INACSL: Tell us about your personal and professional background.
Fran: I just celebrated my 40th anniversary of becoming a nurse! After obtaining my B.S. in Nursing from Adelphi University, I earned my Master’s Degree in Nursing Education from Syracuse University. I worked in the NICU for 15 years, caring for patients and teaching students. Now, I am a full-time nurse educator at (GBCN) Georgia Baptist College of Nursing of Mercer University. I am proud to have been a member of the first CHSE cohort in 2012. I have served on many INACSL committees, including: Membership, Planning, Conference, and Scholarship. I was the first recipient of the INACSL Frontline Simulation Champion Excellence Award, a huge honor. I have been involved on the state and local level as well. I have hosted conferences, assisted in putting together some as well as presenting at others. Some examples are the Mercer University Research Conference; Simulation User Network; Simulation Training and Research Initiative of Atlanta (STRIA); Physical Therapy Association of Georgia and the Georgia Simulation Alliance.
INACSL: How did you become interested in simulation?
Fran: I got interested in simulation through my current role at GBCN. After our Dean purchased a Laerdal simulator I went to Laerdal’s headquarters in New York for training. In 2008, I attended my first INACSL Conference in San Jose. It gave me the tools to grow and feel confident in my abilities. Additionally, it allowed me to network with fellow practitioners and receive advice and support. It was here that I bumped in to Margaret (Meg) Meccariello. I had worked with Meg when I lived in Syracuse, NY and as one of the first members of the INACSL Board of Directors, she encouraged me to get involved. After that, I was hooked on simulation!
INACSL: Explain your current role in simulation. Please elaborate.
Fran: I am the Learning Resource Center coordinator at GBCN. I, along with the LRC faculty, run all of the skills labs and simulation labs for our undergraduate nursing students. We write, program, run, facilitate and debrief all the simulations. Together, we have been able to integrate simulation across the entire curriculum. We also work with the FNP and AGACNP programs, assisting with simulations and standardized patients.
INACSL: What value do you see in simulation as a teaching-learning strategy?
Fran: Simulation allows students to get introduced to different types of patient care scenarios in a safe environment. They have exposure to more diverse experiences than they would through clinical alone. One of the most rewarding times, for me, as an educator, is when students come back after a clinical experience and tell me that they knew exactly what to do in a patient situation because of having practiced it in simulation.
INACSL: How have the INACSL Standards of Best Practice impacted your simulation program?
Fran: Our program highly values simulation and grants our nursing students two hours of clinical credit for every hour they spend in simulation. We were able to support increasing this clinical ratio because of the INACSL Standards. The INACSL Standards helps to formalize simulation and give credence to our practice by standardizing simulation across all institutions.
INACSL: In closing, what advice do you have for simulation educators?