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College of Nursing researcher honored for exploring learning in the video game world

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Monday, December 13, 2010

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Media Contact: Bridget Lewis, Office:817-272-3317, Cell:214-577-9094, blewis@uta.edu

ARLINGTON - A University of Texas at Arlington College of Nursing professor’s use of 3D gaming technology to teach students about in-hospital pediatric care has earned her the top spot in a competition sponsored by the Society for Simulation in Healthcare.

Judy Leflore will present her study – which explored whether a specially designed 3D video game worked as well as a lecture in teaching nursing students to respond in a clinical setting - during the Society for Simulation’s 11th International Meeting on Simulation in Healthcare in January in New Orleans. Her research abstract was selected as first place winner in the category of Emerging and Innovative Technologies and Methods.

Leflore and UT Arlington nursing assistant professor Mindi Anderson worked with Marjorie Zielke, assistant professor of arts and technology at The University of Texas at Dallas, to develop a game scenario called “iNursingRN: Respiratory Distress.” They then evaluated 93 senior nursing students, half who played the game and “treated” four virtual pediatric patients with respiratory illnesses and half who attended a three-hour lecture on the same topic.

“The game is designed to reinforce the elements of the nursing process: assessment, identification of the problem, review of the physician's orders, reassessment at every intervention and calling for help when interventions don’t work,” Leflore said. “When we tested students in the UT Arlington Smart Hospital later, we found that the game users were more likely to make correct decisions during the care of the patient and they did it in a shorter period of time than the lecture group.”

The work was backed by $250,000 in funding from the UT System’s Transforming Undergraduate Education grant program.

Leflore said she hopes the research will help provide options for the state's clinical nursing faculty, which are under increasing pressure because of teaching shortages. State leaders have called on nursing schools to produce more graduates in order to meet increasing demand. Recent state studies have predicted that the demand for registered nurses will far outpace the supply over the next decade.

Leflore, who joined UT Arlington in 2003 after nearly 20 years as a practicing nurse and neonatal practitioner, is a leader in the use of simulation technology in teaching. She has earned national recognition for her work, including being named a fellow in the National League for Nursing’s Academy of Nursing Education in 2010.

UT Arlington’s College of Nursing is one of the largest in the nation, with more than 5,000 students enrolled in its pre-licensure and graduate programs. It is designated as one of nine “High Performing” nursing programs in Texas based on RN licensure exam and graduation rates of more than 90 percent. For more information, visit www.uta.edu/nursing/.

The University of Texas at Arlington is a comprehensive undergraduate and graduate institution of nearly 33,000 students in the heart of North Texas. Visit www.uta.edu to learn more.

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The University of Texas at Arlington is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action employer.

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