In episode 24 — the ninth episode of season two of the UCF podcast, Knights Do That — we speak with Desiree Diaz, associate professor and undergraduate simulation coordinator in the UCF College of Nursing and president-elect of International Nursing Association of Clinical and Simulation Learning (INACSL). She shares how UCF is leading the charge in virtual reality education, how teaching students about cultural congruence can remove preconceived notions in patients and how simulation technology is paving the way for the future of nursing.

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Desiree Diaz: I feel that I have an obligation to my professional simulationist, our simulation scientists, to push that envelope, to push the line. What is OK, how can we make it better to take the risks, to think about research in a different light? So not just in simulation pedagogy and how we’re going to teach it but creating different ways of simulation. So exploring holograms, exploring VR, working with colleagues to expand the science.

Alex Cumming: We’re back with another episode of Knights Do That. The medical field is rapidly changing and educators like today’s guest, Desiree Diaz, work to keep students ahead of the curve. Desiree is a professor in UCF’s College of Nursing and incorporates simulation technology in her classroom to train nurses like never before. Desiree shares how UCF is leading the charge in virtual reality education, how teaching students about cultural congruence can remove preconceived notions in patients and how simulation technology is paving the way for the future of nursing.

Terrific Desiree, I so appreciate you getting to join us and I appreciate your time here.

Desiree Diaz: Thank you for having me. It’s an honor to come in and chat with you today.

Alex Cumming: Of course. Thank you again. So I want to talk to you about your work in the nursing education here at UCF. What drew you to nursing education and what keeps you inspired to teach?

Desiree Diaz: I’m an associate professor so I teach on all levels. So from Ph.D. DNP down to RN, to BSN, every program level that we have. And I really enjoy seeing the students on every level because each student has a different type of identity within that program, so I really enjoy that. And why do I enjoy teaching nursing? I think it’s such a blend of the art and science together that I really want to make sure our students get that. It’s not just about what somebody has, but it’s the art of caring, the art of empathy, the art of communication, and really understanding where somebody is at. So I want to be able to instill that in all of our students.

Alex Cumming: Is there a way that you teach communication to your students who might come in with hesitations about being confrontational in medical situation? Confrontational might be the wrong word for it, students who might be wary of walking into a room and sitting down with somebody and saying, “Can you tell me what you’re feeling,” or “What you’re going through right now?” Or “How can I help you?”

Desiree Diaz: So all of our courses are pretty much built upon each other are scaffolded. So we start off with a little bit and increase that as we go. So we provide them opportunities in simulation and class role plays and things like that, where they can really tune in on how they communicate, especially this day and time with everything’s either Zoom, iPad, or the telephone even, text message. The art of communication is something that you have to practice. People often call it a soft skill and I chuckle, and I say that is one of the hardest skills because if someone says something, maybe that’s a little off to you, it’s thinking that you need to ask them again. What did they mean? Clarifying sentences and thoughts, rather, just jumping to that assumption. My mom always said you have two ears and one mouth. So listen twice as hard.

Alex Cumming: We had on a recent episode, another individual who was going through the medicine program. And he was speaking about the importance of listening and understanding and communicating and getting on the same level with the person that you’re working with. Because the slightest miscommunication, I imagine, can have drastic consequences if it’s not ironed out before it gets taken too far.

Desiree Diaz: Absolutely. And there’s so many things that I think about in nursing or the health science professions. We are seeing people at their worst expecting them to behave at their best. When it’s the provider, whether you’re at the bedside nurse, bedside OT, PT, whatever we should be at our best, because we should leave our personal issues at the door and come in to work as a professional understanding that someone might not be communicating not get their best filter on to deliver information to you. But it is hard to do that all the time, it does get taxing. There are people with a lot of problems out there and can be very demanding and demeaning in care. So it’s really practicing, knowing self and discovery of self first. When do I need to take a step away so that I can continually be the best in providing care for that patient and communicating with that patient. And sometimes you do need to, you know, I’ll be right back. Leave regroup. And then reenter.

Alex Cumming: I imagine it’s tough constantly having to have this objective lens in the medical world with patients. Where the patients are coming, more often than not, I’d imagine, entirely subjectively from what’s happened to them. Then you have to play off of that.

Desiree Diaz: Yeah, especially with media and what is out there today. You know, are you providing safe care? Someone constantly questioning everything you do. And we have two choices, we could take it as a negative or take it as a double-check. “Sure, would you like to see? This is what it says.” And it’s all on how you approach it.

Alex Cumming: So you been working at UCF since 2015. In that time that you’ve been here. How have you seen UCF serve as this hub for medical progress?

Desiree Diaz: I think it’s grown exponentially. The need is there, one. So that obviously helps it. And then you’ve really seen this push in nursing medicine, all of the Academic Health Science Center disciplines really. Because there’s such a shortage of people in the field or new people that are in the field that are leaving because it’s not exactly what they thought it would be. So I see it on that level. I also see it on the level of research. Our research here at UCF has really magnified the science of nursing in particular. That I’ll speak about, it’s not just bench science, what’s at the bedside. We have Dr. (Victoria) Loerzel doing things with cancer patients, or some other of our faculty are doing things with fall risk and the elderly. Then we have research related to simulation, not just, how do you teach with simulation, but creating the science with holograms, with patient virtual beds, as well as the application of those things for our learners to have the best outcomes. So I believe that UCF was just trotting along and then decided to do a full-out sprint. Like we’re going for it.

Alex Cumming: I’m glad to hear that. I’m glad to hear that UCF is full speed ahead making all these leaps and bounds in the medical world and as a soon to be alum, I’m so excited to hear about what we continue to do and the amazing people that UCF continues to produce that go out and heal the world. So you mentioned the simulation technology, and I want to ask you about that. You’ve integrated simulation and technology into your classroom. Can you elaborate how you integrate them into your classroom? And what are the benefits that come from having that?

Desiree Diaz: OK. So that’s a multi-tiered question. So let me describe what we have first. So, we have a STIM Center , so that’s simulation, technology, innovation and modeling center. Within that center we have manikins that have chest rise and fall, they blink, they have lung sounds, bowel sounds, you can see an EKG. They just can’t reach out and grab you, just yet, but I’m sure that’s coming. Then we within that environment, we have multi-generational. So we have from a 12-hour-old infant to a manikin that actually births a baby. We also have a multi-ethnic and racial make up. So we really try to have diversity and not just the manikins, but also in the test trainers. So those are the arms and chest that we show. So we’re practicing what we preach in the STIM Center , which I really find that we’ve been at the forefront of that in the nation, which has been fantastic. We then have another sidearm of augmented virtual and mixed realities. We work a lot with Dr. (Gregory) Welch’s lab. He is our Endowed Chair of Simulation in the STIM Center , and there’s a cave over in IST where you can go and you’re totally submerged in an environment now that we honestly use more for research initiatives when we’re creating the science, what is the best way? There’s a few of us that have some patents out under Dr. Welch’s leadership, where we have what’s called a patient virtual bed. So it’s a pediatric patient and you can touch it, there’s heat sensors, he will talk to you. A little bit different than a full-sized manikin, so we have that. Our augmented reality, I do quite a bit of research in there and our students are starting really to get that. So COVID has propelled us forward into this ARXR VR type of world. So our learners weren’t able to be in live births because of aerosol and the bodily fluids. So through augmented reality, we have HoloLens too, where they can put on and actually birth a baby. It is paired with a manikin. So you get that physical kind of touch because augmented reality is you can still see the world around you with these kind of computer overlays in your environment. And then we also use virtual reality where it’s total immersion. That takes a little bit more time to get used to with the VR and where we’re using this in grad and undergrad. Really the technology is in every aspect of our care that we’re doing or in our education of care and practice.

Alex Cumming: When you introduce the students to the simulation technology and VR — having researched it and seen it, I have never seen anything along those lines. And I thought it was just outstanding to read about and learn more. So, when you introduce it to the young students, what’re some of their initial reactions to it all?

Desiree Diaz: This is definitely aging me out here. So I ask at the beginning how many of you are familiar? The majority of them are familiar with AR and VR. A little bit different than my generation where, we are a little more tentative to trying new things. In our research we’ve had about 2% that get, whether it be headaches or just can’t deal with the technology. I was surprised with No. 1, the willingness of our students coming in that are willing to utilize this strategy as well as their familiarity with it, it speaks a lot to the new generation and their expectations. So, you should expect to go to a university and try new things that you haven’t seen, that wasn’t in your high school that maybe you didn’t or couldn’t afford that technology. So, I think it’s really important for us to be at that next level. It’s like, wow, this is what we have. And I’m proud to say that the College of Nursing we have that opportunity for them.

Alex Cumming: Are you seeing the interest and passion for simulation technology in the medical world, growing into other hospitals and schools around the nation?

Desiree Diaz: Currently in Central Florida, and I’ll speak specifically about nursing, all of the major hospitals use simulation for onboarding. My philosophy as the undergrad simulation coordinator is I want you to understand how to get through the simulation here, where it doesn’t affect your paycheck. I understand. It’s OK if you don’t like it, not everybody’s going to like everything, but that’s not my concern. My concern is can you get through it and perform at a level that’s not going to affect job performance or the job that you want. So a couple of years ago, I had two students come back after being six months in their hospital setting. So one student said, “You know, Dr. Diaz, I’m so sorry. I didn’t realize what you were saying was true.” Now I always speak the truth to my students. I just want that out there. She said, “In my interview I was asked, ‘Oh what do you think about simulation?’ ” And the student said on this job interview, “I hate it. It’s fake, that’s great it’s the new thing, but I just can’t get in the mode of suspending disbelief than pretending.” She didn’t get the job. And when she explored why, they’re like, “You realize simulations is about patient safety. So it’s not about whether you like something or not.” And the other student who came back said she had the same question. So, I never asked which hospital it is cause I don’t want to be biased. And she had the same question and she said, “It’s hard for me to interact with the manikin, but I’m getting used to it. The more I do, I’m able to navigate that system, that pretend so-called world.” And that the recruiter said to her, “Where are you trying to go?” And she said, “I want to be in the ICU.” And she goes, “You realize you have to successfully complete these simulations before you’re able to go into that curriculum of the ICU training?” And the students said, “OK, I’m OK to do that.” So to me, that just really solidified the fact as to why we need to practice in the university setting prior to going into the hospital setting. And an example I give all the time is when you go and fly in an airplane, those pilots have done hours of simulation. And Lieutenant Sully a couple of years ago, or probably a decade now landed the plane on the Hudson. And he had only done that crash landing in simulation, but he saved 140 people’s lives that day. So if we can do that in the healthcare and mitigate some of the discrepancies that are out there with patient safety, I’m all for it.

Alex Cumming: Simulation technology is wonderful and the way that it continues to grow, and we have this whole younger generation aware of it, familiar with it, understanding it, coming into university. I’m curious if within the next decade we could see that technology so widespread that it’s in high schools. And instead of in biology class, dissecting frogs, they go to VR’S and manikins. Could you see something like that happening?

Desiree Diaz: Honestly, that’s such a political question because it requires so much funding. One of the big issues with simulation technology is having enough sim techs, sim operations, people. Education must go on, the teaching must go on despite a manikin going down. So you need somebody that’s nimble, able to quickly get it up and running. Same thing with AR, VR, nothing like having a poor learning experience because then it’s shown to affect future performance.

Alex Cumming: So with the simulation technology, you touched on it a moment ago, but in terms of identity, race and culture, how can the simulations help students remove stereotyping or assumptions or biases in patients?

Desiree Diaz: Funny thing you ask, so our (Order of) Pegasus nursing student, Erin Tonkin, just presented prior to me coming to the podcast. Her research is on healthcare disparities in simulation, in the simulation world and how do students really feel about that lived experience. And through her research and others, it really demonstrates that our students are not comfortable caring for people at high risk for disparities or in environments where social determinants of health are really affecting their daily lives. So if we can create a different platform for them, create a framework in simulation so they’ve at least been exposed to a simulated world prior to having to deal with situations in the real world, it will be beneficial. Now comes with that a responsibility. You just can’t say, “Oh yeah, here’s a Black or brown Manikin, and continue on sim. It has to be really thoughtfully integrated. What are the healthcare disparities? How can we mitigate the responses of the patients of the providers within those environments and creating social justice advocates, because a social justice advocate not only sees what’s right, but they do what’s right. And they also advocate when something’s not being done correctly. So when you’re looking at statistics and you think about people not returning for follow-up care solely because of how they are treated during initial care. That’s something we can change. First of all, people have to know what those facts are, know what those statistics are and then change them and be that beacon of light.

Alex Cumming: It sounds that that’s going back to the communication and being more aware of what’s happening in our world right now. Everything that’s going on and taking that knowledge into consideration when you bring yourself to a patient, having that knowledge of the United States of America, everything that happens here and bringing that to the people that you see.

Desiree Diaz: Absolutely. And some of those statistics are staggering, right? When you look at that, Black and brown mamas and babies are dying three to four times that of their non-Hispanic white counterparts for really issues related to social determinants of health, really based on where they live, the stress that they’re under, nothing that they personally, they themselves has done. And when we linked that back, that’s our dean of research, her research is in Black pregnant women. So, we try to loop in research into all of the scenarios. So, it’s not just one person’s opinion, here’s the statistics. Here’s what we’re looking at. How can we change that? And also thinking about that a person is not just as a medical diagnoses. So, if we say Black men or Hispanic women are three times as likely to have diabetes, it’s not just because they’re Black and Hispanic. What is the make up within that culture that creates some issues related to diabetes? Rice and beans, that’s high in carbs. Fried foods, that’s high in triglycerides and fat and carbs. So how does that work with then how we provide our care and understanding the background? Let’s call it the background noise to why they’re experiencing what they’re experiencing in that moment.

Alex Cumming: Do students, who might be unaware of background noise you were saying, go into a nursing field and they’re being presented with cultural statistics and sociology in some aspects, do some students get taken aback by that?

Desiree Diaz: I think there’s a process for the learners when they realize their living environment where they are, not everybody is. On the surface you say that yes, obviously there’s people that come from low income, but do you realize your zip code dictates how much funding you get into the high school? How much funding that gets into the high school dictates to the resources you have. Those resources dictate what my SAT scores might be. Those SAT scores dictate what college I’m going to get into, it’s such a big cycle. And when you really start to think about, wow, none of those things I just mentioned, do I, as an 18-year-old coming into the university have control over, but yet it affects my health, it’s sobering.

Alex Cumming: Making students more well-rounded, making them understand and reflect on themselves. Figure out themselves before they’re coming to patients.

Desiree Diaz: Let me give you an example, a really grounded example. We conduct a simulation where there’s a lot of our risk factors in this simulation. So it’s a mama and a baby. The mama is Afro-Caribbean. So she has the risk factors of women, Black women, who are at high risk for preterm birth and gestational diabetes, all of these things. The baby is born large for gestational age, which ties back to that and all. But we’re purposeful. And we have a dad in the scenario, so it’s not stereotypical. So we are deliberate in not projecting stereotypes, but we do a little twist and the dads in the military, a lot of people don’t think about the military component. So the father isn’t present he missed the birth, which has been fascinating for me this semester is to see the stigma that our students self-impose on that dad, that he’s not there. Not realizing the military, he doesn’t have a choice. He’s out to sea. “Oh, where’s the dad?” He missed it. It’s whoa, wait a minute, what biases are you bringing in without even potentially realizing it? And when you start to talk to them and unpeel these layers of social construct that they have, and not saying it’s a bad thing or a good thing. It’s just, we have these, our own biases and not understanding they’re like, “Oh, maybe I’ll think twice about the dad.” Who’s not present might be because of COVID, at home caring for the other three kids because they literally were relocated and there’s no one to care for the three kids at home while his wife is birthing. So it’s thinking on a much broader global scale than what your personal reference point is.

Alex Cumming: Thinking twice, thinking on a broader global scale. Those are the things you instill in your students to make them more culturally competent?

Desiree Diaz: So I like to use the term culturally congruent care is what we try to give. So cultural congruence includes cultural awareness. People say cultural competence, but it’s really now acting on that. I don’t think you can be culturally competent. There’s so many cultures out there. Cultural congruence is realizing someone is from a different culture and asking them, developing that partnership, “How does that work for you? Wow, there’s a lot of people in this room. Is that normal in your culture?” Some cultures everybody’s in the room during birth. Some it’s just the mom, the dad’s not even in there. So understanding culture plays so much a part of what good care is to that patient. And it’s not about the provider, it’s about you understanding that I care what your culture is and how that is expressed to you.

Alex Cumming: I like that better than competence. It’s walking the walk as well as talking the talk and knowing and then acting upon that. So for yourself personally, what does it mean to you to be one of 20 certified advanced healthcare simulation educators in the world?

Desiree Diaz: I think it’s a responsibility for me. I I feel that I have an obligation to my professional simulationists, our simulation scientists to push that envelope, to push the line. What is OK, how can we make it better to take the risks, to think about research in a different light. So not just in simulation pedagogy and how we’re going to teach it but creating different ways of simulation. So exploring holograms, exploring VR, working with colleagues to expand the science. So when you’re the A, I like to say A not advanced or expert because we’re all just trying to do our best, but it’s really thinking about how can we be better. We’ve never achieved. So once where we’re at, there’s always a different place to get to, that’s what I think about it.

Alex Cumming: This is not the plateau, this is merely a jumping off point. UCF is this forward progression.

Desiree Diaz: With that responsibility and those expectations that come with that certification is, OK, you are going to do research. You are going to advance the science because we have colleagues that might be at the state college level that don’t have research funding or aren’t educated in research or our hospital colleagues that’s not part of their work requirement. They’re expecting us to advance that science to get the answers, to provide. The information that’s needed to get the funding because you always need a what’s the return on investment and what’s my outcome measure. So I think that’s our role in, in the world of simulationists.

Alex Cumming: UCF really is here at the forefront showing these students, that it’s here, it’s good to be aware of it. I would hope that the students appreciate it when they’re here because they’re, like you said, funding really limits a lot of great students from being aware of simulation technology and how it’s going to be implemented into the medical field.

Desiree Diaz: It’s thinking beyond what you know. It’s kind of that Star Trek, Jetsons. It’s thinking the impossible, cause the impossible is only impossible until it became possible. Who would have thought that they’re doing XR in the surgical suite prior to surgeries? They’re using holograms, taking out the person’s heart in a hologram to actually see where they’re going in to insert the wires. It’s now going to start to trickle on different levels. We already have ultrasounds and things where we can see the vein so we can calculate the veins better than just going blind on an arm. I think there’s more to come. Funding has to be there, has to follow it and in order to get funding, you have to have the research and the science behind it. So it takes a total team effort. It’s just not a one person type of thing. It’s, “OK, I need to trial this some set of people. Oh, you have the set of people. That’s great. Let’s do that.” Then it’s also publishing, disseminating it, presenting it, those types of things. So UCF is a great opportunity to have those collaborations to have that network.

Alex Cumming: I saw recently there’re conventions about simulation and technology. I saw you attended one recently, which is super cool to see that there’s all these great people who are so interested in advancing the field, just coming together to pow-wow and collaborate and brain think.

Desiree Diaz: So there’s one in June. INASCL, that’s the international nursing association of clinical simulation learning. That is a big force for us at UCF. The majority of nursing faculty in simulation will attend I actually made the slate for president elect, so fingers crossed, we’ll find out at the end of the month. But that conference is really it is multidisciplinary, but geared towards application of simulation All different types of technologies. What we just came from the international meeting for the society for simulation and healthcare. That’s anesthesiologists, docs nurses, nurse practitioners, more of a collaborative science related to simulation.

Alex Cumming: What advice would you give to somebody who wants to work in the nursing field and do what it is you do in nursing education?

Desiree Diaz: So nursing education, I think there’s so many entry points that you can start that practice. So, I was a clinical nurse educator at first in the hospital settings for pediatric and surgical ICU. And then realizing there’s that student component, I really wanted the student component. So that’s what my shift to academia was. So, it depends on where you start. I think taking clinical groups into the hospital is a great place to get your feet wet. As a nurse educator, understanding all the different components of educating. Nursing student prior to their graduation is really important. So it’s sounds, oh, that’s not bad. You have eight to 10 nursing students on a floor. They all have a nurse. But you are the faculty responsible that they did pass their medication on time that they have that resource with you while you’re there on the unit. It is extremely stressful. So kudos to all of our clinical nurse educators out there. I just stepped in last spring because we were short last minute. And I was like, “Oh, I forgot this,” It’s taxing because an eight hour shift is more than eight hours because you’re circling back, making sure the students are learning their objectives that they’re supposed to be learning. Everything’s documented because at the end of the day, there’s real life people getting that care. And then there are some people that just no, I don’t want to do clinical. I just want to teach. And it’s understanding the different levels of teaching and what you need to do to be able to teach at that level, I think is really important.

Alex Cumming: Do you have advice for anybody who would want to get involved in simulation technology?

Desiree Diaz: Just start, just start. Reach out the sim community is really open arms to anyone. We are open arms at College of Nursing, any faculty who wants to try sin where like, “Ah, come up and look and see what we do first.” All of us, myself included when I do a simulation, I get evaluated by a peer. So none of us are beyond reproach. We’re all trying to learn and get better. We have opportunities for people to shadow if interested in that field. UCF has a nursing simulation certificate program, post-masters, it’s three credit, three courses. In all of those three courses, you can come and shadow any day in the STIM Center . You come out as a simulation certificate person, and then most of them sit for their CHSE exam. And then we have the master’s in nursing simulation. So either way, if you don’t think I want a master’s, you can get a three course certificate, which has been really important because the push now is to have some kind of proof of what is your education level related to simulation.

Alex Cumming: Wow, you could spend a lot of time at UCF in the nursing program. That’s fantastic.

Desiree Diaz: Come on back, it’s interdisciplinary. So you have a degree in any kind of science field. You can take the sim course certificate. So we’ve had people from computer science, from kinesiology, because it’s moving, there’s a lot of crossover.

Alex Cumming: The computer science students, UCF has the amazing engineering programs that we do there’s bound to be great potential between students combining medical education and students who have more VR and simulation technology.

Desiree Diaz: Exactly there are now residencies for medical simulation. You can do a residency too.

Alex Cumming: You can spend your entire residency in-

Desiree Diaz: Medical simulation.

Alex Cumming: Since 2015, I imagine you’ve seen students go from fresh faced, bushy-tailed undergrads going all the way through all these amazing programs.

Desiree Diaz: One in particular I’m thinking of was an honors student that worked with me. And then she went for her healthcare simulation certifacation. Finished her master’s in nursing education and now she’s not at a UCF, but she just called me and said, “I don’t know, am I going to do a DNP or Ph.D?” You know, trying to figure out. And to me, that’s just one of the great rewards of being at a university with a good program.

Alex Cumming: And you didn’t say, “Hey, you can come on back. You know, we’ve got all these stuff going on here.”

Desiree Diaz: I always put that in there, but I try to, I try to be open-minded.

Alex Cumming: And what’s one thing that you are still hoping to do?

Desiree Diaz: I really want us to have a global impact, so more than UCF, more than Central Florida, making an impact. Related to healthcare disparities. Social determinants of health are going to change depending on the country, but being a resource, but also learning from the other places. For instance, my colleague and research partner, Dr. (Mindi) Anderson, and I just came back from the Bahamas where they just approved clinical replacement with simulation. So, they invited us to talk to them as experts, and we had to speak with their nursing board counsel for the Bahamas. Very intimidating, very old school. I mean, they, most of the nursing board council are seasoned nurses, and just asking us questions. We had to be on our game with the research. “Why is it important? Who can do it? What’s the benefit if we have clinical placements?” So just being that resource on a global perspective if we have the science, let’s get it out there let’s be that place where we’re getting called to come and facilitate for them.

Alex Cumming: Wow, that’s fantastic. Talk about global impact. You’re here presenting simulation technology who knows how many, lives that could change in the Bahamas? And I imagine that this interview, the questions are equally as difficult though as in the Bahamas.

Desiree Diaz: No, not uh, not as bad. Nursing boards historically have been reluctant to simulation at first. So nursing has been behind medicine, aviation, anesthesia, who are like, “Yes, we need simulation nursing.” We like that hand-to-hand contact at the bedside, which is great. And we need that, but it’s time to leverage some of our technologies to have improved education.

Alex Cumming: And speaking about the cultural congruency, I imagine Florida is such a great place to do it considering all the backgrounds, stories and history that comes together in Florida.

Desiree Diaz: It’s beautiful really. We have a unique opportunity, so I’ll use this for a little kind of commercial. We have at the STIM Center  opportunities for people in the community to participate in our simulations as they’re called embedded participants. So they’re volunteers, they end up being UCF volunteers. You can be the granddad of the manikin. You can be the mom, we’ve had the nanny, we’ve had the baby daddy. And people laugh when I say baby daddy, but it’s really important. Diversity isn’t just in race and ethnic background. It’s in make up, family make up and family structure. So we do run a simulation where the mom is experiencing complications. Who’s pregnant and the baby dad isn’t with the mom anymore. And he’s only concerned about the baby’s wellbeing. So we have a student that typically had played that baby daddy. And then the manikins mom was there too. So two live people interacting because as you’ve seen in recent events, interruption is a real thing in the hospital and you have to be able to manage some of those stressors by increasing your cognitive load. So colleague Dr. Peggy Hill recently defended her dissertation on that teaching our students interruption management strategies. How do you manage the patient when you have two people in the room? Maybe speaking loudly, maybe not, but asking you questions while you’re trying to think is not a very easy skill to learn on the fly in the hospital. So if we can practice that more. So if anyone’s out there that is thinking about volunteering, we have some members from life at UCF that are tried and true grandmas and grandpas that come into our scenarios and they’re really beneficial, students really enjoy them.

Alex Cumming: We talked about the collaboration between nursing and computer science, there might be a collaboration between nursing and the theater students, the actors here on campus. Desiree, thank you so much. I so appreciate your time. Learned a lot about the stuff that goes into nursing and the education of nursing and what coming into it, you might not be aware of and the subconscious things, the things that the nurses know to facilitate with patients and to give the best care. So, thank you so much. I so appreciate your time and getting to hear from you.

Desiree Diaz: Thank you. Thank you for having me anytime.

Alex Cumming: It’s reassuring knowing that UCF is leading the way in medical innovation as more students are becoming savvy with technology, it makes sense to bring it into the classroom. On the next episode of Knights Do That, I’ll be joined by actor and UCF alum, Adrian R’Mante, who you may know best from the hit Disney channel show, the Suite Life of Zack and Cody. We’ll chat about his journey at UCF to landing his role on the Suite Life of Zack and Cody and what advice you would give to young actors. For 20-somethings like myself, chatting with him was a great trip down memory lane and I can’t wait for y’all to hear it.

Arian R’Mante: When you’re pursuing your acting career in college, you always have those performances that stand out. I had a couple, I did cabaret there, musical, and I’m not a singer, but I’m a good actor. So I acted like I could sing and I fooled them all just like I fooled everybody that Esteban had an ac-, well that Adrian R’Mante, has an accent.

I don’t, I played one. That was an amazing- to this day one of my best performances of all time was right there at that UCF Theater. That’s my true story and without my foundation at UCF, I wouldn’t be where I am today, for sure. Hundred percent