Laura Gonzalez, director of simulation and clinical associate professor at the University of Central Florida’s College of Nursing, has been inducted into the 2019 class of fellows for the National League for Nursing’s Academy of Nursing Education.

Among the first certified advanced health care simulation educators in the world, Gonzalez was selected for her valuable contributions to innovative teaching and learning strategies, nursing education research and leadership. She is one of 17 distinguished nurse educators in this year’s class honored during a ceremony the NLN Education Summit in Washington.

“The [new fellows] represent the building blocks of enterprise, creativity and drive that undergird the foundation of excellence in nursing education. We applaud their critical role in preparing nursing school graduates to deliver sustainable, accessible, culturally relevant and adjusted care to a diverse patient population, which advances the health of the nation and the global community,” said G. Rumay Alexander, president, professor and diversity champion at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

Gonzalez has dedicated her career to advancing the science of nursing education through the use of simulation and its impact on learning outcomes. Her research has been presented nationally and internationally, and published in peer-reviewed journals. Early in her career, she received a $1.3 million U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration grant to instruct nurse educators in technology, simulation and telehealth. More than 300 nurses have been educated through the initiative.

Recently, she was part of a multi-disciplinary university research project that used simulation to educate nursing students on the care of LGBTQ patients and is currently part of an interdisciplinary team at UCF developing the patented physical-virtual patient bed, an innovative tool that brings humanity to simulation. She is currently investigating the concept of fidelity, and how real something needs to be for learning to occur.

In March, she served as chair of the inaugural and interprofessional NLN-UCF Simulation Conference, which had about 120 attendees. Currently, she serves as vice president of programs for the International Nursing Association for Clinical Simulation & Learning, is an on-site reviewer for the Commission on Credentialing Nursing Education, and is a member of both the Society for Simulation in Healthcare and Sigma, the international nursing honor society. Additionally, she is a reviewer for several publications and journals including BMJ: Simulation Technology Enhanced Learning, Clinical Simulation in Nursing, the Journal of Transcultural Nursing, and the Journal of Inter-professional Education.

A 2008 alumna of the UCF Nursing Ph.D. program, Gonzalez joined the college faculty in 2011 as an assistant professor. In her current role, she is charged with expanding the implementation of the technology in curriculum across programs and campuses to enhance student skills development and learning.

Gonzalez is one of 16 distinguished national faculty fellows at the UCF College of Nursing.