Grant funds 3D printer for College of Nursing

The UIC College of Nursing has received funding for its first 3D printer.

By Deborah Ziff Soriano

The UIC College of Nursing is getting its first 3D printer thanks to funding from the Consortium of Academic and Research Libraries of Illinois.

Clinical associate professor Karen Vuckovic is principal investigator on the grant, which will also allow her to create an open educational text in pharmacology for advanced practice nursing students.

The funding was one of eight sub-awards from a $1 million federal grant from the U.S Department of Education’s Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education, specifically earmarked for the creation of open education resources.

Open education resources are materials for teaching or learning that are either in the public domain or have been released under a license that allows them to be freely used, remixed, modified and shared with others, Vuckovic said.

Vuckovic said the 3D printer will help students visualize certain complex components of pharmacology, such as how drugs interact with G-protein receptors. She also sees future use in patient education and hopes it may be a draw for other health science colleges that don’t have a 3D printer. Upon completion of the grant, the 3D printer will be housed at the Health Sciences Library.

In addition, Vuckovic and her interdisciplinary team will create an open access text for NURS 531, pharmacotherapeutics, a required core class in the nurse practitioner curriculum, regardless of specialty.

This means anyone in the world will be able to access the text without needing to buy a textbook or fearing copyright infringement, Vuckovic said.

“The goal is to advance knowledge without having barriers associated with it,” she said.

Her team includes collaborators from the Health Sciences Library, the Center for the Advancement of Teaching Excellence and the colleges of Pharmacy and Health Science. Collaborators from the College of Nursing include Valerie Gruss, Lauren Diegel-Vacek and Sarah Fitz

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