With six simulated patients looking on from their true-to-life hospital beds, Brock University cut the ribbon on its new Nursing Lab Tuesday afternoon.The expanded space in East Academic Building 2 gives the department more than twice the area for hands-on learning in the Department of Nursing.“Our nursing students begin clinical practicums in the first year of the program,” said Faculty of Applied Health Sciences Dean Peter Tiidus. “This is important in that it helps them immediately begin integrating theory into practice.“By placing our students in hospital settings and working with the community throughout the entire nursing program, there is an added level of quality and familiarity, which provides students every opportunity to excel.”The original Nursing Lab had been using one half of Building 2 while Visual Arts used the other half. When the latter moved into the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts downtown, it opened the door to the nursing expansion.Through the financial support of Jean Lean and Brock Plaza Corporation, additional equipment was purchased and the space was renovated to mimic various healthcare settings.There’s a critical care isolation room, a primary health care office, a debriefing room, a community apartment for students to be trained in nursing home visits and a large main clinical lab.Interim President Tom Traves said the equipment and modern nursing labs will immediately help students.“The result is a stream of graduates who not only leave Brock with a well-regarded reputation for excellence, but also have the knowledge and skills to be health care leaders in Niagara and beyond,” he said.Tiidus said the new lab will benefit not only Brock students, but also those from McMaster Medical School and Niagara College.