BGSU commences new era of health care education with opening of nursing facility

Aug. 17, 2021

BOWLING GREEN, Ohio - Today, Bowling Green State University ushered in a new era of health care education that has been a half-century in the making.

The BGSU School of Nursing, in the College of Health and Human Services (HHS), had a ribbon-cutting to celebrate the official opening of Central Hall, the home to the nursing program. Central Hall — the former Business Administration Annex that was renovated for $3 million — is just the latest development in the University’s nursing program.

"As a public university for the public good, BGSU is steadfast in its commitment to create, enhance and invest in academic programs and facilities that educate students to have successful careers and meet workforce demands, especially in nursing and other health-related fields," BGSU President Rodney K. Rogers said. “This facility, and the creation of the School of Nursing, leverages the strengths in these disciplines and will better serve our students and communities in Ohio and beyond."

This summer, the baccalaureate degree program in nursing at BGSU received accreditation by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program was conditionally approved by the Ohio Board of Nursing on March 17.

“We are poised for the greatest chapter yet in the 50-year history of BGSU as an innovative leader in nursing education,” HHS Dean Jim Ciesla said. “Our new BSN curriculum, taught by outstanding BGSU faculty in our state-of-the-art Central Hall facility, will be a big win for BGSU, furthering its mission to create public good while positioning our students for professional and life success.”

Perfect time to address nursing shortage

The BGSU School of Nursing moves into Central Hall in time to welcome the BSN program’s first cohort of around 45 students, as well as another 125 pre-nursing students who will begin their nursing education this fall.

The expansion of the BGSU School of Nursing portfolio is much needed to help address a long-standing nursing shortage in Ohio and the nation. This expansion and the move to Central Hall comes after 2020 was deemed the “Year of the Nurse” amid the global COVID-19 pandemic, with a wider and deeper appreciation for nurses serving on the front lines of our nation’s response to the unprecedented public health crisis.

Construction within the former B.A. Annex began last September after the Allen W. and Carol M. Schmidthorst College of Business moved to its new home in the Robert W. and Patricia A. Maurer Center. Second floor computer labs were moved to the first floor before the third and second floors were renovated to make room for the School of Nursing’s simulation center and skills lab, featuring entirely new construction.

The first floor includes classrooms along with the relocated computer labs. The second floor houses the simulation center, which was supported by a generous donation from the Wood County Hospital Foundation. It features five computerized manikins: a newborn, a child, an adult, a birthing mom and a geriatric model. Four simulation rooms mimic a hospital environment to provide students with realistic patient care scenarios that help them gain clinical judgment skills. 

The third floor contains a 19-bed skills lab space in which students learn to care for patients and develop psychomotor skills. The lab space features a full complement of audio/visual equipment to assist students in guided reflection and debriefing, and will be open to students any time of day to practice skills learned in the classroom, critical in the development of each student's success.

Renovations also have been made to the office spaces in Central Hall. The third floor now houses the College of Arts and Sciences, Office of Institutional Research, and the Office of Institutional Effectiveness, along with School of Nursing administrative offices.

School of Nursing fills a critical need at a critical time

Dr. Shelly Bussard, director of the School of Nursing, said that BGSU is at the forefront of current trends in health care with its focus on clinical judgment skills.

“Our mission is to develop clinical judgment skills in our students with a new, innovative curriculum taught by highly qualified faculty in a technologically sophisticated facility," Bussard said. "I want our graduates to stand out for their exceptional clinical judgment and amazing patient care, where people will recognize in them as BGSU graduates.”

The expansion of the BGSU School of Nursing and bringing BSN classes and labs to the Bowling Green campus come at a particularly favorable time in light of a growing nursing shortage in Ohio and the nation. Industry and U.S. labor statistics reveal that nursing remains one of the fastest-growing segments in the country. Registered nursing (RN) is listed among the top occupations in terms of job growth through 2029, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ employment projections.

The new home of the School of Nursing at Central Hall has been designed to facilitate a new curriculum that aligns with the latest trends in health care, which will translate into BGSU students’ success.

“So much of this program is new and exciting, and it is a transformational moment in the life of the College of Health and Human Services and BGSU,” said Tom Gorman, assistant dean of HHS. “Since the initiation of the consortium with the Medical College of Ohio in 1971, at the time a very innovative step in nursing education, BGSU has been committed to providing well-educated nurses to the region and beyond.”

The prospect of finishing their degree program with University faculty on the Bowling Green campus has many students excited to be among the nation’s best trained nurses.

“The faculty is excellent here and my professors are always willing to help and have gone out of their way to make things go smoothly for me and the other nursing students,” Tanzi Buchan ’23 said. “I’m looking forward to taking classes and labs right here on campus."

Updated: 08/17/2021 04:12PM