, equipped for nursing students to learn complete and competent patient care.

The USM School of Nursing is the largest nursing education program in Maine, with 545 majors at the undergraduate and graduate levels, including a new Doctor of Nursing Practice degree.  

For more information about the new Learning Resources and Simulation Center, contact Janis Childs, Ph.D., R.N., professor and director of the Learning Resources and Simulation Center, 207-780-4063,

Photo and Caption:

USM Nursing Students at work in the Simulation Center.