PITTSBURG —“Nurses make patients feel welcomed and at ease in unfamiliar and often frightening circumstances.” 

That’s what Freeman Health System President and CEO Paula Baker said about nurses and why the Pittsburg State University Irene Ransom Bradley School of Nursing was a school her hospital wanted to support.

With the help of a donation from Freeman Health System, the McPherson lecture hall had a makeover. The lecture hall hasn’t been renovated since the 1970s and was in need of modernization.

Irene Ransom Bradley School of Nursing Director Cheryl Giefer, a PSU graduate, has sat in the same lecture hall hall in 1970s and became a faculty member in 1988. She recalled the similarities and the changes during the ribbon cutting. The classroom, she said, is the very first and one of the last classrooms nursing students learn in before their graduation.
“Today, you could look around and see it definitely has changed and we are so thrilled with the way it looks and I’m sure you’ll agree that learning and working in such a wonderful environment just makes it better for everyone,” Giefer said. “It makes an impact and we are thrilled with the way it turned out.”

On Friday, a ribbon cutting was hosted to celebrate the completion of the renovations.
The whole space had a facelift and new large projector screens were built in at the front of the room. The highlight of the project is the Anatomage, a virtual dissection table.

The virtual dissection table has 3D anatomy hardware and software and allows students to “visualize anatomy with accuracy,” Giefer said, adding that it’s currently the “only 3D anatomy system and it is adopted by leading nursing and medical schools.”

Student can visualize anatomy exactly the way they would with a fresh cadaver, Giefer said.
“It’s fully interactive with a lifesize touch screen experience,” she said.

According to Giefer, schools who are already using the table have reported that it has improved test scores and has created more efficient classroom and lab sessions and student acceptance.

The Anatomage is creating quite the buzz at the school, Giefer said,
“They are so excited that we now have a sign-up sheet,” she said.

Associate Professor Amy Hite gave a demonstration of how the table worked during the ribbon cutting. In a typical lecture, before the table was installed in the classroom, the teachers would lecture using powerpoint with pictures and they would use a static mannequin.

With the 3D table, people can look at real life scanned anatomy. The teachers and students can turn certain anatomy on and off, make cuts, rotate, and zoom into the interior of the anatomy.

Teachers can put “pins” in certain parts of the body and ask students about the areas pinned. The students can also see blood flow and can even dissect the heart to look at its chambers and valves.

Students Kristy Hutchison and Madison Schenker have already utilized the learning tool.
Hutchin is in remission after battling with breast cancer, inspired by the many nurses who were by her side during chemotherapy treatments and surgery, she wants to be an obstetrician nurse and lactation consultant. The Anatomage table allows her to see the lymphatic system and other anatomy which could help her understand her future patients’ bodies.
“I can spend hours with it,” she said about her fascination with the table’s abilities.

Schenker is a triplet. She spent time in the neonatal intensive care unit with her siblings. Because of this, she plans to be NICU nurse. The table also has the ability to show her what she needs to know about an infant’s anatomy. Schenker said she finds the table interesting. “You can see the different parts of the anatomy layer by layer,” she said.

PSU President Steve Scott thanked Baker and Freeman Health System for its donation and the construction company who made the renovations, Crossland Construction.

Scott also applauded the efforts of all the faculty, staff and students in the nursing department. He said the department is reaching all four of the university's main goals which are academic excellence, student success, partnerships and innovation.
“The work I do typically does not lead to life or death decisions,” he said. “The work that all of our nurses go out to do, they are so important.
“They are so critical, they got to be well trained and well prepared, the got to know what to do, and our staff — this facility — they make this happen.
“My appreciation to all of you.”