Betty Irene Moore hall

Innovative spaces promote innovations in health care

Imagine a classroom with no walls that engages students 24/7. Imagine a building that supports more than concrete and steel. Imagine an education that does more than teach but sparks innovation and creates leaders who will shape the future of health care. The founders of the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis have imagined it and now embark upon the next phase of the school’s growth and the future of how and where students learn.

“Health happens everywhere and learning is continuous. We need a building not just to support our growing capacity of students but to sustain our vision of innovation,” says Heather M. Young, associate vice chancellor and founding dean. “The physical environment supports education practices we think will create better learning environments for our students.” The 70,000-square-foot structure features learning environments to engage students, actively involve faculty and create spaces for collaboration across disciplines. From writeable walls in small areas to propeller-shaped tables in larger, learning studios, the building encourages teamwork and active instruction, while providing capacity for community events and guest lectures. Collaborative spaces, known as learning commons, weave throughout to foster continual exchange between classroom and clinical learning.

“It’s not just about the functionality of a three-story building. Every square inch must efficiently and strategically further our mission,” adds Theresa Harvath, associate dean for academics, who was part of the extensive planning process. “We designed a space specific enough to meet the requirements of our curriculum today and flexible enough to support our needs 40 years from now.”

Nursing Science and Health-Care Leadership graduate students are committed, creative leaders who come from a variety of professional disciplines. All share the common desire to advance health, improve quality of care and shape policy. Faculty and administrators are committed to creating an environment that promotes interdisciplinary exchanges among nurse practitioners and physician assistants pursuing master’s degrees, health care professionals working toward master’s and doctoral degrees, and students pursuing new nursing careers through the Master’s Entry Program in Nursing.

“We are blurring the lines between where classrooms begin and end. Just as our students are re-examining established health care systems, we recognize the critical link between formal structure and teaching practices,” Young says. “This building will serve as a beacon and illustrate our transformative culture in a very tangible way.”

To prepare students for high-risk health scenarios in low-risk settings, a series of simulated labs will ensure they experience multiple scenarios before graduation. From assessing trained actors portraying real-life health scenarios to examining high-fidelity mannequins with simulated but not unrealistic symptoms and behavior, students learn with confidence. As Harvath explains, “Betty Irene Moore Hall is an opportunity to nurture our curriculum, fulfill our mission and foster our students’ healthy self-care behaviors, so they can become leaders who will shape health care policy and improve care in our community for generations to come.”