With an aging workforce and ever-changing technology, the need for well-trained nurses is greater than ever.
On Friday, the University of Hawaii at Manoa debuted a brand new nursing simulation center that is the most modern facility in the nation.
The best part? We are the beneficiaries.
It looks and feels like a hospital, but it's actually on the campus of U.H. Manoa.
"We have piped in fake oxygen and the headwalls work, so students will really feel like they're in the hospital," said Dr. Lorrie Wong, UH School of Nursing associate professor and director of the Translational Health Science Simulation Center.
One year and $8 million in state and private funding has turned the third floor of Webster Hall into an advanced simulation center where nursing students get real hands-on experience from almost real adult patients to babies.
"Ill babies who we really wouldn't have opportunities to take care of in hospitals because our students don't get to go into the neo-natal ICUs," said Wong.
The "patients" students get to practice on are not your average mannequins. They are what are called "high fidelity" mannequins. They breathe, they have a pulse, some sweat, blink and cry.
And give birth.
"We have the ability with our computer technology to turn the baby around for a breech birth. We can have a transverse birth and any other complications like the shoulder getting stuck or post-hemmoraghing. Normally, if a a student were to experience that in a hospital, we'd have to pull the students out of the room," said Wong.
Equipped with cutting-edge technology and a conference room with a 6-by25 foot LCD screen that would make any sports fan drool, the bottom line is learning to save lives.
"We're allowed to let our students be active members during that emergency. So they have to learn how to assess, figure out what the problem is and how to communicate that efficiently and effectively," Wong said.
The U.H. School of Nursing currently has about 700 students and is expecting enrollment to increase by 20 percent next fall.
"It's going to allow us to better our skills, become more confident and competent. And the great thing about the simulation lab is we don't have to be afraid to make mistakes, so if we do make a mistake, it won't harm anybody," said Perry Tsuruoka, an undergraduate nursing student at UH.
The U.H. School of Nursing has the highest number of male students enrolled -- about 25 percent of the nursing students are male, compared with about 10 percent in other nursing schools across the nation.