New mood in nursing

School spirit

Nursing faculty, staff and students celebrate program’s elevated status

Eight eager nursing students in blue scrubs watch classmate Kathy Le carefully thread a catheter into the patient. He doesn’t blink when she pokes his vein – he’s a lifelike manikin, as they’re called in the profession.

Undergrad nursing students practice injections in Berk Hall at UCI. Steve Zylius / UCI

When Le, 20, successfully pricks the rubbery arm and hooks up the tubing on one try, her fellow students erupt in spontaneous cheers. “It’s exciting,” she says. “It’s my first time. Getting your techniques down and being confident in yourself is important before you deal with real patients.”

There’s been a lot of cheering at Berk Hall in recent weeks. Building on the highly ranked nursing science program established at UCI a decade ago, the new Sue & Bill Gross School of Nursing was created by the University of California Board of Regents on Jan. 26.

A $40 million gift from the William & Sue Gross Family Foundation means the school will grow rapidly to address a federally identified need for 1.2 million new nurses in the next five years. As baby boomers grow older and veteran caregivers and professors retire, California and other parts of the Southwest are already seeing shortages.

The gift, the largest in campus history, will fund construction of a state-of-the-art facility with dramatically increased classroom and research space. The school also plans to double faculty size and student enrollment in the next 10 years and to expand nurse-managed clinics.

“The mood is ecstatic. The faculty and staff have worked so hard to reach all the important milestones to achieve school status,” said founding Dean Adeline “Adey” Nyamathi. “This will allow us to move forward much more strongly on our vision for the future.” Read more ...