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Highland unveils the Mildred F. Ferguson Simulation Hospital

nursing students working on a SIM man

A state-of-the-art simulation hospital was unveiled Wednesday, March 9 at Highland Community College, 2998 W. Pearl City Rd., Freeport. Ill.

The hospital offers innovative spaces giving nursing and allied health students the edge they need to excel in their healthcare careers. There are three hospital rooms and learning spaces with high-fidelity manikins.

There is a viewing hallway for instructors to observe student performance. Instructors can manipulate the actions of the manikins in real-time from the observation area, which diversifies the experiences for students and impacts their interventions. Each room is equipped with audio-visual technology to record simulation activities for the group to review and debrief. The recording system also provides students an opportunity to upload videos for instructor feedback.

Funded entirely by a donor through the Highland Foundation, the hospital offers technology in an academic setting featuring authentic patient sounds, rooms for privacy, and the opportunity for students to transfer real-life practices from the classroom to the hospital setting. The hands-on learning simulates a broad range of experiences, helping students to be even more prepared when they graduate from Highland.

“The simulation hospital is a space that is versatile for all of our programs and classes,” said           Dr. Stephanie Eymann, DNP RN, Dean of Nursing and Allied Health. “It can transform from a classroom setting where students are learning about a new skill to a space where they get to practice, ask questions, and become comfortable with patient care.”

She adds, “It is a space that the faculty can manipulate to provide real-life scenarios for students from phlebotomy to CNA, Medical-surgical nursing to pediatric care. The simulation hospital gives our students a step ahead when preparing for clinical and to care for those in our community.”

Brittanie Bruder, a Highland nursing student, said working in the simulation hospital offers a realistic setting. She enjoys the advanced technology the hospital offers as she prepares to enter the workforce in the healthcare field.

“The technology allows for real-life practice,” Bruder said. “It prepares me for clinical and makes me feel more comfortable during patient interactions.”

The idea to build the $500,000 simulation lab was to replicate a hospital emergency room. A donation to help fund the hospital was made by Nancy Seeley of Florida, the daughter of Mildred F. Ferguson, in honor of her mother.

Mildred F. Ferguson, a former nurse, was a strong believer in higher education and wanted to help students pursue their academic goals and achieve their dreams of working in the healthcare field.

“You feel like you are in a hospital,” said Tiara Shipp, a Highland nursing student. “The technology is phenomenal. It makes you feel like you are assessing a real patient from lung sounds, heart sounds, and vitals. It has everything we need to use for practice throughout the program. We are going to know what we need and what to do before we get to clinical. It also allows for privacy and distraction-free interaction with other students and our instructor as we are learning.”

The school of nursing will now be named the Neenah & Carl Fairbairn School of Nursing thanks to a generous gift from Malcolm Fairbairn in honor of his mother, Neenah, who was a nurse, and father, Carl, who served as a Highland Community College trustee from 1972 to 1975.

For more on the Neenah & Carl Fairbairn School of Nursing, visit