Posted by Mary Wimberley on 2012-04-18

The space that provides critical training for nurse anesthesia students at Samford University's Ida V. Moffett School of Nursing is now officially the Dr. and Mrs. Lonnie W. Funderburg Operating Room.

The room was dedicated Tuesday, April 17, to celebrate the legacy of the longtime Birmingham anesthesiologist and his wife, Mary.

Dr. Funderburg, who died in 2009, laid the foundation for the nursing school's nurse anesthesia program, and "Mrs. Mary was confident and encouraging" in the early years of the effort, said nursing dean Dr. Nena Sanders.

The current Samford nurse anesthesia program, now an accredited master's degree level course of study, was started in 2003 in response to the increased demand for nurse anesthetists in the community. Dr. Funderburg was encouraging at the launch of the program and provided guidance and support for the program's development, said Dr. Sanders.

The newly-dedicated simulation suite that offers students a state-of-the art learning environment is largely the result of efforts of Birmingham Baptist Hospital Nurse Anesthesia alumni and others who provided funding.

Kerry Gossett, a 1982 nurse anesthesia graduate who led the fundraising effort, credited the work of many persons to name the teaching space.

"Dr. Funderburg was all about having no wasted motion," noted Gossett, a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist. "This space is very efficient, and is about the quality of students it turns out."

"He was uncompromising in the preparation of students to give the best care that would ensure safety," he said of Funderburg, who spent 32 years as director of anesthesia at Birmingham Baptist Hospitals.

Samford president Dr. Andrew Westmoreland noted that the enhanced operating room underscores a "very proud tradition of nursing care and nurse education at Samford."  The nursing school is celebrating the 90th year of its founding during 2012.

After the dedication ceremony, nurse anesthesia students Heather Kent and Katie Ricciardone used the high fidelity simulator and other technology in the operating room to show visitors how the human body reacts when drugs are introduced and how students can engage in clinical situations for learning experiences.

According to nurse anesthesia professor Terri Cahoon, the authentic anesthesia equipment in the Funderburg Operating Room and the human patient simulators provide a realistic, yet safe environment for students to practice the clinical application of information they learn in the classroom.

"The accurate physiologic response from the simulator enhances the hands-on learning experience," said Cahoon. The equipment is exactly like what is found in a real operating room.

The sophisticated technology in the operating room requires frequent updates and maintenance, notes Sanders.

"This gift will provide the needed resources for the school to maintain the simulation equipment and to prepare our graduates to practice as excellent clinicians," said Sanders.

Mrs. Funderburg noted that her late husband would be pleased at the advances in technology and nurse anesthesia education.




Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.