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November 8, 2006

Contact: Patricia Adams

Laerdal Medical Names University of Maryland School of Nursing a Center of Excellence in Simulation Education

Baltimore, Md. –The University of Maryland School of Nursing has been named a Center of Excellence in Simulation Education by Laerdal Medical, an international manufacturer of medical devices such as stethoscopes and automatic defibrillators, as well as interactive computer and patient simulators for educating health care professionals. The School of Nursing was chosen for this prestigious honor because of its leadership, education, and research initiatives in simulation learning. The award was presented by Tore Laerdal, global president of Laerdal Medical, at the National League of Nursing's (NLN) Technology and Simulation Conference, held recently at the School of Nursing.

The School has collaborated with Laerdal since the 1980's to develop learning strategies and health care simulation, and was one of eight schools chosen by the NLN in 2003 to conduct a research project for documenting the importance of simulation learning. Today, the School boasts 24 clinical simulation laboratories at its Baltimore campus – more than any other school of nursing in the nation – that utilize simulation as an integrated teaching strategy throughout the curriculum. In addition, the School is home to Sim Man, Vital Sims Toddler and Baby, Sim Dog, computerized virtual I.V. simulation, micro-simulation, and other technologies manufactured by Laerdal, which allow nurses and other health care professionals to practice their skills on “simulated patients.”

“The University of Maryland School of Nursing is honored to have this continuing partnership with Laerdal, a corporation that cares about health care education, research, and the community,” says Debra Spunt, MS, RN, FAAN, director of the School's simulation labs. “As a Laerdal Center of Excellence, we have the opportunity to share in the company's mission, while educating nurses and other health care workers.”

As part of the partnership, Spunt, an expert in the design and educational applications of simulation laboratories, has worked with Laerdal to help facilitate the Create a Lab Program that assists schools of nursing in integrating simulation into the curriculum. Beyond this partnership, Spunt consults with nursing schools, both nationally and internationally, on the development of realistic learning environments that will bring simulation alive and help provide active, hands-on learning for nursing students and health care providers.

“Our school of nursing emphasizes the principles of leadership, partnership, and innovation,” says Janet D. Allan, PhD, RN, CS, FAAN, dean of the School of Nursing. “This honor speaks to our success in addressing each of these principles through our partnership with Laerdal, our ground-breaking efforts in integrating simulation learning into the nursing curriculum, and our research in developing the evidence base for simulation education."

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