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Connecting the Dots: Geriatric Nursing, Education and Clinical Simulation

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Nursing and Flinders University School of Nursing and Midwifery in Adelaide, Australia, co-hosted an international conference Connecting the Dots: Geriatric Nursing, Education, and Clinical Simulation in April 2009. The conference’s primary focus was addressing the urgent global need for nurses who possess state of the art geriatric nursing knowledge and competencies.

Dr. Susan Reinhard, Senior Vice President of the AARP Public Policy Institute, and Dr. Diana Mason, former Editor-in-Chief of the American Journal of Nursing, were keynote speakers. Dr. Reinhard’s talk, “Looking Through the Looking Glass: Opportunities for Nurses with Geriatric Competencies” included a discussion of preparing the new nursing workforce for increased involvement with geriatric and chronic disease patients, as well as describing opportunities for nurses with geriatric competency to influence healthcare reform in the United States. Dr. Reinhard highlighted nurses’ unique capabilities as person-centered caregivers (view video). Dr. Mason’s talk, “Ruminations on Simulations,” focused on the strengths and weaknesses of nursing clinical simulation, encouraging nurse educators to investigate different means of humanizing simulation and offering thoughts on expanding simulation to a broader medical audience. Dr. Mason also discussed the role of nurses in a reformed healthcare system, challenging nurses to take a more active stance as advocates for change in healthcare around the world (view video part 1 & part 2). Articles by presenters at this conference were included in the May 2010 issue of the Journal of Continuing Education in Nursing. The video clips are made possible through a grant from the Agency for Healthcare Policy and Research, grant number 1 R13HS018023-01.

Abstracts from the peer-reviewed podium presentations are available here. Thirty peer-reviewed posters were presented, highlighting geriatric nursing educational innovations with a focus on such topics as simulation technologies and relationships between nurses and elders in long term care. The conference featured interactive workshops using three human patient simulators and standardized patients, providing a hands-on opportunity for nurses to engage in simulations from the Center for Geriatric Clinical Simulation.

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