Resume: A newsmaker you should know / Robert Morris professor named fellow of the Academy of Nursing
October 23, 2015 12:00 AM
By Shannon M. Nass
When health care simulation was introduced into the nursing field over a decade ago, Suzan Kardong-Edgren said she knew it was going to be big.
She’s dedicated her career to the technology, which bridges classroom learning and real-life clinical experience. Ms. Kardong-Edgren is considered one of the nation’s leading experts in health care simulation and instruction.
On Saturday, Ms. Kardong-Edgren, a Robert Morris University professor of nursing, was the first Robert Morris faculty member named a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing, one of the highest achievements in nursing.
She is one of only 163 nursing professionals nationwide to be selected this year and will be recognized at the academy’s annual policy conference in Washington, D.C.
Ms. Kardong-Edgren is director of the university’s Regional Research and Innovation in Simulation Education Center. She is also editor-in-chief of Clinical Simulation in Nursing and vice president of research for the International Nursing Association of Clinical Simulation and Learning.
Her career in health care simulation began in 2003 while teaching at the University of Texas at Arlington College of Nursing. Funding from a grant was used to purchase a “medi-man” simulator, a high-tech mannequin that blinks, talks, coughs, secretes bodily fluids, has a pulse in all its limbs, and can be programmed for various health care scenarios.
Ms. Kardong-Edgren incorporated the technology into her physical assessment class, with her students running medical situations using the simulator.
She also was instrumental in establishing a “smart hospital” and simulation center at the college after funding enabled the purchase of 20 more mannequins.
A veteran of the U.S. Air Force, Ms. Kardong-Edgren previously filled the only endowed chair in nursing at Boise State University in Idaho. She remains an adjunct faculty member at both Washington State University and the Drexel College of Medicine.
In January, Ms. Kardong-Edgren became professor of nursing and director of the RISE Center at Robert Morris. She said she was drawn to the university because it is one of only a handful of freestanding nursing and health sciences programs nationwide that have a simulation center accredited by the Society for Simulation in Healthcare.
“Robert Morris is like being in heaven,” she said. “It’s great in the simulation world and for what we would do in nursing.”
In addition to its eight high fidelity mannequins, the university also incorporates hybrid simulation using actors or actresses who have been trained with a script to manifest physical symptoms.
While many students are seeking to attend schools that have simulation centers, Ms. Kardong-Edgren said the technology can be intimidating at first as students often feel like they are demonstrating in front of a critical audience.
For this reason, she said faculty must learn how to be a “guide on the side” and help students realize their strengths and what they could do better the next time they encounter a scenario.
Many faculty fear having their clinical skills critiqued, too, so a willingness to be evaluated is essential when working in simulation, she said.
Ms. Kardong-Edgren is currently working on the next generation of simulation.
She and a team of nursing and gaming professionals from Boise State recently received a national education award for developing a new, wearable technology that allows nursing students to practice complex simulations in a virtual reality environment.
“There are two ways people react to simulation — they either run right at it and say, ‘This is what I’ve been waiting for’ or say, ‘I never want to do that as long I live’ and run the other way,” she said. “One of my strengths is to know a good thing when I see it.”
Shannon M. Nass, freelance writer: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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