GALVESTON, Texas - The School of Nursing at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston has received $500,000 to expand its nursing simulation center from the University of Texas System.

"Expansion of the Nursing Simulation Center will allow us to accommodate educational programs and increased enrollments," said Dean Pamela G. Watson.

The use of simulation in the education of nurses and other health care professionals is a way of managing increased enrollment during a time of faculty shortages. Because of the increasing number of students, the opportunity for actual clinical experience is reduced. The additional space will be used for pediatric, neonatal, infant, emergency, psychiatric and mental health simulations.

The School of Nursing opened two redesigned nursing simulation laboratories in 2002, focusing on primary care and acute care. In 2006, the Hillcrest Birthing Suite was opened to provide students with simulated birthing experience.

According to Patricia Richard, associate dean for education technology, "the additional space will allow us to provide more learning experiences and expanded scenarios for students. Additionally, this expansion will foster recruitment of faculty prepared to incorporate simulation into the curricula of undergraduate and graduate programs as well as provide a training ground for future nurse educators."

The funds are for equipment and renovations and are contingent upon recruitment of three new faculty members through the University of Texas System's Enrich Nursing Through Exceptional Recruitment program. Negotiations are under way to recruit three educators with expertise in nursing simulation.