Syretta Spears, assistant director of the UCF Simulation, Technology, Innovation and Modeling Center in the College of Nursing, is among the first to receive the advanced certified healthcare simulation operations specialist designation from the Society for Simulation in Healthcare.

Spears was in the first cohort of 25 professionals from four countries to earn the international credentials.

The certification recognizes those who are certified healthcare simulation operations specialists who have demonstrated leadership and advanced simulation capabilities at their institution and beyond. She earned that specialist designation in 2018.

I am dedicated to demonstrating the importance of simulation pedagogy daily.

One of her creations, for example, was the development of an “Escape Rescue Room,” where students are provided hidden clues to address a patient’s signs and symptoms. The innovative method enhances teaching and learning of health policies, hospital procedures and guidelines. The activity also was presented at the National League for Nursing Summit and published in at least two journals. In addition, Spears created an online orientation and helped develop a “Haunted Lab” and “Amazing Race” experience for teaching nurses.

“This recognition confirms that my endeavors to continuously excel in simulation and promote the science of simulation as a profession continue to pay off in the most rewarding ways,” Spears says. “Whether designing innovative training products, conducting orientation tours, or managing simulated clinical experiences, I am dedicated to demonstrating the importance of simulation pedagogy daily.”

Spears started her career in healthcare simulation more than 10 years ago. Today she leads a team that supports faculty with successful simulation-based experiences for undergraduate nursing students and graduate nurses during simulation and clinical skills-based education. She earned her bachelor’s in computer information systems from Florida A&M University, and her master’s degrees in human resources management and computer resources and information management from Webster University. In 2017, she became one of the first graduates of UCF’s healthcare simulation graduate certificate program.

In addition to her experience in academia, she also worked in the corporate sector in the field of healthcare simulation and education.

“Using simulation to engage future nurse professionals will ensure that our communities will have thoroughly trained nurses that will strive to reduce errors, improve performance, and safely provide quality patient care,” Spears says. “For these reasons and more, I will continue to promote learning through the advancement of simulation.”

The Society for Simulation in healthcare is the largest healthcare simulation organization in the world, with more than 4,900 members from more than 60 countries.

In other recent healthcare news, the healthcare simulation graduate certificate is the first UCF online graduate certificate to have its three programs attain “high quality” designations from the university’s Center for Distributed Learning.

The courses in the program are: Introduction to Healthcare Simulation and Healthcare Simulation Capstone Project, taught by Professor Mindi Anderson, and Organizational Leadership and Operations in Healthcare Simulation, taught by Assistant Professor Desiree Diaz. Kathleen Bastedo is the CDL instructional designer for the faculty members.