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UNCP opens 'work of art' health building

By Kelly Mayo
Managing Editor

August 30, 2012


Photo by Hillary Akers
The ceremony held on Aug. 14 marked the grand opening of the new Health Sciences Building, allowing for students and guests to tour the new state-of-the-art building for the first time.

After members of the UNCP and Robeson County communities cut the ribbon to officially open the Health Sciences Building on Aug. 14, several nursing professors took guests on a tour of the University's new $29 million investment.

The first floor featured classrooms, storage rooms and a food court with Papa John's pizza and Einstein Brothers Bagels.

The second floor held the Clinical Learning Center.

Guests explored four simulation labs featuring bed-ridden mannequins who breathed, sweated and blinked like real patients. Each lab also featured a classroom area with a Smart Board.

The Basic Skills room featured adult "patients" with whom nursing students can practice feeding, bed-making and other day-to-day functions. Clinical Assistant Professor Antonia Clark also showed guests the room's computer which stores patients' medical histories.

Guests who visited the Advanced Care room next door met Bobby, a sweating mannequin connected to a monitor that tracked his vital signs.

The tour also stopped at the Maternal/Newborn Lab. Assistant Professor Michelle McEwan displayed a pregnant mannequin with whom students can simulate an actual birthing procedure. The mannequin was hooked to a monitor which tracked contractions and heartbeats, and could detect problems during delivery.

The lab's Neonatal area housed tables with baby mannequins, including one in an incubator.

In the Pediatric Lab, the tour group met Sam, a child "patient" wearing a UNCP football jersey. Unlike the other mannequins, he talked to the group, answering "Yes, ma'am" when a guest asked if he had been hurt while playing football.

Photo by Hillary Akers
Assistant Professor Jennifer Twaddell introduces children to Sam, a "patient" in the Pediatric Lab of the Health Sciences Building on Aug. 14. Sam talked from his bed with visitors about his injuries.
Guests then stopped at the Advanced Health room, where students will learn how to make clinical decisions, analyze data and make medical assessments. Every undergraduate, graduate and licensing nursing student will eventually visit Advanced Health, according to nursing staff.

Rounding out the second floor were the Psychiatric Suite and the Brenda A. Brooks Home Simulation Apartment. The Psychiatric Suite featured four furnished rooms where students can practice group therapy, private interviews and treatments for mental-health patients.

Assistant Professor Thelma Floyd said that respect and suspension of preconceptions about mental-health patients are stressed to students seeking to work with them.

The simulation apartment featured a washer and dryer, kitchen, bedroom, living room and bathroom. Here students may practice making home visits to disabled or elderly patients, according to Clinical Assistant Professor Joyce Beard.

Jane Barea, the building's interior designer, emphasized the building's sustainability by showing how a rocking chair in one lab was made with recycled truck straps. After the tour, she praised the final product.

"I'm thrilled with it, especially the simulation labs. It turned out just like I wanted it to," Barea said.

Donna Lowry, a member of the UNCP Board of Trustees, said general contractors Adolfson & Peterson Construction did "a phenomenal job." Katie Pepper, the contractors' marketing director, said the building was "amazing" and "looks like a real medical facility."

Chancellor Kyle Carter praised the effectiveness of the Health Sciences Building.

"The most important thing is the learning environment," he said. "By the time our students graduate, they'll already have been in a hospital."

Photo by Hillary Akers Photo by Hillary Akers Photo by Hillary Akers
A painted turtle with the Lumbee Tribal Symbol lies in the lobby of the Health Sciences Building. Provost Ken Kitts called the building "a work of art." An infant mannequin lies in the Neonatal room of the Health Sciences Building. A pregnant "patient" lies in bed in the Advanced Care room of the Health Sciences Building. Nursing students can simulate a real-life birthing procedure with the mannequin.

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