U of M Opens New Nursing Simulation Center

Bentson Healthy Communities Innovation Center
U of M Opens New Nursing Simulation Center

Funded privately, center engages tomorrow’s nurses in team-based, high tech care

MINNEAPOLIS/ST. PAUL (April 16, 2013) – On Thursday, April 18, 2013, the University of Minnesota’s School of Nursing will open a new, state-of-the art education center for nursing and other health professional students. The center will provide students with unprecedented opportunities to engage in complex simulated health scenarios in interprofessional teams, use sophisticated telehealth technology and learn emerging health records technology.

The facility will be called the Bentson Healthy Communities Innovation Center, named to honor the lead gift made by the Bentson Foundation, which contributed $3.7 million to the $7.8 million dollar project. A $1 million gift from the United Health Foundation and other generous donations enabled rapid construction, which began in May 2012.

Bentson Foundation board members attended the April 18 dedication of the Bentson Healthy Communities Innovation Center in the School of Nursing. The From left Judi Dutcher, Mark Niblick, Laurie Bentson Kauth, Kim Bentson Kauth and Steve Grosser.


“We are committed to helping reshape nursing education to meet the dramatic demand for advanced nursing skills and knowledge, and to empower nurses with new technologies that expand health care access to traditionally underserved populations,” said Laurie Bentson Kauth, chair of the Bentson Foundation.

Designed with guidance from an interdisciplinary group of healthcare and design professionals, the 11,000 square foot simulation center features 38 remotely controlled video cameras, interactive video conferencing capability, a medication-dispensing technology room, simulated intensive care, hospital, nursing home, clinic and home care environments.

“Nursing today can play a pivotal role in health care reform,” said Connie White Delaney, Ph.D., R.N., dean of the School of Nursing. “We look forward to sharing the facility with community and educational partners to advance the effectiveness of health care providers and systems.”  

The School of Nursing’s nearly 900 undergraduate and graduate students can record and critique their individual learning activities involving high-tech, remotely-controlled mannequins that simulate actions like breathing and responses to nursing interventions and treatment.

“We are being exposed to new technologies that programs across the country just don’t have and the advancements are really stunning to nurses like my mom, who did not have this technology or interdisciplinary focus when they were in school,” said Gretchen Johnson, a sophomore in the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program and Fergus Falls native.

The center’s open and airy design supports involvement of students from multiple disciplines, working in teams to address patient needs. The environment’s curved walls, earth tones and scenes of nature incorporate what researchers have learned about the impact of design on patient well-being.

Media are welcome to attend the center dedication and naming celebration. Nursing students and faculty will be conducting simulated learning demonstrations. Speakers include Frank Cerra, M.D., senior vice president emeritus for Health Sciences at the University of Minnesota; and Connie White Delaney, dean and professor for the School of Nursing.

What: Dedication and naming of new School of Nursing educational center, interviews, demonstrations When: April 18, 2013, 3 p.m. brief program, tours and demonstrations to follow Where: University of Minnesota School of Nursing, 4th Floor, Weaver-Densford Hall, 308 Harvard Street SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455. Parking in Washington Avenue ramp. Television parking arranged off Delaware Street, by 3rd floor entrance.

About the School of Nursing

The University of Minnesota School of Nursing is ranked among the nation’s top nursing schools. It is a leader in nursing research and produces 55 percent of the faculty in Minnesota’s public and private nursing schools, advanced practice nurses and nurses who can assume leadership positions. It is the oldest continuously-operated, university-based school of nursing. The School of Nursing is one of six schools and colleges in the Academic Health Center, one of the most comprehensive facilities for health professionals in the nation, fostering interdisciplinary study, research and education. For more information, visit www.nursing.umn.edu.

About the Bentson Foundation

The Bentson Foundation was started in 1956 by Larry and Nancy Bentson to support a variety of philanthropic causes throughout Minnesota. The Bentson Foundation has a 10-year history of supporting the University of Minnesota and its students, establishing the Bentson Scholarship Program with a gift of $10 million in 2003 a $1 million contribution to the TCF Bank Stadium in 2011 and an additional $3 million for scholarships in 2013. Both Bentsons are graduates of the University of Minnesota, and their daughter, Laurie Bentson Kauth now chairs the foundation.

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  • Last modified on May 10, 2013