Gail Kost, MSN, associate professor and director of the Virtual Learning Center, first came to Valpo in 1990 as an assistant professor, teaching Fundamentals and Health Assessment until 2000, when she relocated to Indianapolis.
After gaining more than 15 years of experience in nursing simulation, including opening a new simulation center, Professor Kost received a phone call from Janet Brown, Ph.D., dean of the College of Nursing and Health Professions. Dean Brown recruited Gail to direct simulations at Valpo alongside Kerstin Koch, BSN, R.N. and Susan Zaweski, BSN, R.N., Virtual Learning Center assistants.
“I have a very strong faith,” Professor Kost says. “I was praying for guidance and got it, so I had to pursue that journey back to Valpo as that’s where God was calling me to go.”
At Valpo, students perform 14 simulations or scenarios during a three-year immersion program. In the Virtual Learning Center, they engage in head-to-toe health assessment, learning basic nursing skills, interview and communication skills, and how to document the entire process. Most simulations occur in the Simulation Lab, which houses the high-fidelity simulators, including neonatal, baby, junior, and a pregnant simulator that delivers a baby.
Students at Valpo gain clinical experience, where they can think and reason critically, collaborate with other students, and provide comprehensive patient care.
In her role, Professor Kost hopes to upgrade equipment and develop more collaborative simulations with various departments across campus, and she has started a major initiative to bring these kinds of experiences into the classroom.