Control Room during simulation

Sen. Dick Durbin in the control room with Sheri Kelly as they watch the students during the scenario.

The Mennonite College of Nursing (MCN) Simulation Lab has hosted many visitors; however, when U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin’s staff called to schedule a visit July 2, it was clearly a special honor for the college and Illinois State University.

The visit started with a discussion about MCN’s programs. Dean Janet Krejci and Associate Dean of Research Caroline Mallory talked about the challenges students and faculty face in the nursing program. “We continue to turn highly qualified students away due to the shortage of nursing faculty,” Krejci said. MCN is trying to alleviate the faculty shortage by offering the Ph.D. in nursing and Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) programs.

After the discussion, Durbin was able to see the high-tech technology that nursing students use in the lab. Jennifer Mool, clinical lab coordinator, explained how students work with virtual equipment and receive expert instruction.

Student in Simulation

Students in the patient room during scenario.

The last part of the tour was the simulated hospital lab, where Isaac Akins, associate director of technology, and Sheri Kelly, an MCN faculty member, set up nursing simulation in which students Desirae Hunsley and Josh Schlagel had to respond to a “patient” crisis. In the control room, Kelly is able to control how the “patient” interacts with the students. “Having the simulation lab is a safe way to have students experience things they may not have the opportunity to experience in an actual clinical setting,” Kelly said. “In this way we can prevent errors and ensure high quality holistic care.”

“We are dedicated to improving local and global health outcomes, and with this simulated hospital environment we know our students will become leaders in nursing,” Krejci said. “Once people see how our students are learning, then they realize what an amazing facility we have with outstanding faculty and staff. I am thrilled Sen. Durbin took the time to visit the MCN Simulation Lab.”