Illinois State’s Nursing Simulation Lab is a state-of-the-art training center that exposes students to the actual equipment and scenarios they’ll face in the real world.

It’s also a great place for a baby shower.

This fall, the Mennonite College of Nursing (MCN) welcomed its newest addition—“Danny K. Redbird,” also known as SimBaby. The $50,000 high-tech patient simulator helps MCN students learn how to care for a sick infant in a safe environment while supervised by their faculty mentors.

MCN’s previous infant simulator, which was “born” in 2007, was aging and needed to be replaced. That’s when a network of 200+ financial supporters, led by Dan Kelley ’70, stepped up to cover the cost. Those who supported SimBaby were invited to the baby shower September 26 in the Nursing Simulation Lab.

“My message to the donors that made SimBaby a reality is a huge thank you,” said Alex Smith, a senior nursing major. “Without the money and the donors and everything that made this possible, I don’t think the level of education here at Mennonite College of Nursing would be where it’s at today.”

SimBaby can do a lot. Its heart rate can increase and decrease. Students can practice listening to its lungs. Faculty can simulate medical problems too, such as a seizure or a bulging fontanelle.

“With SimBaby, students can assess, make clinical judgments, and take action to alleviate and try to resolve the problems the baby is exhibiting,” said Lynn Kennell, an MCN faculty member who teaches Nursing Care of Children, Maternal Infant Nursing, and other courses.

In addition to Kelley, SimBaby was also made possible through financial assistance from MCN supporter Stevie Joslin and corporate gifts from CoBank, COUNTRY Financial, GROWMARK, Heritage Enterprises, and State Farm Companies Foundation. Many MCN alumni also generously responded to a call for gifts.

“I look at these things as investments rather than donations,” said Kelley, who serves on the Illinois State University Foundation Board of Directors. “As we think about the need for health care, both in newborns with the SimBaby and the elderly who will require more medical care, we’re going to need highly qualified nurses. And Mennonite College Nursing has a great reputation.”

Make a gift today to the Mennonite College of Nursing.

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