September 20, 2021

Purdue University Global partnering with CHI Health St. Elizabeth on innovative learning model featuring state-of-the-art simulation center

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — The Purdue University Global School of Nursing has partnered with CHI Health St. Elizabeth to create a more efficient and innovative learning model that meets the needs of Purdue Global students, CHI staff and the community. The joint venture will include a state-of-the-art simulation center at CHI Health St. Elizabeth Hospital in Lincoln, Nebraska.

The simulation center will use a family of high-fidelity, Gaumard brand manikins — life-sized anatomical human models — that include an infant, child, birthing mother and adult. The space will consist of two large high-fidelity simulation suites staged to mock hospital rooms with audio/video capabilities, a master control room, three conference rooms to hold debriefings, several skills lab practice rooms, break areas, nurses' station, central supply area, medication preparation space, offices and storage space.

burdi-m20 Melissa Burdi Download image

Additionally, the organizations will work together to create mutually beneficial interprofessional simulation experiences where multiple health care professionals will practice patient and family care together.

“We are excited to partner with CHI Health St. Elizabeth, creating a state-of-the-art simulation facility that enables our nursing students and health care colleagues to engage in immersive learning with a keen training focus on patient safety, high reliability and quality of care, all while fostering interprofessional collaboration during a time of great need,” said Melissa Burdi, Purdue Global vice president and dean of the School of Nursing.

This arrangement builds on an existing partnership between Purdue Global and CHI Health St. Elizabeth in which Purdue Global students have completed their clinical rotation at the hospital. The simulation center will be available for Purdue Global student use in late November or early December.

“Now, more than ever, the pandemic has shown our communities the need for skilled, qualified health care workers,” said Esther Rathjen, clinical nurse specialist at CHI Health St. Elizabeth. “This is an ever-growing and changing profession that requires continuous and comprehensive training to ensure that our staff are providing the very highest level of care. This simulation lab will not only allow us to train our future workforce of incoming nurses, but it will also ensure continuous growth and expanded skill sets for current health care teams. Our goal will always be to provide the best outcomes for our patients. This partnership with Purdue Global will help us do that.”

Purdue Global has a similar simulation partnership with UnityPoint Health – Jones Regional Medical Center in Anamosa, Iowa.

About Purdue University Global

Purdue University Global delivers personalized online education tailored to the unique needs of adults who have work or life experience beyond the classroom, enabling them to develop essential academic and professional skills with the support and flexibility they need to achieve their career goals. It offers personalized paths for students to earn an associate, bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degree, based on their work experience, desired pace, military service, previous college credits and other considerations – no matter where they are in their life journey. Purdue Global is a nonprofit, public university accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. It is affiliated with Purdue University’s flagship institution, a highly ranked public research university located in West Lafayette, Indiana. Purdue University also operates regional campuses in Fort Wayne and Northwest Indiana, as well as serving science, engineering and technology students at the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) campus. For more information, visit

About CHI Health

CHI Health is a regional health network with a unified mission: nurturing the healing ministry of the Church while creating healthier communities. Headquartered in Omaha, the combined organization consists of 14 hospitals, two stand-alone behavioral health facilities, more than 150 employed physician practice locations and more than 10,000 employees in Nebraska and southwestern Iowa. In fiscal 2020, CHI Health invested more than $188.6 million back into our communities. The majority of those dollars went to caring for the poor and underserved. CHI Health is part of CommonSpirit Health, a nonprofit, Catholic health system dedicated to advancing health for all people. It was created in February 2019 through the alignment of Catholic Health Initiatives and Dignity Health. CommonSpirit Health is committed to creating healthy communities, delivering exceptional patient care, and ensuring every person has access to quality health care. With its national office in Chicago and a team of approximately 150,000 employees and 25,000 physicians and advanced practice clinicians, CommonSpirit Health operates 142 hospitals and more than 700 care sites across 21 states. In FY 2020, Catholic Health Initiatives and Dignity Health had combined revenues of $29.6 billion and provided $4.6 billion in charity care, community benefit, and unreimbursed government programs. 

Media Contact, Purdue Global: Tom Schott, 765-427-1721,

Media Contact, CHI Health St. Elizabeth: Taylor Miller,

Sources: Melissa Burdi

Abbey Elliott

Esther Rathjen

Note to journalists: A photo of Melissa Burdi is available on Google Drive.

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