Groundbreaking held for simulation hospital 

A groundbreaking ceremony for a building that will help usher in a new era of nursing education was held Thursday at Pittsburg State University. 

A nearly $7 million simulation hospital, funded by private gifts initiated by donors after learning of the need, is being built as an addition to McPherson Hall, home to the Irene Ransom Bradley School of Nursing. It's planned for completion in August 2023. 

“This moment marks a milestone in the history of Pittsburg State University and the history of health care in this region,” said Kathleen Flannery, vice president for university advancement and President/CEO of the PSU Foundation, to a crowd that included a large cohort of nursing students, as well as supporters, faculty, staff, nursing alumni, community members, and local leaders.  

 Groundbreaking audience

The project will include new construction of an approximately 10,000-square feet addition, plus targeted renovations of approximately 14,000 square feet in the existing building. It will accommodate cohorts of 120 students; currently, there are 90. 

Highlights will include associated control rooms, a debriefing room, a waiting area, and a study area, all outfitted with state-of-the-art simulation equipment, that will allow students to take that valuable experience to clinical sites and places of employment after graduation. 

sim hospital 2

PSU Foundation Board of Trustees Chair and School of Nursing graduate Lynda Banwart said nurses must be prepared to handle the increasing demand of sicker patients, new technologies, and care environments that are ever-changing, and the simulation hospital will assist faculty in preparing students for that. 

“It will change the student experience,” said Dean Mary Carol Pomatto, who noted that demand for qualified nurses has increased as a result of the pandemic. “This will provide an amazing hands-on learning environment and allow instructors to stage real-life scenarios.” 

President Scott thanked supporters and donors who made it possible: 

  • Gene Bicknell and the Rita J. Bicknell Women’s Health Fund, who created the Nightingale Endowment to support future needs of the simulation hospital through the Community Foundation of Southeast Kansas, represented by Gail Deatherage of the Rita J. Bicknell Women’s Giving Circle 
  • Tracey Mussa and Carrie Amershek, trustees of the John U. Parolo Educational Trust 
  • Paula Baker, President and CEO of Freeman Health System, which provides clinical and internship experiences to PSU nursing students and has financially supported the School of Nursing 
  • The late Dr. Fay Bradley, a PSU Foundation Trustee, whose gift in memory of his mother helped rebrand the nursing department as the Irene Ransom Bradley School of Nursing 

“All of these individuals saw the need in this region for qualified health care professionals, saw how nurses can impact lives through their care, and they saw the potential in the School of Nursing, the faculty, and its students,” Scott said. 

He also thanked architect Steve Clark with Clark-Huesemann; Daniel Lacy, vice president of McCown Gordon Construction; Lindell Haverstic, university architect; and Director of Nursing Cheryl Giefer for their leadership and vision.