Alumni Spotlight Archive

Kathy Wilt

Until recently, HCE alum, Kathy Wilt, was an Assistant Professor at Duquesne University School of Nursing where she served as a coordinator in the accelerated BSN program and spearheaded the integration of simulation in this program. A few months after earning her PhD in Healthcare Ethics, she accepted a fellowship at the Veterans Administration Pittsburgh Healthcare System (VAPHS) in clinical simulation, offering her the opportunity to apply her dissertation research. Her dissertation, "Simulation-based Learning in Healthcare Ethics Education" researched traditional and non-traditional teaching methods in healthcare ethics education of medical and nursing students, virtue ethics, and the relationship of ethics education and quality of care. The research also explored the benefits and efficacy of using simulation in the ethics curricula of medical and nursing students.

The Advanced Interdisciplinary Fellowship in Clinical Simulation is a new fellowship sponsored by the Office of Academic Affiliations and SimLEARN, Department of Veterans Affairs. The one-year fellowship will further her knowledge and experience in simulation and provide opportunities to design, implement and evaluate simulations in her area of research - healthcare ethics. Her goals for the Clinical Simulation Fellowship include the development of simulations that advance professional ethics and clinical ethics skills on the part of healthcare professionals and also develop expertise with using standardized patients in ethics simulations. During the fellowship, she is on several hospital committees, including the ethics consultation committee. A feature of the fellowship is the opportunity to work with standardized patients (or patient actors) in developing the simulation experiences. The program collaborates with the Peter M. Wiser Institute for Simulation Education and Research (WISER) at the University of Pittsburgh and the Standardized Patient Program at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

Kathy has several projects in the planning stages, one of which will engage staff nurses in clinical ethics simulations. She is working with another HCE alum and simulation fellow, Dr. Marianne Burda, on simulations to develop ethics consultation skills in hospital staff who are involved in ethics case consultation. Not all her work is with ethics-based simulation, however. Her work will include simulations on code management and crisis resource management, among others, as well as the use of virtual reality task trainers and computer-based simulation. Recently, she traveled with other Simulation Fellows to the VA SimLEARN facility in Orlando, Florida for simulation training. The training included a visit to the Army Simulation Center where the group had a first-hand look at new and emerging technologies in simulation. The interdisciplinary fellowship is a rich experience that provides an exceptional opportunity to work with various members of the healthcare team. She is looking forward to this opportunity to apply her dissertation research in healthcare ethics simulation and to share the results with others.

Sr. Thea Kraus

Shortly after Sr. Thea Kraus successfully defended her doctoral dissertation in our program, she boarded a plane to Manila to teach a course for Duquesne's School of Leadership.  Her 24 students are all women religious (Catholic sisters) who are enrolled in an MS in Leadership degree program with a concentration in Leadership in Mission, offered by the School of Leadership and Professional Advancement. The title of Sr. Thea's course was Foundations of Leadership - Spiritual and Professional. The students work in or come from 9 different countries in Africa and Asia (India, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Taiwan, Myanmar, Ghana, Nigeria, Tanzania, and the Philippines) and they represent 18 different congregations of women religious. This is the second cohort of students who have attended this program, which is partially funded by European foundations that have recognized the need for preparing leaders of congregations of women religious from Asia and Africa. Students will attend three, 6-week residential sessions in Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines over the next two years and will complete their degree requirements in 2014.

Sister Thea used her doctoral research on virtuous organizations inspired by Catholic mission while teaching the course. She tells us, "I found the audience which was comprised of leaders and future leaders of Catholic facilities receptive to my research. They were anxious to dialogue about the implications of my proposed components of a virtuous organization on their responsibilities as leaders of health systems, universities and other social service agencies." Sr. Thea, you make us proud.