Kent State Geauga to start fall semester with fully renovated nursing lab

Annalexis Davis, Reporter

Nursing students at Kent State Geauga will kick off fall semester with a fully renovated nursing lab.

The new lab is more realistic to a hospital, with an open layout. Students have curtains dividing the simulation rooms and updated equipment. The school said that the new lab will assist in the growing need for nurses in the healthcare industry.  

Melissa Owens is a Lecturer and the BSN Coordinator at Kent State Geauga. She received her masters from Kent State in nursing.

The previous lab was an old garage, Owens said. 

“We had in one very small room, four nursing beds on one side of the room. One of the beds was occupied by our simulation mannequin,” Owens said. “There was no time where you could have more than one group of students in that space.” 

The Geauga campus was aware that they needed an updated nursing lab for the students.

“We recognized that our nursing students in general need to have spaces that are well updated to reflect what they’re seeing in the hospital to better prepare them,” Owens said.  

Owens explained the spacious rooms and how they were using the new space. 

“Now we’ve upgraded, we have two dedicated simulation rooms,” Owens said. “We have a dedicated learning space for nursing skills or a flex space.” 

Owens said they turned the old nursing lab into a gather and study space with a café. 

Wayne Nieh is 25 and a senior in Kent State Geauga’s nursing program who had the experience of working in the old and new labs. 

“It [the old lab] is like an old hospital where they run with multiple patients. It is very difficult for students to walk in, with a sense of clinical or hospital setting,” Nieh said, “The new lab has newer technology. So, we save a lot of time running into technical issues and the neural lab has more equipment, like a med cart or supply rooms. It’s like a nursing unit.”

There were technical difficulties and the professors would have to step in to help, said Nieh. 

In the meantime, students were moved to the old campus library, which was converted into the new nursing lab.  

The renovations started Summer 2022, and students began using the new lab Fall 2022, when the lab was 80% complete.

Nieh said the new lab has updated equipment. Patients have individual rooms, oxygen flow and suction on the walls in the simulation lab, a new medication room and easier communication.

“Oxygen is a gas and is considered a medication. We have forced air coming through for the student that simulates them being able to turn a dial and have airflow come out,” Owens said. “It makes it more realistic for them. We have suction, which is sort of like a vacuum. If somebody said, ‘Hey, you need to suction this tracheostomy,’ we have all the equipment available to them so they can do it and it’s real.”  

Owens said that Geauga’s location has struggled with admissions because of its rural location.

“We just graduated 14 students this past May,” Owens said. “Moving forward, the next three years we will be in the 10 to 12 range of graduates.”

From 2020 to 2021, Kent State main campus gave 495 students a bachelor’s degree in nursing. 172 students received a master’s in nursing and 15 students received a doctoral degree in nursing.

The Geauga campus raised $70,000 out of their goal of $1.2 million for renovations. The University Hospital in Geauga also donated new beds for the facility.

The Kent State Geauga Nursing program has been open since the 1990s and is the same degree plan as the one offered at Kent State’s main campus. 

Annalexis Davis is a reporter. Contact her at [email protected].