A $2 million gift to the Fran and Earl Ziegler College of Nursing at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center paves the way for expansion and technical innovations at a time when nursing education has never been more vital. The donation makes possible a more than $5 million budget that includes contributions by OU and other groups. The gift will fund a project to expand the previously funded Forni Clinic, adding a first-of-its-kind simulation center, a state-of-the-art clinical assessment lab and a universal-design apartment home for nursing students’ education. The budget also includes an endowment to sustain the learning space in perpetuity.
“We are incredibly thankful for this extraordinary gift, which will enhance a learning space that expertly prepares OU nursing students to have an immediate impact on those in their care,” said OU President Joseph Harroz Jr. “For more than 100 years, OU nurses have actively fulfilled our university’s core purpose of changing lives. This gift to expand the Forni Clinic will broaden this work even further, supporting our efforts to transform health care in Oklahoma, and beyond, through education, research and clinical care.”
The Forni Clinic is located on the second floor of the OU College of Nursing and simulates an outpatient clinic with seven rooms equipped with examination tables, diagnostic equipment, desks and cabinetry to foster learning and clinical skills development. This gift will expand the clinic to provide students with a 21st century learning experience. The design of the proposed expansion will further replicate a clinical environment, including a state-of-the-art electronic medical record learning center. Each area will be equipped with video recording capabilities to support student learning and clinical evaluation.
An external consultant’s recent evaluation of the college’s use of simulation along with the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic brought to light the great need to expand the Forni Clinic.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has presented unique challenges for nursing programs nationwide, as access to clinical environments has become limited, albeit necessary,” said Julie Hoff, dean of the OU College of Nursing. “This transformational gift will be used to create a top-tier learning environment, ensuring that the OU College of Nursing not only remains competitive but that our graduates are prepared for the real-world experiences they will face as frontline health care professionals.”
The expanded Forni Clinic, including the proposed simulation center, clinical assessment lab and home environment, will serve as a multi-function learning setting where students can practice procedural skills and conduct complex patient scenarios in a simulated hospital, clinic or home location using human patient simulators, static mannequins or standardized patients. These state-of-the-art facilities will also enable faculty to better prepare students for complex, fast-paced and rare situations when seconds count to ensure optimal health outcomes.
The expansion will increase the quality and use of simulation across the curriculum and encompass the entire continuum of care, including telehealth, point-of-care testing and remote patient monitoring that will enhance students’ abilities to integrate new technologies in the management and care of individuals and families, both face-to-face and remotely. Together, the Forni Clinic, simulation center, clinical assessment lab and home environment will provide nursing students with a modern, safe setting to build clinical competence, self-confidence, reflective practice, teamwork and inter-professional collaboration using real-life situations and without risking harm to others.
This investment by the anonymous donor will drive the vision and strategy that will continue OU’s pursuit of clinical, educational and research excellence at both the state and national levels. The expansion also exhibits OU’s commitment to convergent research, a strategy outlined in OU’s research strategic framework aimed at tackling complex problems that impact our society by working across academic disciplines.
The Fran and Earl Ziegler College of Nursing at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center is the largest nursing program in Oklahoma, with more than 12,000 alumni and an annual enrollment of approximately 725 undergraduate and graduate students. The College of Nursing leverages its location at the OU Health Sciences Center campus where training opportunities across a diverse clinical landscape are present at Oklahoma’s only comprehensive academic health system — OU Heath.
To make a contribution supporting the Ziegler College of Nursing expansion, visit link.ou.edu/nursingsim.
About the University of Oklahoma
Founded in 1890, the University of Oklahoma is a public research university located in Norman, Oklahoma. OU serves the educational, cultural, economic and health care needs of the state, region and nation. For more information visit www.ou.edu.
About the Fran and Earl Ziegler College of Nursing at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center
The Fran and Earl Ziegler College of Nursing at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, in partnership with OU Health, is nationally recognized, offering bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral level programs to those interested in starting or advancing a career in the profession of nursing. With locations in Oklahoma City, Tulsa and Lawton, the college is the state’s largest nursing program and is dedicated to continuing the leadership and academic excellence that have become synonymous with the University of Oklahoma. The OU College of Nursing is part of the OU Health Sciences Center, a leader in education, research and patient care and one of only four comprehensive academic health centers in the nation with seven professional colleges. To find out more, visit nursing.ouhsc.edu.