Simulation expertise backed by real-life experience

Children's simulation center

The simulation team at Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota includes top-notch leaders in the field. Our simulation specialists have decades of combined experience and have trained at some of the world's foremost simulation science programs.

But like you, we began our careers on the front lines. We know the challenges you face in providing life-saving care to young patients. We applaud you for your commitment to lifelong learning and look forward to partnering with you.

Our simulation team is made up of dedicated professionals:

  • Karen Mathias, MSN, RN, CNS, director of the simulation center, led the development of the first mobile simulation center in the country dedicated solely to pediatric and neonatal training. Karen was a co-investigator for a Minnesota Job Skills Partnership grant targeting improved Emergency Department (ED) team performance, and was subsequently named a Densford Clinical Scholar to further develop ED crisis resource management simulation curriculum. Karen received her master's in pediatric critical care nursing from the University of Pennsylvania. Karen has pursued specialized training from Stanford's Center for Pediatric Education (CAPE) in simulation and debriefing, and has completed her Certified Master TeamSTEPPS™ Trainer program at the University of Minnesota. She has presented widely both regionally and nationally.  
  • Barb Peterson, MSN, RN, simulation specialist, has been a pediatric nurse for over 20 years. Barb has spent the last 14 years in the field of medical simulation, utilizing high-fidelity simulation in both academic and clinical settings. She is an enthusiastic supporter of simulation training and enjoys working collaboratively with individuals and organizations to develop curriculum that meets targeted training goals. Barb has pursued specialized training from Harvard's Institute for Medical Simulation, and has completed the Certified Master TeamSTEPPS™ Trainer program at the University of Minnesota. Barb has delivered professional presentations locally and nationally.
  • Audra Gray, BA, operations coordinator, supports the simulation center's complex multi-venue operational needs including course logistics oversight, website maintenance, project management and supply and equipment acquisition. She coordinated the initial 2015 simulation center accreditation efforts and ensures standards are met and adhered to on an ongoing basis. Audra joined the Simulation Center in 2015 and is a graduate of Bethel University with her bachelor's degree in Communication Studies. She has been an advocate of lean improvement at the Simulation Center.
  • Suzanne Nelson, MSN, RN, PCNS-BC, simulation specialist, an advanced practice nurse with a strong clinical background in pediatric and emergency nursing. Additionally, Suzanne has experience with curriculum development and was an item writer for a CPEN (Certified Pediatric Emergency Nurse) review manual. Suzanne is an instructor for Pediatric Advanced Life Support and Pediatric Early Assessment & Recognition courses. Suzanne received her Pediatric Nurse Specialist degree from the University of Minnesota.
  • Paul Botnen, EMT, simulation technology specialist, works closely with the simulation specialists to prepare the manikins and the environment for the most realistic simulation experience possible. Paul has over 30 year of experience in public safety and is licensed in Minnesota as an EMT, Peace Officer and Power Limited Technician. Paul has extensive experience in training adult learners, and has many instructor certifications including but not limited to CPR, Psychological First Aid, EMT, and EMT Evaluator.


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