Díaz, who was one of 14 distinguished nurse educators inducted in the 2018 class of fellows, was honored for her contributions to innovative teaching and learning strategies, academic leadership and nursing education research. The newly inducted fellows were honored during a ceremony at the NLN Education Summit in Chicago, Illinois, on Sept. 14.
“Dr. Díaz is dedicated to transforming nursing education with her innovative strategies, such as using simulation to address pertinent and emerging issues in healthcare disparity populations,” said Judy LeFlore, associate dean and chair for graduate nursing at the University of Texas at Arlington College of Nursing and Health Innovation. “She is a dedicated educator, scholar and mentor to future generations of nurses and nurse educators,” added Pamela Jeffries, dean and professor at The George Washington University School of Nursing and nationally renowned simulation expert.
One of just 28 advanced certified healthcare simulation educators in the world, Díaz has focused her career and research on combining the cutting-edge technology of simulation with the deeper human emotion of empathy to improve healthcare for underserved patient populations. A nationally known leader in correctional healthcare nurse education, she serves as director of virtual and simulation education for the Center for Correctional Health Networks where she created and launched a simulation program to more than 500 correctional nurses to improve education. Most recently, Díaz conducted a study using simulation to help address transgender care in nursing and she is currently part of an interdisciplinary team of experts at UCF developing the patented physical-virtual patient bed, which brings humanity to simulation.
She serves on committees of the Society for Simulation in Healthcare and the International Nursing Association for Clinical Simulation & Learning where she has been a member since 2009 and was honored with an Excellence in Academia Award in 2017. Additionally, she is a member of Sigma: The International Nursing Honor Society, the National League for Nursing and the American Nurses Association. Díaz is an editorial reviewer for Nursing Education Perspectives, Clinical Simulation in Nursing and Correctional HealthNet Journal, and completed a two-year term on the Pediatric vSim Computerized Simulation Editorial Advisory Board of Wolters Kluwer Health.
Prior to joining UCF in 2015, she was associate clinical professor at the University of Connecticut School of Nursing where she earned her bachelor’s and master’s of science degrees in nursing and doctoral degree in simulation. She completed a simulation research post-doctorate fellowship at Johns Hopkins University under Jeffries.
Díaz joins 10 other faculty members at the college who are distinguished faculty fellows.