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Bethel College unveils $1.1 million nursing lab

MISHAWAKA, Ind. -- Nursing students at Bethel College are now learning in what’s essentially a hospital, complete with high-tech patient simulators.

“This is far beyond what we’ve had in the past and something that we as a faculty have dreamt about and wanted to do for a long time,” said Hannah Stutzman, a member of the nursing faculty.

On Thursday afternoon, the ribbon was officially cut to unveil the college’s new, and state-of-the-art, nursing lab.

“This is a really unique opportunity to watch the students as they’re thinking,” Stutzman said, as she sat inside the new control room in the lab.

Her job is to act as the eyes, ears, and mind of the advanced patient simulators students work with.

The dummies are anything but dumb.

They literally blink, interact with students, and even have a pulse.

Nurses-in-training are able to listen to the simulator, diagnose its problems, and even read how its blood pressure and oxygen level is.

Stutzman, who was a nursing student at Bethel in the early 2000s, said this new technology means the learning opportunities are limitless.

“Knowing at that time that we had a high quality program without the updated technology, it’s really nice for students to get the chance to practice in a safe environment,” she said.

It’s a safe, and expensive, environment.

The wide-ranging lab includes two hospital rooms, as well as a giant classroom that has six more simulated patients on standby.

The $1.1 million project was made possible by donations from local businesses and organizations.

“We say we’re only a reflection of the communities we serve, so if our community’s strong, we’re strong,” said Ron Zeltwanger of 1st Source Bank, which donated $100,000 to the lab. “We’re pleased to partner with Bethel College.”

After students work with the simulators, there is a room around the corner where they gather to watch back video of their work so they can learn from their accomplishments and mistakes.

The staff said having such advanced technology is really beneficial because a lot of the students using the lab will end up being nurses in the hospitals right here in Michiana.

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