SimMan, a fully computer-operated total body simulator used by University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast nursing faculty to bring more realism into replicated clinical settings for their students, was among the first to call the new 10,000 square foot Nursing Building on the Gulf Park campus in Long Beach home.
“For more than seven years following Hurricane Katrina, we have worked towards fully returning to the Gulf Park campus,” said Dr. Frances Lucas, vice president and campus executive officer at Southern Miss Gulf Coast. “With the new construction and renovation of our science and nursing buildings, plus Lloyd Hall, our students will be educated in state-of-the-art classrooms and laboratories designed to better assist them in their future careers.”
The $1.5 million Nursing Building features two laboratories – one for basic skills and the other for advanced skills, which are central elements to the academic program. The building provides both student learning and study areas. Faculty offices and specific areas for faculty and student interaction, both private and public, have been designed to foster a community-oriented environment.
“Today is a great day as we start the spring semester in our new College of Nursing building on the Gulf Park campus,” said Dr. Katherine Nugent, dean and professor in the College of Nursing. “The new building, which creates an exciting and positive environment for our faculty, staff and students, will also provide us with the space we need to welcome our community partners to interact with us in educating our future nurses.”
In an effort to return from the devastation sustained from Hurricane Katrina in August 2005, Southern Miss Gulf Coast engaged in $26 million in campus renovation projects. Prior to returning to the Gulf Park campus, university operations relocated to a former hospital in Gulfport. While at the interim location, the nursing program utilized the hospital’s intensive care unit to educate nursing students in a more realistic environment. Since that 2005 fall semester, 290 students have graduated from Southern Miss Gulf Coast with their undergraduate degree in nursing.
Southern Miss, who introduced SimMan in fall 2004, was the first university in the state of Mississippi to purchase the $38,000 full-body mannequin. With heart, breath and bowel sounds, SimMan allows students to practice lifesaving clinical, technical and decision-making skills.
Classes for the Southern Miss spring 2013 semester began Monday, January 14, with 66 undergraduate nursing students attending classes at the Gulf Park campus. “We are really excited to have a new building and lab to practice our skills,” said Alyssa Flynn, a senior nursing student from Gulfport.
While Southern Miss Gulf Coast works to complete its return to the Gulf Park campus in Long Beach, enrollment continues to grow beyond the pre-Katrina numbers. For the fall 2012 semester, 3,044 students attended Southern Miss Gulf Coast. The Gulf Park campus, the second of a dual-campus system at the university, is non-residential and serves the six coastal counties of south Mississippi.
For more information about Southern Miss Gulf Coast, visit www.usm.edu/gulfcoast.