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Contributing Authors, 1st Edition

Larissa Marquez Africa, MBA, BSN, RN

Larissa Africa is vice president of Versant Holdings, LLC. Africa began her nursing career at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA) as an RN resident and was involved in several unit-based activities, including precepting. Her involvement with the CHLA RN Residency expanded when she became the curriculum coordinator and soon after became the RN Residency manager. Managing the RN Residency provided her with the opportunity to listen to preceptors and build tools to assist preceptors in their role. Africa’s role in transitioning a department-based RN Residency to what is now Versant Holdings, LLC has contributed to her knowledge of the pragmatics of precepting by learning from the best practice community of Versant clients.

Cherilyn Ashlock, MSN, RN

Cherilyn Ashlock has been a nurse for 11 years, focusing clinically on pediatric critical care and emergency department nursing, and professionally on the transition of new graduate nurses to professional practice through the Versant RN Residency. Ashlock completed a Master’s in Nursing Education at California State University, Los Angeles, in 2006. She is involved in both the clinical and academic arenas of nursing education as an adjunct faculty member for adult and pediatric nursing at her alma mater, Georgia Baptist College of Nursing of Mercer University in Atlanta, Georgia. Her primary work is as a director at Versant Holdings, LLC, where she helps clients enhance the delivery model of RN Residency through the evidence base of the Versant National Database. Involvement in the RN Residency has driven her career passion in nursing to focus on recruitment, training, and retention of new graduate nurses. Ashlock has had the privilege of multiple speaking engagements, publications, and presentations regarding the transition of new graduate nurses into the workforce.

Carol A. Bradley, MSN, RN, CENP


Carol Bradley is the senior vice president and system chief nursing officer for the Legacy Health System, a six-hospital integrated health care delivery system serving Portland, Oregon, and southwest Washington. Prior to joining Legacy, Bradley served in a variety of senior nursing executive positions in large health systems, including the not-for-profit, forprofit, and public hospital sectors, and was also the regional vice president and editor for the California edition of NurseWeek. Within her nursing career, she has worked as a staff nurse, clinical specialist, clinical director, and senior nurse executive. Bradley holds associate and bachelor’s degrees in nursing from the University of Nebraska and a Master of Science in Nursing degree from the University of Arizona. She is a 1991 Wharton Fellow and is certified in Executive Nursing Practice (CENP) by the American Organization of Nurse Executives. She is a nationally known speaker and consultant on nursing/patient care, workforce issues, and work environment improvement, and is a frequent contributor to journals, media, and professional publications on topics important to nursing and patient care. She has contributed to several books and serves on the editorial board of Nursing Administrative Quarterly.

Thomas J. Doyle, MSN, RN


Tom Doyle has more than 31 years of experience as a registered nurse, hospital administrator, and nurse educator at all levels of education. He is one of the country’s top experts in the use of human patient simulation, having coordinated the patient simulation program at one of the first colleges in the United States to purchase the human patient simulator in the 1990s, facilitating the integration of high fidelity patient simulation across the nursing program curriculum in addition to many allied health programs (EMS, dental hygiene, and respiratory care). As vice president and chief learning officer for CAE Healthcare, Doyle is responsible for educational strategic planning and implementation and facilitating a team of educators around the world to assist CAE Healthcare customers in applying, developing, implementing, and facilitating high fidelity patient simulation into their education and hospital programs.

Cathleen M. Deckers, EdD, RN


Cathy Deckers has more than 15 years of nursing education and training experience in both the service and academic arenas. Her academic areas of expertise include utilization of high fidelity simulation for education training and competency assurance, management, supervision of clinical rotation experiences, and data collection and research in clinical workforce issues. Deckers’ research interests include high fidelity simulation, learning theory, and gaming. She currently works for CAE Healthcare, where she is responsible for successful implementation of simulation and education services.

Amy K. Doepken, BSN, RN, CCRN


Amy Doepken is a registered nurse who works in the Kern Critical Care Unit at Legacy Good Samaritan Medical Center in Portland, Oregon. Her responsibilities include managing the unit training program, facilitating the debriefing program, running the clinical mentoring program, and functioning as a relief charge nurse. Doepken also works part-time for the Clinical Practice Department at Legacy Health, supporting the RN Residency program and the system-wide nurse precepting program for Legacy’s six medical centers. Doepken graduated with a Bachelor of Nursing Science from the University of Portland in 2002, received her CCRN certification in 2009, and is an active member of AACN. She began her career at Sacred Heart Medical Center in Eugene, Oregon, working in the Surgical and Trauma Critical Care Unit. In 2010, she was recognized for her precepting and mentoring work with a Legacy Health 2010 Circle of Excellence Award.


Denise D. Fall, BSN, RN


Denise Fall is the nurse manager of Legacy Health’s Kern Critical Care Unit, which has received the Beacon Award for Critical Care Excellence. She joined the Kern Critical Care Unit in 2001 and worked as a staff nurse, preceptor, and charge nurse before assuming the role of nurse manager in 2007. Fall has successfully hired and transitioned new nurse graduates to her 28-bed, high-acuity critical care unit. Under her leadership, new nurse graduates are welcomed, supported, and mentored into her unit. She also believes in finding opportunities for her staff to be involved in nursing practice, whether on a unit or site, or on a system, local, or national level. Fall received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Linfield College in Portland, Oregon, in 1998 and is currently pursuing her MSN in Healthcare Systems Management from Loyola University. She was the recipient of the Legacy Health 2010 Circle of Excellence Leadership Award and is a member of Sigma Theta Tau International, AACN, and AONE.

Mary Lyn Feldt, MSN, RN


Mary Lyn Feldt is a patient care specialist and RN Residency manager at Legacy Health. She received her master’s in nursing care of children with a dual focus on clinical practice and nursing education from Case Western Reserve University. Feldt is experienced in clinical support, nursing education, and program development for acute care facilities, with more than 17 years of experience in supporting new employees (both experienced and new graduates) entering health care systems. She has developed and implemented multiple formal orientation programs, including formal preceptor and mentor programs, and has more than 14 years of experience as a children’s clinical nurse specialist while building several growing pediatric service areas. She remains involved in clinical focus through the nurse residency. Feldt’s focus is building and enhancing the onboarding and transition processes for nurses within Legacy Health via formal system-wide programs.

Mary S. Haras, MS, MBA, APN, NP-C, CNN


Mary Haras is a nursing faculty member at Saint Xavier University in Chicago, Illinois. She teaches at the graduate and undergraduate levels in both the classroom and clinical settings. Haras has served as a preceptor and mentor to students, nurses, and faculty to acclimate them to their new roles. She is an adult nurse practitioner and is involved with the American Nephrology Nurses’ Association, with an interest in chronic kidney disease. Haras is currently pursuing her PhD in nursing at Illinois State University in Bloomington, Illinois.

Cindy Lefton, PhD, RN


Cindy Lefton has combined her knowledge of organizations with her extensive experience as a registered nurse, paramedic, and clinical research nurse to develop a variety of effective interventions for academic medical centers and hospitals. These projects encompass a broad scope of services, including coaching, team building, survey development, and organizational collaboration training. Her research interests include healthy work environments, demonstrating respect in the workplace, and collaboration between nurses and ancillary services partners. Currently, she is leading The DAISY Award Impact Research team. Lefton has published articles on collaboration, respect, and culture change and led the AONE, ARAMARK, and Studer Group research team to develop and validate the NS3, a survey that assesses nurse satisfaction with support services. Lefton obtained her PhD in psychology from St. Louis University. She earned a Master of Science in Research from St. Louis University and a Master of Arts in Human Resource Management from Washington University, a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Psychology and Organizational Psychology from Washington University, and a nursing diploma from Jewish Hospital School of Nursing. In addition to her consultant role, Lefton continues to practice as an emergency department RN at Saint Mary’s Health Center in St. Louis.

Karen C. Robbins, MS, RN, CNN


Karen Robbins is the nurse educator for the dialysis and transplant programs at Hartford Hospital, Hartford, Connecticut. She has been a mentor and educator for many nurses, particularly in nephrology nursing. She is a past president of the American Nephrology Nurses’ Association and is associate editor for the Nephrology Nursing Journal. She is a published author, editor, experienced speaker, and legal nurse consultant. Most recently, she served as co-editor of Applying Continuous Quality Improvement in Clinical Practice (2nd edition).

Kim A. Richards, RN


As a nurse and an executive recruiter, Kim Richards became increasingly aware of the “revolving door” of nurses in acute care facilities. After interviewing hundreds of nurses, she noticed a common theme was emerging. Nurses were expressing signs and symptoms of compassion fatigue, a debilitating phenomenon that is caused by years of built-up emotional residue. By combining her passion for nursing, fitness, and coaching with her extensive research on the science of self-care, Richards created the components of Self- Care Academy, LLC, a comprehensive program that is dedicated to improving employee engagement and relationships with peers and to creating an optimum healing environment for patients. An author, professional speaker, and health coach, Richards is passionate about supporting busy caregivers in their quest for practical self-care integration.

Laurie Shiparski, MS, BSN, RN


Laurie Shiparski has more than 30 years of experience in nursing and health care leadership positions. She has worked in various roles, including critical care RN, clinical hospital leadership, health care consulting business owner, and corporate executive in a health care technology and clinical practice company. She is a senior vice president at Verras Consulting. Her focus in consulting has included leadership development and coaching, interdisciplinary communication and partnership, physician-driven practice improvement, creating healthy work cultures, and advancing evidence-based practice and technology to improve interdisciplinary care. Shiparski has sought to uncover her gifts and bring her authentic self to work and life, which has inspired her to offer programs that focus on taking care of self, navigating change, finding passion and purpose, and creating new possibilities. She is also an international speaker and an author of numerous articles and five books.

Jennifer L. Thornburgh, BSN, RN


Jennifer Thornburgh is an emergency department nurse manager with Legacy Health in Portland, Oregon. She has more than 17 years experience in emergency nursing and has Contributing Authors xiii worked in various roles, including staff RN, preceptor, nurse educator, charge nurse, legal nurse consultant, emergency management coordinator, nursing supervisor, and manager. Thornburgh believes that new graduate nurses can be successful in the emergency department, and their success is highly dependent on both a robust didactic experience and a strong preceptor support program. In her role as manager, she co-chairs the Preceptor Development and Support Committee at Legacy Health. This group refined Legacy’s preceptor program with a focus on objective preceptor selection criteria, preceptor education, and ongoing support of the preceptor.

Wendy Jo Wilkinson, MSN, ARNP


Wendy Jo Wilkinson has more than 35 years of experience in the health care industry, serving in various roles within the acute hospital setting, home health care operations, and education. In these roles, she has gained expertise in leadership, multisite management, start-up operations, strategic and financial planning, establishing clinical standards and competencies, development of specialized clinical programs, quality management and improvement, customer relations, and sales and marketing initiatives. Wilkinson now serves as director of academic and hospital services for CAE Healthcare, managing a team that consults and assists customers with applying, developing, implementing, and facilitating high fidelity patient simulation into their academic and hospital-based programs, and is ultimately responsible for oversight of all of CAE Healthcare’s learning products to ensure they are clinically and pedagogically sound.

Collista J. Zook, MS, CNS, RN


Collista Zook is the clinical nurse specialist (CNS) for emergency and trauma services at Legacy Health in Portland, Oregon, and Vancouver, Washington. Before joining Legacy, she was the CNS for emergency services at a central Oregon hospital and a CNS/educator for the critical care department of a hospital in central Kansas. Zook graduated with a Diploma in Nursing from Baptist Hospital School of Nursing in St. Louis, Missouri, and received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing and Master of Science in Nursing degrees from Kansas University Medical Center in Kansas City, Kansas. In 2001, she completed her postgraduate education and certification in forensic nursing (concentration in injury and death investigation) from Beth-El College of Nursing & Health Sciences, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, Colorado.  Zook has 35 years in nursing, using her nursing knowledge and skills in a variety of clinical, public health, and specialty areas of nursing practice. She has also been a guest lecturer for trauma symposiums and key speaker for nursing and state investigators in forensic recognition and documentation. She sits on the Oregon State Board of Nursing’s Nurse Practice Council. Zook has developed, redesigned, and assisted in implementation of preceptor programs in many of the facilities she has been employed with and continues to support the embracing of ideals and freshness that accompany “new grads” in their first career positions as “new nurses.”

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