New Era for Nursing


In May 2012, Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science Dean Sally Brosz Hardin announced a gift of $7 million from the Beyster family of La Jolla to build the Betty and Bob Beyster Institute for Nursing Research, Advanced Practice, and Simulation.

The new building, which will rise adjacent to the school’s present home in the Hahn Pavilion, will double the school’s research and teaching facilities. Dean Hardin calls the Beysters’ gift transformative for the school. “There is no institute for nursing research of its kind in the U.S. I am so grateful to Mrs. Beyster and the whole Beyster family. They understand the importance of nursing research and advanced practice for the future of healthcare.”

Dr. Robert Beyster is a physicist and founder of SAIC, a Fortune 500 company and the largest employee-owned research and engineering company in the United States. Betty Beyster, an avid gardener, is known for her involvement on many local boards. Together, they have given generously to the fields of arts and culture, education, employee ownership, the environment and health and human services. The Beyster lead gift of $7 million covers nearly half the cost of the Beyster Institute for Nursing Research. The building’s total cost of $15 million must be fully secured, with construction started by 2017.

When the Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science building opened in 1978, it served approximately 100 students and faculty. Over time, enrollment and faculty size has grown steadily, along with the school’s influence. Graduates now account for up to 43 percent of faculty at nursing schools in San Diego. As its goals have expanded, so too has the school’s need for a physical facility that can support its mission.

The Beyster Institute for Nursing Research is that facility. Its three floors and central courtyard will provide new space and 21st century technological resources for students and faculty, as well as for practitioners throughout San Diego County. The building will be built to the LEED Gold Standard for environmentally sound design.

The third floor will house the research center, the heart of the school’s research efforts, as well as several classrooms and spaces suitable for collaboration, conferences and presentations for faculty, doctoral students and doctoral alumni to conduct research and mentor the next generation of nurse scientists. The dedicated research space will continue to foster a cadre of ambitious researchers whom Dean Hardin calls “idea brokers.”

The second floor will be devoted to doctoral student education, centered around the doctoral library, which provides dedicated space for faculty, students and alumni to access literature and nursing knowledge. The floor provides classroom and seminar rooms, including classrooms with moveable glass walls that allow for spaces to be combined as needed.

The first floor will house the Simulation and Standardized Patient Nursing Laboratory (Sim Lab), the keystone of the school’s clinical skills teaching, and a national model for nursing labs. The simulated care settings — including primary care exam rooms, acute care hospital rooms, and a home care room — will feature two-way mirrors and observation spaces and will be wired for audio and video observation, and a system to record and retrieve data related to students’ clinical reasoning, judgment and interpersonal skills.

The Beysters’ gift opens a new era of growth for the school, and an expansion of its contribution to healthcare. Betty Beyster hopes the gift that she and her husband are making inspires others. “It makes you feel good,” she says with a smile.  “It feels good to know you’re helping people.” — Barbara Davenport