SPOKANE – Sen. Patty Murray joined with WSU officials and students at the Riverpoint campus Wednesday to discuss the growth of its health science programs, and to see firsthand how students are preparing for the future of health care.
 
After an introduction to students and campus leaders, Murray viewed artist renditions of a fully built-out campus, with traffic relief and improved safety for students. The senator was also able to see firsthand how health students are gathering skills for future employment through technology. One example is the nursing simulation lab. The lab consists of work areas, similar to a hospital, that teach students how to use human patient simulators.
 
Using simulations is rapidly becoming the standard for active learning and evaluation in medical and nursing education. Students practice on life-sized mannequins that actually breathe, have bowel sounds, lung sounds, pulses and a heartbeat.
Murray said the amount of healthcare professionals coming out of WSU will benefit everyone.
 
“This campus here, training healthcare students at all levels, will eventually lower the cost [of healthcare] for everybody,” said Murray. “But just as important, we want to make sure people have great skills if we ever have to go to the doctor and end up in hospital.”
 
WSU Spokane Chancellor Brian Pitcher said the university is very thankful for Murray’s help in expanding the campus through federal money.
 
“Senator Murray has been a champion of the health care community in Spokane, and of WSU’s partnership, for well over a decade,” said Pitcher. “She has been an early champion of the vision of this campus and its economic development role in the community, and we see it being realized today.”
 
Murray was instrumental in allocating $2 million in the fiscal 2011 Senate’s Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) Subcommittee appropriations bill to clean up contaminated soil located within the building site of the Riverpoint Biomedical/Health Sciences Phase I Building.
 
This most recent funding request still requires additional approval, including votes by the full Appropriations Committee, the full Senate and a joint House-Senate conference committee.