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Donation aids NMU state-of-the-art nursing simulation facility

September 29, 2010
By CLAIRE ABENT Journal Staff Writer

MARQUETTE - Thanks to generous donors, a new pediatric care simulation room at Northern Michigan University means enhanced training for nursing students and increased safety for their patient safety.

The majority of the funding for the state-of-the-art facility comes from John and Cathi Drake, part time Hancock residents. An anonymous gift of seed funding helped to get the $50,000 project started, with the Drakes contributing the rest.

"It had been a few years since we had done anything for Northern, so we thought maybe this year was a good year to do something else," John Drake said. "We look forward to seeing good results with this pediatric care room."

Article Photos

Lisa Drake, left and Karen Richardson, daughters of donors John and Cathi Drake, measure the size the mannequin to determine what instruments would be needed from the pediatric crash card. Northern Michigan University nursing students would be faced with some of the same tasks in the simulation room. (Journal photo by Claire Abent)

The Drakes previously donated the funding to create the Benda-Drake Critical Care Simulation Room in honor of an NMU nursing student who performed CPR and emergency first aid after Cathi Drake collapsed in a Houghton restaurant.

Since the new room focuses on care for children, it is named in honor of their two children, Lisa and Karen, and called the Drake Family Pediatric Care Simulation Room.

The room was dedicated Monday with the Drake family present.

Fact Box

"It had been a few years since we had done anything for Northern, so we thought maybe this year was a good year to do something else."

- John Drake, NMU?donor

"Today we are here to honor and thank John and Cathi again for being such strong supporters of our school and our students," Kerri Schuiling, director of the NMU School of Nursing, said."Their gifts have excited the faculty and enabled them to be creative in ways that would not be possible without the equipment that came about as the result of their gifts. Our students are able to learn from cutting edge technology and go into the real hospital world better prepared to care for real patients. Thank you John and Cathi, from the bottom of our hearts."

The pediatric simulation room will allow nursing students to experience real situations in the safety of classroom before entering a clinical setting. This increases patient safety and decreases the risk of error.

The new room, located in the Luther S. West Science Center, includes a diagnostic center, a pediatric crash cart, hospital bed and a "new-generation" mannequin representing a 5-year-old child. The mannequin links wirelessly to a laptop and will respond to medical intervention from nursing students. The mannequin can talk, moan, breathe, undergo seizures, lapse into into respiratory distress and even die to help students experience a broad range of situations.

The room brings the NMU School of Nursing, in collaboration with Marquette General Health System and Upper Pensinula Health Education Corporation, one step closer to establishing a regional Smart Hospital. A Smart Hospital uses state-of-the-art simulation technology to replicate medical conditions in realistic settings.

Training at a regional Smart Hospital would be available to both students and health care professionals and would be tailored to addresses distintive features of rural health care: lower patient volumes, fewer acute cases and high rates of transfers to larger hospitals.

Claire Abent can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250. Her e-mail address is



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