Featured Member: April Belle, RN, MSN, CCNS

Director of In Situ Simulation
Simulation Coordinator, Senior


Sabrina BerozINACSL: Tell us about your personal and professional background.

April: I am a Simulation Coordinator, Senior and The Director of In Situ Simulation for the Office of Interprofessional Simulation at UAB in Birmingham, Alabama. I am one of the simulation coordinators that services all hospital and clinic departments in the UAB Health System. I have been a Registered Nurse since 2004 and have experience in critical care, cardiac intensive care and on UAB’s Medical Emergency Team (MET). I graduated from The University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa’s Capstone College of Nursing in 2004. After completing my Masters in Nursing as an Adult Acute/Critical Care Clinical Nurse Specialist and my Teaching Certificate in Nursing, I entered the world of simulation. I am a TeamSTEPPS® Master Trainer and I have completed the Center for Medical Simulation’s Simulation Instructor Course and Advanced Instructor Course. I am currently enrolled in the Doctor of Nursing Practice program at the UAB School of Nursing.

INACSL: How did you become interested in simulation?

April: I have always been interested in teaching using non-traditional methods. I took a simulation elective course while completing my Teaching Certificate in Nursing. During this course, I was invited by my instructor, Dr. Penni Watts, to help create an immersive interprofessional experience with multiple intensive care unit patients. The ICU IPE simulation has now become an annual event at UAB. This is how I began my simulation journey.

INACSL: Explain your current role in simulation. Please elaborate

April: I am currently a hospital-based simulationist at an academic medical center. The UAB Office of Interprofessional Simulation for Innovative Clinical Practice has the privilege of servicing UAB Campus and UAB Hospital. We host a variety of interprofessional simulations for the UAB entity. I am primarily responsible for simulation course development, course management, systems integration using in situ simulation, and facilitator development.

INACSL: What value do you see in simulation as a teaching-learning strategy?​

April: I believe that experiential learning is essential for the development of healthcare clinicians. Simulation is a technique that helps bridge the gap between didactics and practice. It allows learners to make mistakes and correct mistakes without causing harm to patients.

INACSL: How have the INACSL Standards of Best Practice impacted your simulation program?

April: The INACSL Standards of Best Practice have impacted my simulation program significantly. These standards inform many facets of our simulation programs at UAB including simulation design, facilitation, and debriefing to name a few. I think about how integral The INACSL Standards have been in our facilitator development courses. It is really helpful for our simulation facilitators to use these standards as a reference as they work to create and facilitate their own simulations. Increasing the number of well-trained simulation facilitators has allowed us to increase our overall capacity for simulation at UAB.

INACSL: What is your volunteer position with INACSL, and why did you decide to volunteer?

April: I decided to volunteer with INACSL because I was specifically interested in the hospital perspectives of simulation. I have several volunteer positions with INACSL. I was originally encouraged by Dr. Penni Watts to join INACSL. She has been integral in my INACSL journey. As I further engaged with the organization, Dr. Sabrina Beroz, has kindly mentored me as well. I am currently serving on the following committees:

  • Membership Committee
  • INACSL representative for the INACSL/SSH Regional Workshop Site Selection Advisory Committee 2018-2019
  • Standards Sub-Committee: Facilitation

INACSL: What benefits have you gained from your volunteer work with INACSL?

April: Volunteering with INACSL is allowing me to network in ways that I had not imagined. I have been able to meet so many people who share my interests, facilitating in situ simulation. There is also a wealth of knowledge and experience within the organization. I hope to make an impact in the simulation world and INACSL is a major avenue for this work.

INACSL: In closing, what advice do you have for simulation educators?

April: My advice for simulation educators is to network with others and share your lessons learned. INACSL is a wonderful community to network, engage, and share.