April 15, 2009 in City

WSU gives glimpse of nursing education facility

By The Spokesman-Review
Christopher Anderson photo

U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, center, asks a question while touring the new Intercollegiate Nursing Center at the Spokane Riverpoint Campus on Wednesday, April 15, 2009.
(Full-size photo)

Formal dedication of the Nursing Building, 103 E. Spokane Falls Boulevard, will be May 7 at 5 p.m. For information visit http://www.nursing.wsu.edu/dedicationCelebration/.

Washington state doesn’t just need more nurses, it needs more nursing faculty. The Washington State University College of Nursing Building will provide more of both.

On Wednesday, dignitaries including U.S. Sen. Patty Murray and WSU President Elson Floyd toured the new $34.6 million facility built with state dollars on Spokane’s Riverpoint Campus.

In addition, Congress has appropriated about $2.3 million for the project, including funding for distance education and clinical simulation technology, said Patricia Butterfield, dean of the College of Nursing.

In a nod to tax protests Wednesday, Murray called the federal funding for the college “one of those famous earmarks” we’ve heard so much about.

The senator said she could not think of a better way to spend taxpayer dollars. Currently there are not enough people in the health care field. “This facility helps to meet that challenge,” she said.

The 87,516-square-foot facility provides the College of Nursing with the space and technology to train nurses and attract new faculty. Teachers moved into the building in November. Students started taking courses there in January.

Its advanced distance learning classrooms enable faculty in Spokane to teach classes at the College of Nursing’s other sites in Vancouver, Tri-Cities and Yakima.

WSU, in collaboration with the other members of the nursing consortium – Eastern Washington University and Whitworth University – turns out more baccalaureate nurses than any other facility in the state.

The program outgrew the Magnuson Nursing Building, which housed the Intercollegiate College of Nursing on Spokane’s Fort George Wright Drive.

The new building, adjacent to the Health Sciences Building on the Riverpoint Campus, provides easier access to Spokane’s hospitals, clinics and patients, said Anne Hirsch, senior associate dean.

There are 637 nursing students studying in Spokane, including 574 undergraduates.

Kevin Graman can be reached at kevingr@spokesman.com or (509) 459-5433.

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