TUCSON — University of Arizona alumni Andrew and Kirsten Braccia have made a $1.5 million gift to the university, $1 million of which is designated for the UArizona College of Nursing to support next-generation education for nursing students.
The Braccia’s gift will enhance simulation capabilities at the College of Nursing’s Tucson, Phoenix Biomedical and Gilbert campuses, and provide students online access to virtual-patient experiences. Nursing students regularly engage in team-based clinical procedures under the direction of faculty members and simulation specialists. This technology gives future nurses opportunities to receive live feedback while training in realistic and complex scenarios.
Steve Machtley, assistant dean for Learning and Healthcare Technology Innovations, said the purchases from the Braccias’ gift to the college fall into three broad categories: software subscriptions, upgrades to its simulation facilities, and equipment and other essential technology to support online teaching and learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The College of Nursing will subscribe to online software solutions that offer virtual patient encounters designed to supplement or replace a student’s experience in an in-person simulation center or patient-care setting. The simulations will present students with realistic clinical scenarios in an interactive environment to help them understand the case, practice skills and make sound decisions.
The gift also will support enhancements to College of Nursing simulation facilities. The Steele Innovative Simulated Learning Center in Tucson will launch phase one of its planned renovation. Updates include replacement of core audiovisual technology and integration with the UArizona Health Sciences clinical simulation management platform used in the Health Sciences Innovation Building. Together, these improvements will provide live remote monitoring and video capture of simulation activities for enhanced debrief and student learning. At the college’s new Gilbert campus, funds will be used to expand and improve functionality within its simulation rooms to support program growth. In addition, both the Phoenix Biomedical and Gilbert campuses will receive new high-fidelity pediatric manikins.
Andrew and Kirsten Braccia live in the San Francisco area with their four children. Kirsten Braccia graduated from the UArizona College of Nursing and worked as a registered nurse at the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital on the Stanford University campus. Andrew Braccia, an alum of the UArizona Eller College of Management, is a venture capitalist with Accel.