L-R: Dr. Fred Naider, Gerard Bruno, George Schaefer, Dr. William Fritz, and Dr. Mary O’Donnell

A Simulation Lab for the Education of Nurses in the Care of Older Adults was recently inaugurated with a ribbon-cutting ceremony in Marcus Hall, home of the College of Staten Island Department of Nursing.

 The lab, funded by the Brooklyn Home For Aged Men, is a state-of-the art facility where nursing students can learn about geriatric home care without ever leaving the CSI campus. It is a self-contained lab that completely simulates a room in a nursing home or the home of a potential patient. It is fully furnished with a bed, lavatory, and mannequin, as well as top-of-the line nursing equipment—anything that a practitioner may have in a real-life situation. The room is even furnished with a two-way mirror and video-recording equipment so the nursing students can receive immediate feedback from their instructors.   

“The Simulation Lab will help keep CSI as a leader in nursing education and will benefit generations of residents of the Island and the entire region,” said CSI Interim President Dr. William Fritz in his welcome remarks. 

The construction of the lab was made possible by a grant of $100,000 from the Brooklyn Home For Aged Men, represented at the ribbon cutting by George Schaefer, Gerard Bruno, and Erika Hellstrom. They were joined by  President Fritz, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Fred Naider, Chair of the CSI Nursing Department Dr. Mary O’Donnell, and other College representatives.

“Having access to a simulation lab is a wonderful experience to have as a nursing student. It offers us a safe place to learn in a hands-on, real-life environment without negatively impacting the care of a living patient. Being able to video-tape the experience provides valuable feedback in assessing our ability to provide holistic care,” remarked Laura Lund, a student in the Nursing program.

Nora Maloney, a Lecturer for the Nursing Department, guided attendees on a tour of the lab and discussed the importance of such a facility. “Most elderly patients are choosing to stay in their homes,” she told attendees. “Students will learn how to care for patients as well as monitor their daily needs; this is very important,” she stressed. “Many illnesses elderly patients have need to be monitored very closely.”  

President Fritz took the ribbon-cutting event as an opportunity to also recognize the achievements of Blythe Finn, Paula Ramsey, and Dora Ann Asuncion-Colonna, nursing students who were recently awarded scholarships by the Brooklyn Home For Aged Men. 

Finn, who attended the ribbon cutting, was awarded the George Schaefer Scholarship and was able to speak with the man for whom the award was named. “This scholarship means more than anything,” said the Nursing Master’s student.  “It means that I am a valuable member of the CSI community, which is something I am very proud of.” She also noted the value of having the simulation lab on campus. “This is going to be so great for future nurses, she said. “More and more people are going into hospice care or home care—the future is self-assessment.”

The Brooklyn Home For Aged Men has supported CSI’s Nursing program with several grants. This financial dedication was echoed by Mr. George Schaefer in his remarks, “the best part of this facility is not the equipment we see here.  The best part is the dedicated faculty who will be teaching here. I have seen the instructors and professors at work: for them, this is more than a job…it is a calling.”