UMO Creates $1 Million Nursing Simulation Lab

UMO Creates $1 Million Nursing Simulation Lab

September 21, 2021
Contact:  Rhonda Jessup, Director of Public Relations

MOUNT OLIVE – The University of Mount Olive has a brand new, state-of-the-art Nursing Simulation Laboratory or sim lab for short.  The lab will be part of a new pre-licensure Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree program that, once approved by the NC Board of Nursing, can be offered as soon as August of 2022.

Developed to meet a growing demand for BSN prepared nurses and a shortage of educational programs to fill the need, the program will accept up to 100 students annually.  Fifty will be traditional, daytime students and 50 will be fast-track, working adults, who will graduate a semester early because they can continue classes throughout the summer months when traditional students go home.  The fast-track is for commuters only and will be offered evenings and weekends.

“Our program will be very competitive,” said UMO Nursing Chair Joy Kieffer.  “We will accept nothing less than a B- on any grade.”

According to Kieffer, the first two years of the program will concentrate on basic general education courses like history, math, and science. Students who complete at least 15 semester hours (sh) of the first two years at UMO will earn the associate of science in general studies (pre-nursing) degree.  The last two years will focus solely on the prelicensure nursing curriculum for bachelor’s degree candidates.  That is where the nursing sim lab comes in.

“The sim lab, located on the second floor of the Communications Building, contains two high-fidelity rooms with lifelike manikins” Kieffer said. “They can be programmed to scream, cry, and moan. We can make their heart rates go up. We can code them and bring them back to life. The obstetric manikin can even mimic an actual birth and delivery.”

There is also be a low-fidelity room, which can simulate an emergency department, complete with hospital bays, curtains, and electronic key cards for entry.  “We want it to look and feel like an actual ER,” Kieffer said.

The low-fidelity room is equipped with static manikins, to mimic the dead weight of an actual person.  With these manikins, students will learn how to move a patient from the bed to a chair, how to roll them over, even how to give them a shower.  “Students will also gain basic etiquette in communicating with patients,” Kieffer said.

A debriefing room, set up as a conference room with a large television, will be used to audio and video record what goes on in the high and low fidelity rooms.  “This will give our students and faculty the opportunity to observe and critique what they see happening,” Kieffer said.  “Students learn better if they see themselves in action.”

The 3,000 square feet, nearly $1 million sim lab will be the pinnacle of UMO’s nursing program.  “Once we have the prelicensure BSN component in place we will have the full slate of offerings to include prelicensure BSN, RN to BSN, and three MSN tracks in (1) Nursing Education, (2) Nursing Administration, and (3) our dual-track in Nursing Education and Nursing Administration,” Kieffer said.

Why such a major focus and investment in nursing?  “The average age of nurses in the U.S. is 52,” Kieffer said.  “With baby boomers aging out of the nursing workforce, the University of Mount Olive is stepping up to help make sure there are enough nurses to fill those gaps.”

Kieffer notes, that currently, the nearest BSN prelicensure program is East Carolina University, Barton College, and UNC-Wilmington. “We are in the perfect location to groom the next generations of nursing professionals for Wayne and its surrounding counties,” Kieffer said.  “This is the University’s way of paying it forward.”

For more information or to be placed on the waiting list for entry, contact 844-UMO-GOAL or

The University of Mount Olive is a private institution rooted in the liberal arts tradition with defining Christian values. The University is sponsored by the Convention of Original Free Will Baptists.  For more information, visit

(L-R):  Lynette Howell, Chair of the Nursing Department Joy Kieffer, Pam Manuszak, Sim Lab Director Melissa Beck, and UMO First Lady Phyllis Croom.  Using one of the life-like manikins, Melissa Beck demonstrates how to check to see when a female patient is ready to give birth as Phyllis Croom looks on.

Assistant Professor of Nursing Becky Niles, Left, shows UMO Board Vice Chair Bob Kornegay, right, how to check the vital signs on one of the life-like manikins in UMO’s new SIM lab, as members of the Board of Trustees look on.

(L-R):  David McPherson, Darrell Horne, the Reverend Mark Hobbs, Pam Braxton, Paula Coates, Sylvia Herring, John Hawkins, Board Chair Earl Worley, Jr., Vice Chair Bob Kornegay, and Sim Lab Director Melissa Beck, who is pictured demonstrating one of the life-like manikins that are a vital part of the two high-fidelity rooms in UMO’s new state-of-the-art sim lab.

The University of Mount Olive Board of Trustees and their spouses recently toured the University’s new sim lab.  The lab will be part of a new pre-licensure Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree program that, once approved by the NC Board of Nursing, can be offered as soon as August of 2022.  Pictured far left is UMO President H. Edward Croom explaining the importance of what the lab will bring to UMO.