The new Nursing and Healthcare Simulation program is the first and only program of its kind in Florida, and one of just a few programs in the nation. Students will develop skills for leading simulation programs in education, team training and quality improvement in health care. The innovative online program is being offered in two options for nurses with a baccalaureate degree or higher – a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) and a graduate certificate. The graduate certificate program is also open to non-nurses with a bachelor’s degree in a related field.

“Simulation and technology are incredibly important to nursing education and clinical practice today as they help students and practitioners learn and sharpen their skills and ultimately, improve patient safety – and the future applications in health care are limitless,” said Mary Lou Sole, dean of the UCF College of Nursing.

“In recent years, the College of Nursing has advanced its teaching and research-related capabilities in this rapidly expanding field and formalizing a program was the next step. We’re excited to educate and empower a new generation of simulation experts to make a positive impact in nursing and patient care,” Sole added.

The program capitalizes on UCF’s location in Orlando, the epicenter for modeling, simulation and training. UCF, recognized by U.S. News & World Report among the “Most Innovative Schools” in the nation, brings together interdisciplinary teams of health care educators, practitioners, computer scientists and engineers to develop and use cutting-edge applications for simulation, training and practice to advance health care.

Students will work alongside nationally recognized faculty who are actively conducting research in simulation and includes four certified health care simulation educators (CHSE). The experts include:

  • Program coordinator Mindi Anderson, PhD, ARNP, CPNP-PC, CNE, CHSE-A, ANEF, one of only 18 certified advanced health care simulation educators in the nation, whose participation in groundbreaking research studies have helped establish best practices for using role modeling and simulation with undergraduate and graduate students;
  • Desiree Diaz, PhD, RN-BC, CNE, CHSE, whose research combines the cutting-edge technology of simulation with the deeper human emotion of empathy to improve care for underserved patient populations;
  • Laura Gonzalez, PhD, ARNP, CNE, CHSE, simulation coordinator at the UCF College of Nursing and board member of the International Nursing Association for Clinical Simulation and Learning, whose research uses simulation and technology to prepare future nurses and improve patient outcomes;
  • Computer scientist and engineer Gregory Welch, PhD, the Florida Hospital Endowed Chair in Healthcare Simulation who is currently leading a $2.3 million funded research project from the Office of Naval Research on “Human-Surrogate Interaction;” and
  • Pamela Andreatta, PhD, EdD, MFA, MA, CHSE, an internationally recognized leader in human performance research and past president of the Society for Simulation in Healthcare who is responsible for more than $22 million in research on six continents.
  • Additionally, students will have access to the university’s world-class facilities, which range from conventional low/medium/high-fidelity simulators (computerized manikins) to unique virtual reality-based ‘humans’ and scenarios that offer unprecedented human appearance, behavior and overall experiences.

    Applications are being accepted now

    Classes for the Nursing and Healthcare Simulation program, both MSN and graduate certificate, will begin in Fall 2016. Applications for these inaugural classes are due June 1, 2016. Late applications are being considered until the inaugural cohorts are full. Applications for Fall 2017 are due by Feb. 15, 2017. Prospective students are invited to attend an Information Session to learn more.

    The college has also added a new adult-gerontology nurse practitioner graduate program in acute care.