Dallas Couple Makes Challenge Gift For Baylor Nursing School Simulators

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    Don and Ruth Buchholz
June 7, 2007

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Media Contact: Frank Raczkiewicz, (254) 710-1964

Waco, Texas (June 7, 2007) - A $250,000 gift from Don A. and Ruth Vernon Buchholz of Dallas brought Baylor University's Louise Herrington School of Nursing Simulator Fund halfway to its goal - and comes with a challenge for other School of Nursing supporters to fully fund the $500,000 project.

The simulator "patients" are anatomically realistic, featuring heart, lung and bowel sounds. They react like real patients, and after simulated procedures, performance feedback is generated immediately for students. Pre-programmed scenarios will allow nursing students to learn about all aspects of patient care, including unusual cases that may arise.

Because of the shortage of qualified nurses, it is imperative to send recent graduates into the field quickly. With simulator training, Baylor nurses will require less orientation time and could begin their nursing careers much faster.

"I don't think people truly realize the critical shortage of nurses. It is estimated that there will be over one million vacant nursing positions by 2020, with Texas being one of the hardest-hit states," Ruth Buchholz said. "Our gift to the simulation laboratory will help give students the opportunity for learning skills that they will need when they graduate. We hope others will join us in this wonderful opportunity to make a difference at Baylor's Louise Herrington School of Nursing."

Simulator training instills competence and confidence in nursing students by providing the next best thing to the experience of working with real patients, said Dr. Judy Lott, dean of the School of Nursing.

"When students start a scenario with a simulator, it is so intense that they forget this is not a real patient. When the scenario is done, then you can sit back and view everything and go through every decision, every procedure, to see what was done correctly and where something else should have been done," Lott said. "Mrs. Buchholz has been a strong advocate for the School of Nursing, not only serving on our advisory committee, but also as a strong community supporter of the program and financially helping the school. She understands that we need to have this technology so that Baylor nurses continue to be the best nurses."

In addition to the Buchholzs' many community involvements, Ruth (BA '49) currently serves on the Louise Herrington School of Nursing Advisory Council, and Don (Alumnus By Choice '94) has served on the Hankamer School of Business Advisory Board. The Buchholzs made the naming gift for the Southwest Securities Financial Markets Center at Baylor's Hankamer School of Business, an award-winning facility equipped to assist students making investment decisions for one of the nation's largest student-managed portfolios.

The Buchholzs' financial support is not limited to nursing and business but also includes contributions to areas such as the McLane Student Life Center and endowed scholarships. In 2004, Ruth and Don were recognized for their philanthropy at the bronze level of the Judge R.E.B. Baylor Society in the Medallion Fellowship.

For more information about Baylor's Louise Herrington School of Nursing Simulator Fund or to make a gift, please contact Janis Kovar at (214) 808-9802 or Janis_Kovar@baylor.edu. Gifts also may be made online through Baylor's secure site at www.baylor.edu/onlinegiving.

Founded in 1909 and noted as one of the premier nursing schools in the country, Baylor's Louise Herrington School of Nursing enrolls more than 280 students annually. The school is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education and offers a baccalaureate nursing program and master's programs in neonatal nurse practitioner and family nurse practitioner.

The school is located on the Baylor University Medical Center (BUMC) campus, which allows students to conduct clinical rotations at BUMC and other patient facilities in the Dallas metroplex. Admission to the Louise Herrington School of Nursing is competitive and students must complete their first requirements on the Baylor campus in Waco before continuing their education in Dallas.

Baylor's nursing school has a distinctive curriculum and a low student-teacher ratio of 8:1. The rigorous curriculum not only encompasses classroom teaching and clinical experiences, but also faith-based missions that enhance the view that nursing is a calling.

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