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Western opens innovative new home for Arthur Labatt Family School of Nursing

June 8, 2017

Nursing & FIMS building
The new building that houses Arthur Labatt Family School of Nursing at Western University is a state-of-the-art facility that opened in June, 2017.

Western has officially opened the doors on its new nursing building, a state-of-the-art facility that combines the best of academic learning and clinical education. The Arthur Labatt Family School of Nursing, part of the Faculty of Health Sciences, is academic home to more than 1,200 students.

The new four-storey building — with a total of 130,000-square-feet of space and costing $41 million — features an atrium at the nexus of its two wings and is infused with natural light and plenty of flexible spaces. One wing is the new home to the Faculty of Information and Media Studies.

The wing that houses the nursing-education facility includes more classroom and clinical training space, seminar rooms, graduate student research space and collaborative learning areas.

One key feature is its unique suite of 16 beds that form a simulated hospital setting. There, students can prepare for placements as they learn everything from vaccinations to advanced acute care, with live model “patients” and with computerized mannequins that can be programmed to replicate almost any health ailment or situation.

Nursing student works with a
Nursing Student Rianna Longo (BScN Class of 2018) cares for 'Joanne,' a mannequin programmed to have breast cancer and other ailments as part of the new 16-bed simulation suites in the Arthur Labatt Family School of Nursing.

“We are preparing students not only for practical skills they will need, but equipping them for the comprehensive layers of problem-solving, critical thinking and evidence-based decision-making that are required components of nurses’ daily roles,” said Associate Professor Vicki Smye, director of Western’s nursing program. “We believe that this — coupled with a focus on research, leadership, information management, communication and innovation — helps make us unique among nursing programs in the country.”

Arthur and Sonia Labatt, long-time donors to health education at Western University, opened the building Thursday with a ribbon-cutting and tour. They were awarded honorary doctorates from Western in 2012 and Arthur Labatt was Western University chancellor from 2004 to 2008.  Both are well-known philanthropists whose volunteer work includes arts, culture, health care and environmental causes.

Arthur Labatt praised the facilities and the nursing students who, he said, "have a special passion for their vocation."

This facility brings students physically closer to colleagues at the nearby Arthur and Sonia Labatt Health Sciences Building, which includes closely aligned programs in health and rehabilitation sciences, communication sciences and disorders, health studies, kinesiology, occupational therapy and physical therapy.

“Our health sciences graduates are recognized internationally for their scholarship, professionalism and innovation,” Health Sciences Dean Jayne Garland said. “These new facilities are designed to enhance that legacy, to help transform nursing care in Canada and around the world.”

Garland said, “Buildings, by themselves, don’t make a school excellent. But great buildings can cultivate excellence as they become fertile fields where outstanding research, teaching and scholarship can continue to flourish.”


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