VASSA 2023 presenters Ackard, DeGennaro, Gaines, Hudgins
Again in 2023, simulation faculty - including Ryne Ackard, Gina DeGennaro, Jennifer Gaines, and Samantha Hudgins - shone at the Virginia State Simulation Conference.

Four faculty members - including three from the School's award-winning, INACSL-endorsed sim lab - took part in the annual Virginia State Simulation Alliance conference July 31 to Aug. 2, 2023, in Lynchburg, Va.

Presenters included Ryne Ackard, Gina DeGennaro, Jennifer Gaines, and Samantha Hudgins, who offered forums on simulation best practices, measurement, and behind-the-scenes views of the original simulations they'd developed, deployed, and tested at UVA, and their outcomes. Their presentations included:

  • "End of life simulation development" (DeGennaro and Gaines)
  • "Work smarter, not harder: Adapting pre-existing scenarios to your learner outcomes" (Ackard and colleagues)
  • "Development of obstetric simulations using a standardized patient" (Gaines and Hudgins)

Simulation faculty members provide clinical practice experiences that prepare students for clinical rotations, and play a growing role in students' readiness, confidence, and competence. These faculty members are key to developing vibrant new simulations to test students' mettle and to prepare them for the advent of caring for human patients in clinical environments when the stakes are higher and knowledge and seconds count.

Ryne Ackard, MS, CHSE, CHSOS

Ackard, an assistant professor of nursing, directs the Mary Morton Parsons Clinical Simulation Learning Center at the School, and is operations director of the UVA Healthcare Simulation Collaborative, a partnership between the Schools of Nursing and Medicine that oversees more than 30,000 square feet of simulation space for nursing and medical students in training.

Gina DeGennaro, DNP, CNS, RN, AOCN, CNL

DeGennaro is an award-winning faculty member and an oncology clinical nurse specialist and a professor leader that collaborates with partners to develop practice sites for clinical learning opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students and prepares faculty at all levels for their roles as educators across a host of School programs.

Jennifer Gaines, MSN, RN, CHSE, IBCLC

Gaines is a veteran nurse educator who, prior to her appointment at UVA, worked at Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital mentoring fellow RNs and working in labor and delivery providing direct patient care and postpartum mother-baby home visits. As regional clinical simulation educator for Sentara's Charlottesville and Rockingham County hospitals, Gaines trained new nurses in care standards and safety protocols. She is a certified lactation consultant and a certified healthcare simulation educator.

Samantha Hudgins, MSN, RN, CMSRN

Hudgins (BSN '13), a clinical instructor and clinical simulation debriefer, is an award-winning nurse educator and former UVA Health nurse who worked on the COVID-19 unit during and since the pandemic. Recently named a Virginia Nurse Association "40 Under 40" awardee, Hudgins has been key to developing, deploying, and testing new and innovative simulations that prepare students in areas from labor and delivery to vaccine hesitancy.