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For nursing school, westward expansion

Medicine@Yale, 2013 - November


Yale’s West Campus offers state-of-the-art technology, collaboration-friendly design, and space customized for clinical instruction

Since its acquisition from Bayer Pharmaceuticals in 2007, Yale’s West Campus, as the 136-acre facility on the Orange-West Haven border is now known, has buzzed quietly with activity. Gradually, programs have moved there, taking advantage of an abundance of highly configurable space: the West Campus houses several flourishing research centers, core facilities, and art conservation programs. That buzz is now growing louder: over the summer, the Yale School of Nursing (YSN) relocated to the West Campus from 100 Church Street South, on the outskirts of Yale’s medical campus.

“The facility at 100 Church Street [South] met our needs for almost 20 years, but would have been difficult to reconfigure to meet our current and future needs,” says YSN Dean Margaret Grey, Dr.Ph., R.N., the Annie Good-rich Professor of Nursing. “Our new building is well equipped for faculty, students, and staff to teach and learn, conduct research, and collaborate with many colleagues here on the West Campus as well as across the University.”

YSN’s new premises are almost 50 percent bigger than its former headquarters. The new facility, which is airy and filled with natural light, has undergone extensive renovations and has been designed to foster a spirit of collaboration. It contains numerous spaces designed for student-student or student-faculty interaction, including a lounge-like space on the first floor, surrounded by smaller rooms designed for group study. Cushioned benches and whiteboards line the hallways to encourage discussion. State-of-the-art classrooms feature touch-screen controls, multiple monitors, and video conferencing capabilities and outlets for every student.

YSN was founded in 1923 with an initial grant of $150,000 from the Rockefeller Foundation. It was the first independent university-based school for the education of nurses in the U.S., and the first nursing school not subordinate to an existing university department. The school, one of Yale’s 10 professional schools, is ranked highly among nursing schools receiving funding from the National Institutes of Health.

As YSN grew, limited room at 100 Church Street South meant that space for clinical instruction activities was often multipurpose and shared. The new facility, in contrast, offers separate rooms designed specifically for assessment labs, task training, exams, and simulation. There is also a section, with its own entrance for patients, devoted to clinical research studies in cardiology and sleep disorders, and to Yale’s renowned Minding the Baby program, a community-based intervention that affords underprivileged mothers nursing and mental health services during pregnancy and after childbirth.

The influx of 450 students, faculty and staff has nearly doubled the population of the West Campus. YSN is the first major educational program to be located there. Says Scott A. Strobel, Ph.D., Henry Ford II Professor of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry and vice president of West Campus planning and program development: “The addition of YSN to this already thriving community aligns with the vision of Yale’s West Campus to strengthen science, medicine, and engineering at Yale. It also means that the School of Nursing will finally have a facility that matches the excellence of its program.”

Although students, faculty, and staff began using the new facility in August, the building was formally dedicated on October 4, on the occasion of YSN’s 90th anniversary celebration.

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