Interview with Suzie Kardong-Edgren, director of the RISE Center at Robert Morris University
Dr. Kardong-Edgren is the director of RMU’s regional Research and Innovation in Simulation Education (RISE) Center. The RISE Center, developed in 2009, is an educational resource for simulation training and research. According to Kardong-Edgren, “The RISE Center was built to serve the RMU campus and School of Nursing and Health Studies, but we also reach out to regional partners to help them with research and simulation needs.”
Kardong-Edgren is involved on committees for the American Heart Association and the Society for Simulation in Healthcare (SSH). In the past, she has served as editor in chief of Clinical Simulation in Nursing, and was the vice president of research for the International Nursing Association of Clinical Simulation and Leaning (INACSL).
Kardong-Edgren received her BSN from University of Nevada Reno, and her MS in nursing from Texas Woman’s University. She went on to earn a doctorate in health studies from Texas Woman’s University.
However, she came to simulation in education somewhat by accident.
“I stumbled into simulation,” Kardong-Edgren says. “I started in culture and cultural competency.” A colleague had her working with a METI manikin for a health assessment class in 2002-03. “We had to write all our scenarios for that class. They were very simple, but effective.”
At this time, Kardong-Edgren was offered the editorship of Clinical Simulation in Nursing, which was a self-published, in-house newsletter for INACSL. “I got to work selling this very promising journal to a publisher,” she said. In short order, Elsevier picked it up.
The next step on Kardong-Edgren’s career ladder had her traveling throughout the Dallas/Ft. Worth area managing four simultaneous CPR studies for the American Heart Association (AHA).
“I spent a year and a summer running all over with a pickup truck full of CPR manikins, ten cameras, and six undergraduate research helpers, all CPR instructors,” Kardong-Edgren recalls. “We had a blast. Those studies went well, and our team wrote everything up [for the AHA].”
Next, Kardong-Edgren went to Washington state for more teaching and research. The AHA and Laerdal Medical supported more CPR research while she was there. The National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) contacted her to consult on the National Simulation Study.
The National Simulation Study is the largest nursing education study ever done in the United States. It demonstrates that up to 50 percent of tradition clinical time could be substituted with simulation if certain other parameters were met.
After the simulation study, and becoming a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing, Kardong-Edgren felt her career was at its peak. “I thought there was no more ‘up’ after those things,” she said. “Then the folks at the Center for Medical Simulation at Harvard asked me to work for them part time and that is the pinnacle in my career. Now, there really is no more ‘up.’” Kardong-Edgren credits her impressive success to “a lot of work and some amazing luck.”
For the present, Kardong-Edgren is focused on writing the re-accreditation for the RISE Center in order for them to pass for next fall. “We are also testing some different virtual reality gaming and new 360 degree cameras for beaming real-time simulation around the planet.” She added, “We are always busy with new ideas in the RISE Center.”
Kardong-Edgren thinks simulation in healthcare education is important for students because it allows them to practice without causing anyone pain or discomfort. “Being able to practice in simulation to be prepared as best one can be for the clinical environment, with some good habit patterns and a bit of confidence, is a good way to help students be successful.”
Pocket Nurse® is proud to collaborate with Suzie Kardong-Edgren and Robert Morris University for the SimPOW program. SimPOW is an alliance for healthcare simulation users in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia. SimPOW was founded to help simulation users share best practice ideas in simulation education and advancement. For more information, visit the SimPOW site.