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IU Northwest nursing lecturer chosen to attend prestigious leadership development program

DeLuna lauded for unique simulation exercises she created to prepare future nurses


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Emily Banas
Office of Marketing and Communications

Erika Rose
Office of Marketing and Communications

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IU Northwest School of Nursing

Senior nursing students who participate in a two-day simulation lab during their last semester at Indiana University Northwest are under pressure to respond immediately to a patient’s changing condition.

Plummeting blood pressure? Labored breathing? Suddenly unconscious? There’s no time to consult the notes. It’s up to the student simply to respond. By role playing, students are immersed in a complex patient environment, and they have to make decisions in real time. The experience is one they typically can’t get otherwise, even in an actual clinical setting where regulations and concern for patient safety may limit their involvement.

IU Northwest Lecturer Rosalinda DeLuna, RN, MS, CCRN, created the unique two-day lab experience in an effort to provide the students with a safe environment to practice critical skills and compassion for deteriorating patients. She said a booming population of nursing students and a limited number of clinical sites are making experiences like these a necessity in nursing schools.

With simulation being the wave of the future in nursing education, the National League for Nursing (NLN) is working to prepare leaders in this emerging field. The NLN recently chose a handful of the country’s most promising educators to become experts in the field.

DeLuna is thrilled to be among them. In September, she’ll travel to Orlando to attend the NLN Educational Summit, which commences a year-long Leadership Development Program for Simulation Educators.

Over the next year, DeLuna will take a number of online courses, attend seminars, visit simulation labs, synthesize research, conduct still more research, and ultimately contribute to a body of knowledge that will help determine the best practices and teaching tools in simulation education.

Dean of the School of Nursing Linda Rooda, Ph.D, RN, said the opportunity afforded to DeLuna speaks volumes about the effectiveness of the two-day lab experience and about nursing education in general at IU Northwest. 

“When Rosalinda completes the (NLN) program,” Rooda said, “IU Northwest will be able to boast that it has one of the country’s premier experts on simulation education working right here on our campus – an expert whom other universities will look to for guidance. That is quite a statement.”

DeLuna said the invitation came as a surprise largely because her lab experience is done without a high-fidelity programmable mannequin. Still, her scenarios are complex, demanding, and often unscripted. And, she said, there are few programs that devote two full days to simulation instruction.

She said the demand for nurses to be astute problem-solvers who think fast on their feet is more important than ever, especially given the fact that, nowadays, only the sickest patients are hospitalized.

“My goal is to prepare nurses for a complex environment,” DeLuna said. “Because of the simulations they are more prepared for that complex environment and they can appreciate the importance of real-time thinking. I believe it makes their transition as graduate nurses easier.”

DeLuna previously worked as a critical care educator at Methodist Hospitals and has much experience providing Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) certification for doctors and nurses. In this role, she found that creating scenarios and requiring her students to respond quickly really helped them hone their decision-making skills.