When a child hurts, nurses must make pain management decisions in a highly sensitive environment often compounded by parents’ anxiety.

A computer simulator to be developed by the University of Central Florida using a scholarship from Florida Hospital for Children will help educate children’s nurses in pain management.

Kelly Allred, an assistant professor in UCF’s College of Nursing, received the $10,500 Faculty Scholar Award in partnership with Jacqueline Byers, a professor in the College of Nursing, and Michael Carney and Eileen Smith, both of UCF’s Institute for Simulation and Training.

Allred’s and Byers’ study, “Using Computer-Based Simulation for Pediatric Pain Management Education,” will gather data from pediatric nurses and parents. The data will be used to develop a computer-simulated child patient who will describe his or her pain and answer questions to a simulated nurse in a clinical setting.

The simulator also will feature a nurse character who will speak, makes assessments and give instructions to the patient based on the decisions input by a nurse using the program. The nurse character also will interact with a simulated parent in the clinical scenario.

When developed, UCF’s prototype pain management simulator will be tested by nurses at Florida Hospital for Children.

The pediatric simulator will be created based on a current prototype simulator developed by Allred and her UCF collaborators during the past year.

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