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Home News Release International Award for Excellence Presented to Julie Rivers

International Award for Excellence Presented to Julie Rivers

July 11, 2008

At the recent International Association of Clinical Simulation and Learning (INACSL) Conference in San Jose California, Julie Rivers, Simulation Specialist from the School of Health and Human Studies at Loyalist College, was presented with  the prestigious 2008 Excellence in the Academic Setting award. The award recognizes an individual who demonstrates excellence in human simulation education in nursing. This technology helps faculty to create a realistic and safe patient-care situation within which students can gain confidence and competence.

Ms. Rivers was nominated by Karen Brooks Cathcart, Dean of the School of Health and Human Studies at Loyalist College and Patricia Pulito, a Clinical Laboratory Specialist in Northwestern Pennsylvania. “We received grant money to purchase intermediate fidelity human patient simulators,” explained Ms. Pulito. “My primary function, in addition to running nursing skills labs for nearly 300 Associate Degree Registered Nurses and Licensed Practical Nursing students each year, was to integrate technology into the curricula. This involved actively working with both faculties to develop nursing simulations. I had absolutely no experience in this area. I went online, found the names of other simulation laboratories, and contacted clinical lab coordinators from all over the United States, and fortuitously, one in Canada. I have had ongoing communication with Julie since that e-mail last spring. I cannot begin to describe how her mentoring has helped me in my current position. Julie extended an invitation for me to visit her lab. She spent an entire day teaching me how to assemble and disassemble the Laerdal Nursing Anne and to program scenarios using the VitalSim. I left her lab with an actual programmed scenario, and a basic understanding that I never could have obtained from simply reading the manual.”

“The School of Health and Human Studies is very proud that Julie has been recognized,” said Karen Brooks Cathcart. “While the College has invested significant amounts of funding to support Julie’s education and training related to simulation technology, her professional commitment and creativity have greatly contributed to the success of our simulation lab.”

In addition to receiving the INACSL award at the conference Mrs. Rivers also presented an instructional poster entitled "Innovative Curriculum Integration Strategies to Bridge the Theory Practice Gap". This poster outlined how the College has integrated simulation strategies and technologies into the first two years of the Loyalist College/Brock University collaborative Baccalaureate Nursing program at Loyalist. Earlier in June she was a presenter at the first Canadian Simulation User Network meeting sponsored by Laerdal, Canada, vendors of simulation technology equipment. The presentation was based on the virtual emergency room hospital computer simulation used in Loyalist’s Nursing and Practical Nursing programs.

“Throughout the past four years we have continually improved in our use of simulation and the ways that we are able to apply it,” said Julie Rivers. “It increases the students’ understanding of complexities in health care and because of that they are a step ahead of others. Our graduates have called and thanked us for that experience because they found that component of their training so meaningful, both personally and professionally.”


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Media Contact:  Marilyn Warren, Communications, Loyalist College, (613) 969-1913 ext. 2332; e-mail:  or Karen Brooks Cathcart, (613) 969-1913, ext. 2313