VCU School of Nursing news and events

Educating nurses from entry-level through the doctorate. Ranked in the top 4% of undergraduate nursing programs nationally.

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On May 27, approximately 70 nurse educators and health care professionals from across the state gathered for the fourth annual Virginia State Simulation Alliance (VASSA) Conference. Hosted by the VCU School of Nursing, the event focused on a variety of issues related to incorporating simulation into nursing education and clinical practice.
According to Reba Moyer Childress, VASSA’s founder and director and faculty member at the UVA School of Nursing, the organization and conference were created to offer a resource for nursing programs throughout the state. While there were national and international programs, there was no state organization to support simulation in education and clinical practice.
“When we started VASSA, Virginia had the highest number of Sim-ManĀ® simulators of any state, not counting other high-fidelity simulators used to create simulations in nursing education. Through this conference, we’re teaching our own educators how to effectively integrate simulation in nursing education to ensure better outcomes for our students and patients,” Childress said.
Simulation is also playing an increasingly important role in training for nurses and other health care professionals. “Hospitals have a strong focus on patient safety issues. Simulation is a good way to integrate patient safety strategies into continuing education programs,” Childress said.
Noreen Crowley, a grant writer with the INOVA Health System, attended to learn more about opportunities for funding simulation. At INOVA simulation is incorporated in specialized professional development for medical staff. The VCU Medical School at INOVA is also focused on expanding the use of simulation in the medical curriculum.
Holly Pugh, a nurse educator with the Bon Secours School of Nursing participated to learn more about the use of simulation in nursing education. “We’re trying to broaden the use of simulation in our nursing program. I’m attending the workshop today to learn more about creating educational scenarios and integrating simulation in our curriculum,” Pugh said.
Sandy Voll, director of the VCU School of Nursing’s Clinical Learning Center, was one of eight VCU faculty members in attendance. She’s seen first-hand the importance of simulation in nursing education.
“Simulation allows our students to utilize knowledge from readings and lecture courses in a clinical setting. Critical thinking and priority setting lead to developing clinical judgment,” Voll said. “Our faculty have fully embraced simulation and have integrated it throughout our curriculum.”
Plans are already underway for VASSA’s 5th Conference that will take place next May. For questions regarding VASSA, please contact

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