Lourdes nursing students experience real life situations thanks to simulation

–by Sylvania AdVantage Staff
Publication Date: 11.01.16

Lourdes Nursing Lab Instructor Sarah Thomas , right, plays the role of the ‘interfering girl friend’ during a clinical simulation while nursing students  Corinna Anderson ,  Taylor Walterreit  and  Kaitlin Kurz  handle a ’patient crisis’ situation.
Lourdes Nursing Lab Instructor Sarah Thomas , right, plays the role of the ‘interfering girl friend’ during a clinical simulation while nursing students Corinna Anderson , Taylor Walterreit and Kaitlin Kurz handle a ’patient crisis’ situation.

Lourdes nursing students experience real life situations using human patient simulation, better known as high-fidelity mannequins, with virtual and computer- based simulations, to teach psychomotor skills, or role play.

“Because of our well-equipped lab, students are prepared for what could happen during real life experiences,” noted Director of the Nursing Skills Learning Lab Melissa Pietrzak, an alumni of Lourdes University School of Nursing. “Our simulations provide a rich learning opportunity for students to integrate what they learn in theory while making real-time clinical decisions just as they would in the hospital setting.”

“Thanks to the forward thinking of the administration and the generosity of our many supporters, we have been able to add sophisticated, computerized mannequins that can be programmed to make heart and lung sounds and even simulate giving birth,” Pietrzak added.

The human life simulators are incorporated into the lab curriculum, where advanced nursing students spend from three to six hours per week. The focus is on evidence-based practices and fundamentals for those students beginning their clinical experience. The second phase includes pharmacology, assessment and mental health, which could include the utilization of the low-fidelity mannequins, or those without any interactive features. According to Pietrzak, those mannequins are helpful for students in administering medications and giving injections, among other procedures.

Simulation has provided a diverse perspective for all of the nursing students that range from first semester students through fourth semester. The interactive mannequins that are provided for each simulation are seen as key in achieving safe, quality, patient-centered care. The learning lab classes provided at Lourdes University give the students the opportunity to deal with complex problems and critical events in a non-threatening environment.

“Our goal is to prepare our students to build their critical thinking knowledge that will demonstrate sound, safe, clinical decisions,” Pietrzak said.

According to the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, simulation is an educational process that imitates the working environment and requires the learner to demonstrate procedural techniques, decision-making and critical thinking. Studies show that students involved in active learning obtained through stimulation retain knowledge longer, report more self-confidence and express a higher level of satisfaction with the learning experience.

“In addition to our human life simulators, our nursing lab teaching assistants role play and. many times, students will volunteer to play the roles as well. Our simulations are structured around what the students are learning from their theory classes to support all components of learning styles,” she explained.

“For example, the fourth semester advanced students participate in a simulation that includes a high-fidelity mannequin set up to play a ‘man’ named Steve Austin, who is experiencing a heart condition and was rushed to the hospital. His ‘girlfriend,’ regularly played by staff member Sarah Thomas, interferes with the nursing students dealing with the heart crisis. Those students learn to assess their ‘patient’s’ condition, determine procedures in response to his clinical manifestations, also known as his signs and symptoms, and focus on patient care, while the ‘girl friend’ attempts to distract them. Eventually the goal is to administer actions to save ‘Steve’s’ life, all of which is videotaped,” she said.

Following the simulation experience, students and instructors take time to debrief. This includes reviewing the recorded simulation so the students and instructor can evaluate their performance, which enhances the entire experience, according to Pietrzak. “The advantages to simulation allow the learner to experience a crisis situation before it occurs in the clinical setting,” she said.

Lourdes nursing students Kaitlin Kurz and Taylor Walterreit continue to treat their ‘patient,’ Steve, while dealing with his ‘girlfriend,’ played by instructor Sarah Thomas, during a clinical experience in the Lourdes Nursing Lab.
Lourdes nursing students Kaitlin Kurz and Taylor Walterreit continue to treat their ‘patient,’ Steve, while dealing with his ‘girlfriend,’ played by instructor Sarah Thomas, during a clinical experience in the Lourdes Nursing Lab.

Sisters of St. Francis enjoy 100-year history in Sylvania

–by Sylvania AdVantage Staff

For the past 100 years, the Sisters of St. Francis have been a significant component to the Sylvania community.

In 1916, a small group of Franciscans from Rochester, Minn., moved to Toledo to teach Polish immigrants in city Catholic schools. The next year, those 23 women under the direction of Sister Mary Adelaide Sandusky managed to purchase 89 acres of farmland in Sylvania and formally established the Motherhouse for the Sisters of St. Francis, Congregation of Our Lady of Lourdes of Sylvania.

Two longtime members of the Sisters of St. Francis of Sylvania community, Sister Marie Andree Chorzempa and Sister Ann Francis Klimkowski have fond recollections of their part of the history. They both made significant contributions to  the Sisters of St. Francis community and what is now known as Lourdes University.

Sister Marie Andree Chorzempa
Sister Marie Andree Chorzempa

Sister Marie Andree was charged with beginning the process of growing Lourdes College from a two-year institution to a four-year college during her tenure as president. Sister Ann Francis, who took over the office of president in 1983, implemented the move to four-year status.

According to Sister Marie Andree,  who joined the Franciscan community in 1939 at the age of 12, the campus was a very big place with lots of trees and only a few buildings. “Looking back at all of the changes and growth tells me so much about the pioneering spirit of the Sisters and Mother Adelaide; their vision, determination and conviction of what religious life was to be,” she reflected. “Mother Adelaide was an artist and had been a dean at St. Theresa’s College in Winona, Minn. She had great trust in God’s plan but asked what could she and the Sisters do with the 89 acres of yellow sand. She knew how to reach out to others for help and learned that evergreens would grow in yellow sand. She and the Sisters planted evergreens and established the academy for young girls entering the Sisters of St. Francis community. Mother Adelaide believed in the importance of the arts and stressed the value of a liberal arts education, which is evidenced everywhere on the campus today.

She continued, “We are so blessed that she was here. Her appreciation for the aesthetics has been incorporated into everything here. The broadness of her vision allowed Mother Adelaide to do all that she did here and still progress in other ministries. In addition to building the academy and growing it into Lourdes College, she started many hospitals and was on top of all phases. She knew what Sisters to place where.”

Sister Marie Andree completed her education graduating from St. Theresa College in Winona, Minn., received her master’s degree from St. Louis and her Ph.D. from Oregon State University. She said that Mother Adelaide required all of the Sisters to be educated at different places. Sister Marie Andree taught at the elementary, high school and university levels and served as president of Lourdes College for two years. She served on the General Council for eight years and as General Superior for eight years. She then served in parish ministry and ministered in healthcare administration for seven years. She also served as a teacher trainer for religious education at the Isleta Pueblo in New Mexico for five years. She returned to Sylvania and spent nine years working in the archives of the Motherhouse.

“I am blessed that I have gotten to know the revelatory nature of human experience,” she offered.

Sister Ann Francis was 22 years of age when she joined the Sisters of St. Francis and began her journey with the community in 1953. She continues to marvel at the relationships she has developed with all of the Sisters.

She recalls that when she first arrived, there seemed to be a mystique about the community  “People in the area were very curious about the campus and often would conjecture about all the activity there. The Sisters were open to  becoming better known and made a concerted effort to be good neighbors, a philosophy that continues today,” she said.

 PIC Sister Ann Francis Klimowski

PIC Sister Ann Francis Klimowski


However, when Lourdes was first opened in 1958, it served primarily the Sisters of St. Francis. Education of the Sisters had always been paramount. It wasn’t until 10 years later or so, that Lourdes welcomed lay women to campus.

In the early 1970s, an agreement with St. Vincent’s School of Nursing led to males attending classes on the Lourdes campus. “It was during the late 1970s that the Sisters of St. Francis leadership authorized a feasibility study to determine if there was support for a four-year Catholic college.

When Sister Ann Francis put on the mantle of president, she and her team did research on adult learners and began to develop programs to attract that student demographic. “We saw the beginning of the Lourdes Auxiliary and the birth of fundraising for scholarship programs,” she said.

Sister Ann Francis, whose academic training in education led to a 21-year teaching career as an elementary teacher and high school teacher and principal before joining the faculty at Lourdes College where she taught and was a dean before becoming president for 17 years. She then returned to teaching in the Masters of Organization Leadership program, a position she maintained for seven years. “I love being in the classroom,” she noted.

She added, “Each time I was asked to do something, I was prepared. The leadership of the Sisters has always been able to focus on the abilities of each of us and has made sure that we were well prepared for the jobs we would be doing.”

“Now, we have moved to attracting more traditional students, which has been made possible by adding the athletic program and student housing,” Sister Ann Francis said. “And throughout our history, the Sisters have always been very supportive of Lourdes.”

Nationally known speaker to offer “Teacher x 2=Success for All”

by Sylvania AdVantage Staff

On Wednesday, Sept. 14, the Lourdes University Department of Education will offer a presentation for school administrators and classroom teachers at the Franciscan Center of Lourdes University, 6832 Convent Blvd., Sylvania. The event runs from 6 to 9 p.m. and features nationally known speaker and presenter Dr. Teresa Washut Heck, co-director of The Academy for Co-Teaching and Collaboration at St. Cloud University in Minnesota. Washut Heck will address the benefits of co-teaching and its impact on teacher candidates, current practitioners and tomorrow’s educators.

The event is free to school administrators and classroom teachers. Light hors d’oeuvres, refreshments and desserts will be served.
To register contact:
Maritza Quinones at 419/824-3715 or

Earlier in the day, Dr. Washut Heck will speak and work with Lourdes University partner school faculties to discuss further development of their co-teaching skills and strategies.

Franciscan Center upcoming events

franciscan center


The Franciscan Center of Lourdes University released its slate of events:

Sunday, Oct. 2
The Toledo-Poznan Alliance presents its Annual Dozynki Dinner from 1 to 4 p.m.
Tickets are $30 per person. For more information or to purchase tickets call 419/841-2909.

Monday, Oct. 3
The Christ Child Society hosts the new members coffee from 10 to 11 a.m.
For more information, call 419/262-4613.

Tuesday, Oct. 4
Lourdes University hosts the annual Toledo Area Catholic College Night from 6:30-9 p.m.
Colleges and universities from around the country will be represented. For information call: 419/885-5291.

Thursday, Oct. 6
The Sylvania Franciscan Village presents the 6th annual Zero Waste Lunch, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The event, in honor of St. Francis of Assisi, aims to offer a lunch that produces zero waste.
Contact Ashley LaRoy at alaroy@sistersosf.org
or 419/824-3515.

Sunday, Oct. 9
Lourdes University presents the presidential inauguration of its tenth leader, Dr. Mary Ann Gawelek, at 1 p.m.
During the Oct. 9 installation ceremony, Dr. Gawelek will announce her goals and plans for her first year as president.
For information visit: www.lourdes.edu/inauguration.

Tuesday, Oct. 18
The Sylvania Franciscan Village offers a Father Jim Bacik Lecture on “Political Ethics” at 5:30 p.m.
Father Bacik discusses the ethical guidelines found in the American bishop’s document Faithful Citizenship as well as perspectives suggested by contemporary theologians.
Cost: $10 individual pre-registered, or
$15 walk-in.
For more information or to pre-register, email alaroy@sistersosf.org or call 419/824-3515.

A Sylvania Star: Lourdes volunteers help plant trees in Sylvan Prairie Park

by Sylvania AdVantage Staff


This is the ninth article in a series about one of Sylvania’s Stars: The Olander Park System.

Lourdes University Associate Professor of Environmental Science Dr. James Minesky and Lourdesstudent Gabriella Crisp along with Cindy Carnicom, horticulturalist and Robin Ford Parker, assistant natural resources manager with The Olander Park System and Lourdes alumni, planted 100 trees on Sept. 9 at Sylvan Prairie Park. The crew worked for three hours planting several types of trees including oak, maple and hickory trees along with other species that provide food for wildlife such as elderberry, walnut, hackberry, choke cherry and more. Melanie Coulter, natural resources manager at The Olander Park System, says the initiative is part of a project to plant 20 different species on site. “This phase involves the planting of a total of 750 trees on over 30 acres of stream side in Sylvan Prairie,” Coulter noted. “Lourdes University has adopted Sylvan Prairie Park through the Adopt a Natural Area program, a Green Ribbon Initiative,” she explained. Dr. Minesky serves as the coordinator for Lourdes’ volunteer efforts in Sylvan Prairie Park.

“We were fortunate to receive a grant from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and the United States Environmental Protection Agency, under the provisions of Section 319(h) of the Clean Water Act for floodplain restoration. Thanks to this grant and help from many volunteers, we have been able to plant 3,500 trees and have plans to plant an additional 1,000 trees along stream sides throughout The Olander Park System,” Coulter reported.

She said earlier last spring, 80 Timberstone seventh-grade students planted over 300 native trees and shrubs and over 1,000 native grasses and wildflowers as part of the initiative. This is the fifth year Timberstone students have partnered with The Olander Park System for a day of community service.

The Green Ribbon Initiative is a partnership of conservation groups working together for many years to protect the natural beauty and biological diversity of the Oak Openings Region. While the GRI was originally formed in northwest Ohio in 2000, the partnership was recently broadened to include partners from the Oak Openings region of southeast Michigan.

Lourdes awards Hearst scholarships

Lourdes University has selected three local individuals to receive prestigious Hearst Scholarships that benefit academically successful students from disadvantaged backgrounds with demonstrated financial need. The scholarships are offered through the Hearst Foundations and provide each recipient with a $20,000 undergraduate scholarship payable over four years. The Hearst Scholarship recipients are Toledoans Alexis Abadia-Fuentes,
Daniel Bautista and Meg Clark.

“These remarkable young men and women are definitely poised to achieve their academic goals,” says Lourdes President Mary Ann Gawelek. “We are so pleased to welcome them to our campus and, through our Catholic education and Franciscan traditions, prepare them to make a positive difference within their communities.”

To qualify, Hearst Scholarship candidates must hold a high school grade point average of 3.0 or higher and a comparable ACT score; have an unmet financial need of not less than the annual scholarship amount; and be enrolled full time in a Lourdes University undergraduate degree program. The Hearst Foundations are national philanthropic resources for organizations working in the fields of culture, education, health and social services. The Hearst
Foundations identify and fund outstanding nonprofits to ensure that people of all backgrounds in the United States have the opportunity to build healthy, productive and inspiring lives.


Appold Planetarium offers “Black Holes”

Cross a cosmic threshold into the bizarre realm of a black hole, a place so exotic that space and time are warped. This September, visitors to the Appold Planetarium will experience a thrilling ride past the horizon and into a black hole, simulated from scientific data and rich with stunning, colorful visualizations. Feel the pull of the supermassive black hole lurking in the heart of our Milky Way galaxy. It’s the closest you’ll ever get to experience
the real thing!

Admissions prices for Black Holes: The Other Side of Infinity are $5 for adults and $4 for children 12 and under. The family friendly shows are offered at
7:30 p.m. on Saturdays Sept. 17-Oct. 22. Reservations are recommended.
Call 419/517-8897 or email: planetarium@lourdes.edu.

Lourdes University’s Appold Planetarium is a member of the NASA Museum Alliance and has been designated an official NASA Space Place. Named “Best Place to See the Stars” by Ohio Magazine, the Appold Planetarium features SciDome, a fulldome video system powered by Starry Night, the world’s most comprehensive astronomy software, allowing real-time 3D sky simulation, fulldome shows and multi-media presentations.

For a list of current and upcoming shows, visit the Appold Planetarium online at:



Japan University researcher visits Lourdes

Lourdes University President Mary Ann Gawelek, Ed.D., is welcoming Shuichi Ban, D.Sc., researcher and lecturer of Nihon University in Tokyo, Japan, on Aug. 30. While on the Sylvania campus, Dr. Ban will meet with several academic and student life leaders.

In addition to his role as researcher and lecturer in the College of Science and Technology at Nihon University, Dr. Ban serves as associate professor of the Physics Laboratory in the College of Science and Technology’s Department of Liberal Arts and Science. A published and respected researcher, his work has focused on several subjects including magnetization, physical properties II, and superconduction. Dr. Ban is a member of the Japan Society for Engineering Education, The Rare Earth Society of Japan, Cryogenics and Superconductivity Society of Japan and the Japan Association for College and University Education.

“I am pleased to host Dr. Ban and look forward to exploring a possible student and faculty exchange program,” said Dr.Gawelek. The visit was coordinated by Joyce Litten, Ed.D., Associate Professor of Social Work.

Nihon University School of Science and Engineering
The largest university in Japan, Nihon University consists of 16 colleges and schools covering all academic fields, 20 graduate schools, 4 correspondence division programs and 1 junior college. Among the colleges of Nihon University, the College of Science and Technology curriculum includes liberal arts, foreign language, health and physical education and basic education courses. The CST has graduated more than 215,000 engineers who are actively working
in Japan and overseas.


Lourdes University Welcomes New President

Dr. Mary Ann Gawelek
Dr. Mary Ann Gawelek

“I love the first day of school,” noted Mary Ann Gawelek, Ed.D, who joined Lourdes University as its 10th president on July 1. “I’m particularly pleased to have experienced this first day of classes at Lourdes University,” she said. “I am so passionate about education.”

Dr. Gawelek, a native of Maple Heights, a suburb of Cleveland, received her bachelor’s degree in psychology and sociology from the Franciscan University of Steubenville and her master’s and doctorate degrees in counseling psychology from Boston University. She was a graduate faculty member and academic administrator at Boston University and Lesley University.

Prior to coming to Lourdes, Dr. Gawelek served as chief academic officer at Seton Hill University for 20 years. While at Seton Hill, Dr. Gawelek held the rank of professor in psychology and served first as vice president for academic affairs and then provost and dean of the faculty.

What brought you to Lourdes University?
I was quite impressed with the essence of Lourdes, from the deep and rich commitment to the mission of the university, to the academic commitment to quality education. Individuals here have been so welcoming. Everyone is smart and committed. According to Dr. Gawelek, the beauty of the campus and the welcoming environment created by Lourdes staff members were also factors contributing to her decision to relocate.

What are your immediate plans?
“This year I want to concentrate on keeping our enrollment solid and creating an environment where our students are assured they will graduate,” she answered. “We need to see what’s working and what is not. With help from the faculty, we are looking at what we offer our students and examining our programs. Are there other programs that we can roll out? Also, I am talking to local employers to see what they need from our graduates.” We need to help young people and their families make the right choice for them. We want to have students graduate who successfully apply their education to their professional life and understand the importance of giving service to their community and others.

What would you like to see for Lourdes moving forward?
We need to identify whom this university can best serve and help blossom in our environment. Our obligation is to foster that student once he or she arrives on campus. We also hope to figure out what working adults want and need. Lourdes has a rich history of serving non-traditional students from as far back as the 1970s. So, how can we best serve the adult learner? Who are they? Who is serving them now? How can we serve them best based on what we have? We want to make sure that our academic delivery program meets the needs of all of our students. This ties in with looking at other programs we can roll out.

What do you want the community to know about you?
I am always available. I am also very interested in the community and how we as a university can connect. We have an abundance of intellectual capital on campus that we are most willing to share with the community. I want to see Lourdes be an economic driver for the community and will look for different ways for our students and faculty to collaborate with members of the community.

On the personal side, I do like being part of a small community. While I am not a shopper, I like patronizing small businesses. I am a lifetime swimmer and an avid reader. I just need to find times to fit those two activities into my schedule. I also enjoy watching collegiate sports and am looking forward to viewing the Gray Wolves. In the short time that we have been here, my husband and I are feeling very comfortable and I can see that this will easily become home. Even our Golden Retriever rescue Cody Quinn has adapted very well to his new environment!



Lourdes students embark on summer outreach mission

The Lourdes University Department of Campus Ministry returns to Cincinnati this month to assist the Franciscan Sisters for the Poor in a summer outreach mission project. Eight students and one alumna will travel with Campus Minister and Lourdes alumna Laureen Knueven. While there, the group will work with a different agency each day and assist individuals in need throughout the greater Cincinnati area. One of the initiatives includes helping Habitat for Humanity of Greater Cincinnati.

The group departs Lourdes University, 6832 Convent Blvd., in Sylvania, on Sunday, May 15.

“We are pleased to participate in this mission project for the third consecutive year. Lourdes students truly enjoy the opportunity to lend a helping hand to those in need, even during summer months,” says Ms. Knueven.

Students and alumni participating in the summer outreach project include Sylvania resident Allison Walter, Art alumna.

“Last year’s summer outreach for the Franciscan Sisters for the Poor was amazing! It was my first year and I really did not know what to expect; however, I went in with an open mind,” says student Ashley Erd.“Some of the experiences were so eye opening and unforgettable. One of those instances occurred while volunteering at a place called the Sandwich Window where we handed out soup, sandwiches and other sides. There were so many people in need that we ended up running out and left some without food. I was giving the last bowl of soup away, and as I handed it to the gentleman I said,‘Ya got lucky. This is our last one.’ He looked at me, turned around and handed the soup to the man behind him and walked away. On that day, the gentleman cast a pebble that had a rippling effect and he probably didn’t even know it.