Galen College of Nursing opens phase one of Advanced Simulation Center

  • Friday, November 29, 2013

Kathryn M. Mershon

Galen College of Nursing has opened a 3,000 square foot simulation center at its River Green campus, to be dedicated to college founder and Louisville resident, Kathryn M. Mershon, MSN, RN, CNAA, FAAN. This marks the completion of phase one of Galen’s Advanced Simulation Center development, which will double in size with phase two, scheduled for completion mid-2014. When complete, Galen College of Nursing will house one of the state’s largest high-fidelity nursing simulation centers.

Phase I of the new lab features three simulation rooms with supporting control and debriefing rooms. High-fidelity simulation refers to structured student learning experiences with the use of technologically advanced computerized mannequins which are anatomically precise and reproduce physiologic responses. Students are administered sequential decision-making events within an environment that mimics a clinical setting and instructors can control the mannequin’s responses to the students’ interventions. The state-of-the-art laboratory addresses a critical component of nursing education — the ability to translate nursing theory into safe and effective patient care.

Mershon currently serves as Galen’s board of directors chairperson. Throughout her career, Mershon has served on numerous local community and national professional boards. She has had significant involvement in community level planning for the development of a competitive workforce through the Louisville Area Chamber of Commerce. She formerly served as the chair of the board of trustees of The NLN Foundation for Nursing Education (Washington, D.C.), and was a member of the Board of Stewardship Trustees of Catholic Health Initiatives (Denver), one of the largest healthcare corporations in the country. Additionally, she was a member of the Board of Alegent Health (Omaha), a joint operating company of Catholic and Lutheran health systems.

Mershon is a native of South Carolina, born and raised in Charleston and Mount Pleasant, and educated in the Catholic School System. She graduated from Bishop England High School, Class of 1960, and St. Francis Xavier School of Nursing, Charleston in 1963. She furthered her education at Spalding University College of Nursing, earning a BSN in 1967 and an MSN at St. Louis University in 1969.

Mershon was Humana’s Chief Nursing Officer when the decision was made to open a nursing school to address a severe nursing shortage in the late 1980s. Placed in charge of its creation by David A. Jones, Sr., Humana co-founder, she was instrumental in creating the organizational infrastructure, the development of curriculum and the approval of regulatory bodies to open three campuses of the Galen Health Institute, serving as president until 1992. Mershon was called upon again in 2006 to serve as chairperson of the college’s independent board of directors.

Mershon was thrilled at the request. “I was honored and happy to be involved again. I place a high priority on collaborating with the leadership who are bringing Galen to the forefront of nursing education. They have done a remarkable job building an institution that is sensitive to the evolution of nursing education in order to meet the needs of healthcare providers.” Fellow board member James Appleberry, EdD, said of Mershon, “Kathy’s example of nursing leadership at the local and national level is an inspiration and model for nurses everywhere. Her concern and involvement with students, her insight into the future of nursing, and her unfailing commitment to excellence makes her the ideal person for whom this facility should be named.”

Mershon is particularly pleased to see this use of technology evolve at the college she helped create. “This technology is critical in the preparation of students to go into clinical settings with live patients. As nursing educators, it is invaluable to the development of critical thinking skills and the ability to assess and make real-time decisions. Students are also able to practice a procedure in a deliberate, controlled environment. It helps better prepare new graduates for transition into the workforce.”

Said Mark Vogt, president Galen College of Nursing, “As a founder of the college and our board chair of seven years, Kathy Mershon has been unwavering in her efforts to provide nursing education that is both accessible and of the highest quality. The dedication of the Advanced Simulation Center honors Kathy’s enduring commitment to preparing our students to become competent and caring nurses and to advancing the profession.” 

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