“Nursing care comes in many forms. Sometimes it is the ability to make someone feel
physically comfortable by various means. Other times it is the ability to improve the body’s
ability to achieve or maintain health. But often it is an uncanny yet well honed knack to see
beyond the obvious and address, in some way, the deeper needs of the human soul.”
– Donna Wilk Cardillo, “A Daybook for Beginning Nurses”
The Leach College of Nursing has a long history of excellence in the Joliet area, beginning with the Sisters of St. Francis of St. Mary Immaculate, who founded the University of St. Francis. LCON has now educated four generations of nurses known for the highest level of patient care and professional ethics. Because the college outgrew its space at USF’s main campus, it will soon begin a new chapter in nursing education. In 2014, the university purchased the former Guardian Angel Home in Joliet from the Sisters of St. Francis. The historic building and environs, called St. Clare Campus in honor of Clare of Assisi (one of USF’s patron saints, known for healing), has been renovated to become the new home of the Leach College of Nursing. Courses will begin at Guardian Angel Hall in fall of 2016.
In this new state-of-the-art learning space that will encourage collaborative and real-world experiences, LCON will grow the number of students it serves—potentially by 50 percent. By enhancing an already high quality of nursing education, USF will ensure its nursing students will remain the best prepared in their field and the most passionate in their profession, with the strong Franciscan values of respect, service, integrity and compassion to guide them.
To ensure that USF nursing students receive a challenging, real-world education in a competitive learning environment, four new simulation laboratories have been built at Guardian Angel Hall. By increasing the number of labs and required lab time (from approximately 6 percent to nearer the 25 percent allowed by the Board of Nursing), more students will be educated at the high level of professional competency that will be desired and required by their future employers.
Two of the labs will contain a Laerdal SimMan, a life-sized medical mannequin with high fidelity simulators that replicate accurate physiological processes such as dilating pupils, breathing and heart sounds, and palpable pulses. Another lab will be occupied by pregnant “Noelle,” a mannequin complete with an infant in her womb. After a campus-wide contest at the university, the infant was affectionately named “Francis.”
Two “skills lab” classrooms were also designed. The classrooms will make it possible for nursing professors to easily transition between independent and group study. Individuals will be able to access and study lectures and other reading materials online, then join with other classmates for productive group discussions or team projects. Students will have immediate access to the Internet, YouTube and other online resources essential to the learning process.
There’s never been a better time to get involved in the University of St. Francis nursing program. Please call the USF Welcome Center to schedule a visit so you can tour the campus and facilities, meet instructors and students, and envision life as a University of St. Francis nurse. Help to grow the legacy of USF nursing!