Architect Bill Neuhoff designs simulation labs, allied health spaces and nursing spaces for universities — and he’s been doing so for over a decade.

“I would say this is my niche. I love this type of space,” Neuhoff said. “I do other things in between, but when one of these comes, I want it.”

Neuhoff worked on Texas A&M Commerce’s nursing and health sciences building, Tyler Junior College’s nursing and allied health center and, most recently, the 16,000-square-foot Regional Simulation Center at the University of North Texas Health Science Center.

Designing staff met for hours to discuss details like doors and outlets. The designing team wanted to make the center as realistic as possible for students, as well as universally accessible for all kinds of people. 

The simulation center will have 14 exam rooms, a debriefing room, a simulation apartment for students to practice taking care of patients at home, two virtual reality rooms, three laptop charging bars, several multipurpose team rooms, learning lounges and an observation room with one-way glass.

In the observation room, students will work with mannequins that, depending on their model, can breathe, bleed and even give birth. On the other side of the glass, Karen Meadows, the center’s director, grades the students on their performances.

The space inside the Gibson D. Lewis Health Science Library formerly housed information technology, but Meadows and Neuhoff began planning the switch in August 2020. 

“Going through that whole visioning experience and what is it that you want to do? And where do you see this program going? Where do you see health care going? Where’s simulation headed? What kind of needs will we have in the future?” Meadows said. “And really thinking through that before we even got started with creating a design and then building.”

In the “Activities of Daily Living Lab,” which looks like an apartment — complete with a working fridge — students will interact with actors who play the role of patients to practice treating patients at home. Cameras inside the simulated apartment allow for projection to screens in the lobby — a “learning on display” tool.

“Learning on display is a recruitment tool,” Neuhoff said. “It can get everyone who is not a part of the program excited about the program.”

The “Activities of Daily Living Lab” can also be used by Emergency Medical Services workers to practice for crammed, real life scenarios. Emergency medical services workers often respond to calls for bathroom accidents.

Farther down the hall, 14 exam rooms allow students to simulate face-to-face, human interaction with patients. The spaces were designed to look almost identical to traditional exam rooms with sinks, cabinets, patient beds and a television monitor.

Professors can watch and review students as they perform procedures. Outside of the exam rooms, students and professors can review their film in a debriefing room.

The University of North Texas Health Science Center plans to host its grand opening for the simulation center to VIP members on June 23 and to students, administration, faculty and staff on June 24.

Cristian ArguetaSoto is the community engagement journalist at the Fort Worth Report. Contact him by email or via Twitter. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.

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Cristian ArguetaSoto

Cristian ArguetaSoto is the community engagement journalist at the Fort Worth Report. He can be reached at cristian.arguetasoto@fortworthreport.org or (817) 317-6991.

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