Team-Based Training Center for Nursing Students Opens

Updated: 04/18/2013 8:29 PM By: Beth McDonough

Minneapolis is on the cutting edge of medical care.

The University of Minnesota opened its doors to a new state-of-the-art education center for nurses.  They're the critical link between doctors and patients.  The center is hands-on, high-tech and team based.  And, it's fascinating.

In the lab are mannequins.  One in particular represents 32-year-old Isabel.  Her symptoms imitate a real-life health issue, such as an acute asthma attack.  It's a simulated breathing crisis nurses-to-be will deal with one day.

"What intervention can implement to help this patient breathe better and feel better," says Maren Lofthness, an instructor with the University of Minnesota.

900 U of M nursing students train in the sophisticated lab setting to master the increasing demand for advanced medical skills and knowledge. Every scenario is played out.

"Nurses are absolutely essential in ensuring people stay in their homes and can get maximum care there," according to Connie Delaney the Dean, at the School of Nursing.

Sam Smith comes from a family of doctors and nurses.  She always wanted to work in critical care and treat patients with more traumatic injuries.  Even though doctors diagnose, she understands nurses often spend more time with patients than anyone.

Smith is prepping in a place that looks real, feels real, knowing one day all of it will be real. 

The school produces more than half of all the public and private nurses in Minnesota.  It's demanding, challenging and Smith believes, it'll be rewarding.

"You're so important to their health and that is something no one can take away from you," she said.

The Bureau of U.S. Labor Statistics says even though there are 2.5 million nurses right now, they're still in demand.  Employment growth is expected to be 26 percent over the next decade.  And nursing was rated one of the best jobs last year.