YSU nursing simulation lab named for donors John and Dorothy Masternick

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YSU President Jim Tressel, left, celebrates the dedication of the new nursing simulation lab with Dorothy Masternick and her son, John J. Masternick.

Youngstown State University today recognized the generosity of donors John and Dorothy Masternick by dedicating an innovative and highly technical hands-on nursing simulation laboratory in their honor.

Located on the third floor of Cushwa Hall on the YSU campus, the John and Dorothy Masternick Nursing Simulation Laboratory was made possible by the Masternicks’ substantial gift to YSU’s Department of Nursing.

“We are so grateful to the Masternicks for making this beautiful, high-tech lab available to the young men and women who are working to become compassionate, well-trained health care professionals,” said Jim Tressel, YSU President. “This facility will provide invaluable learning opportunities for our student nurses.”

The late John Masternick, an attorney and a 1954 graduate of the Youngstown College of Law, founded Windsor House Inc. with his wife, Dorothy, in 1959. Their family-owned business now operates 11 skilled care facilities and four assisted living communities across Northeast Ohio and Northwestern Pennsylvania that employ more than 1,500 people.

In addition to the gift used to fund the new nursing simulation lab, the Masternicks established a scholarship endowment for YSU nursing students in 2004, and the John and Dorothy Masternick Foundation has made contributions to the university so far totaling more than $50,000.

“My parents met at Youngstown College in 1947, so YSU was always near and dear to their hearts,” said John J. Masternick, the couple’s son and also an attorney, who serves as president and chief executive officer of Windsor House Inc. “Our purpose with the gift was to help grow the nursing department at YSU and to help the nursing industry as a whole in our community. We’re grateful that we could do it, and grateful to YSU for honoring our family in this way.”

The new nursing simulation lab features computerized manikins that have programmable vital signs – heart rate and rhythm, respiration and blood pressure, coughing and respiratory distress – to offer nursing students a lifelike patient care experience. The laboratory also includes classroom and seminar space, equipped with the latest in electronic media, and a row of medical exam tables where students can practice their patient assessment skills.

“I proposed that we create a dedicated simulation lab space because our nursing lab was bursting at the seams,” said Nancy Wagner, associate professor and department chair. “This is a really versatile space that meets our needs in so many ways. It allows our students to gain practical, hands-on experience in a realistic and safe environment.”

The largest and most advanced of the lab’s manikins is a high-fidelity adult version, valued at $85,000, that students have named “Windsor” in honor of the Masternicks’ business, Windsor House Inc. “He breathes, he cries, he sweats, he has bowel sounds,” Wagner said. “This is an amazing teaching tool for helping our students to develop critical thinking skills.”

Undergraduate and graduate nursing students also have access to a child-sized and an infant-sized manikin in the new nursing simulation lab, and mother and baby manikins will be added soon. Video cameras are mounted above the simulation manikins, and faculty monitor the students from a nearby observation room, where they can remotely adjust the manikins’ symptoms and vital signs to simulate a wide range of real world critical care scenarios.

YSU’s Department of Nursing is a part of the Dr. Dominic A. and Helen M. Bitonte College of Health and Human Services and has more than 400 undergraduate and graduate students enrolled. The department offers a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree with entry level and RN completion tracks, and a Master of Science in Nursing degree program with the following five specialization options: Adult-Gerontological Clinical Nurse Specialist, Nurse Anesthesia, School Nursing, Nurse Education, and Family Nurse Practitioner.

For more information about YSU and its nursing program, visit web.ysu.edu/bchhs/nursing.