Once a week, Westfield State University nursing student Tara Budrewicz ’17 rushes from a two-hour lecture on campus to Noble Hospital in Westfield, where she spends another four hours practicing wound care and other skills on “dummies” in a medical simulation laboratory.
Come fall, Budrewicz and other Westfield State students and faculty will have access to a suite of state-of-the-art laboratories with new equipment in the $33 million Science and Innovation Center currently under construction on campus. The center will provide rooms that mirror real hospital spaces with more—and better—equipment than is available to them now.
The science center will offer critical training for nurses and other medical professionals to meet the growing demand for skilled workers in the health care field.
Besides the convenience of laboratories located on the campus, Budrewicz says she is excited to use new mannequins that will allow her to practice with syringes, take blood pressures, and conduct full body medical assessments. “Having a new building is key for us, because it fills in the gaps between the lecture learning and the real world,” Budrewicz says.
Naomi Cosmus ’18, a biology major, attended an October Hard Hat Luncheon for students, faculty, and alumni, which included a tour of the partially constructed science facility. She was struck by the purposefully designed laboratories and other spaces that will foster an innovative and collaborative learning environment. As part of her studies, Cosmus spends a lot of time in the lab.
“I’m excited about the way the new labs are set up in clusters instead of long desks. That will help us to work better in groups and bounce ideas off each other in a more comfortable way,” says the 19-year-old. “The design of the lab is going to be a big improvement over what we have now.”
With the various science disciplines currently spread out on the campus, Cosmus says the science center will be “a unifying building.” “It’s a way to bring all the sciences together, which is a big theme today of more communication and interdisciplinary professions working together in the sciences,” she adds.