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Tiny Teacher

Ed Sweeney with Sweet Pea

A new addition to the labs sets nursing students up for success in pediatric care

by Jeffrey Driggs 

A new arrival to the teaching laboratories in the School of Nursing and Health Sciences (SONHS) was cause for celebration last fall. On November 16, 2023, nursing students, faculty, alumni, and donors gathered for a “baby shower” to welcome the newest addition to the SONHS family: a SimBaby manikin from Laerdal Medical Corporation named Sweetpea.

Sweetpea’s arrival on campus was made possible through funds raised during the 2023 One Westminster Day. Last spring, alumni and friends, including Ed Sweeney (’73), chair of the SONHS Advancement Council, donated toward the purchase of the baby-sized simulator. While the school already had full, adult-sized manikins—used by nursing students in training to diagnose ailments and provide treatment—a baby simulator provides the opportunity to understand and practice on the unique needs of infants and small children.

“It is extremely important that nursing students at Westminster have the best training equipment available,” Ed says. “Sweetpea allows students a state-of-the-art experience working with and treating infants.”

Attendees at the event heard from Sweeney, SONHS Dean Sheryl Steadman, and Associate Dean Jon Worthen. Dean Worthen brought his five-year-old granddaughter, Amelia, and told how, while Amelia was being delivered, her mother went into medical distress. Fortunately, both mother’s and daughter’s lives were saved because of the training on manikins that the nurses attending the birth had received in nursing school.

Tours of the labs and a demonstration of how Sweetpea can be used in training were held, and participants were able to touch the manikin, feel a pulse, hear various recorded cries, see its eyes blink, and more. Nursing students were excited to see the new manikin and stated that they are looking forward to using it in their coursework.

Additional gifts are providing funding to purchase needed pediatric-sized items such as trachea tubes and fasteners, 02 cannula and masks, head tents, IV tubing, knit caps, bulb syringes, and more. These items will allow students to use Sweetpea to better learn the procedures for examining and treating infants with a whole range of medical needs.

“We are so grateful to Ed Sweeney and all the other donors who made it possible for us to purchase Sweetpea,” Dean Steadman says. “The support of our alumni and friends is a tremendous boost to the educational opportunities we are providing our students.”

To donate to this effort, please go to and mark your gift for the Sweetpea Baby Shower. 



About the Westminster Review

The Westminster Review is Westminster University’s bi-annual alumni magazine that is distributed to alumni and community members. Each issue aims to keep alumni updated on campus current events and highlights the accomplishments of current students, professors, and Westminster alum.