Valorie MacKenna


Assistant Clinical Professor

Director of Simulation-Based Education


Valorie MacKenna is the Director of Simulation-Based Education and Assistant Clinical Professor University of Connecticut School of Nursing. In this role, Valorie leads the operations and curricular efforts for on-campus experiential learning. With over 11 years’ experience working in simulation, Valorie lends her expertise to provide educationally sound learning experiences for UConn nursing students. Since arriving at UConn, Valorie has worked with the faculty to expand the use of high-fidelity simulations across four regional campuses.

Valorie is a certified health care simulation educator (CHSE), a certified nurse educator (CNE), and holds a graduate certificate in health care simulation from the University of Central Florida. She earned her Ph.D. in Nursing from UCF in Orlando, Florida. Her dissertation research focused on self-debriefing and depth of reflection in undergraduate nursing students. Valorie’s research appears in leading, peer-reviewed nursing, and simulation journals. She has also presented her work at international and national conferences. Valorie is an active member of several organizations including: Society for Simulation in Healthcare, the International Nursing Association of Clinical Simulation and Learning, the National League for Nursing, and Sigma Theta Tau. Valorie serves as the chair of the SON Simulation Committee, a member of SSH Technology Committee, and a member of the Leadership Succession Committee with the Delta Beta at-large chapter of Sigma.

Research/Scholarship Interests

  • Simulation Education
  • Debriefing best practices
  • Reflective thinking
  • Clinical decision-making


  • Ph.D., Nursing, University of Central Florida
  • MS, Nursing, University of South Florida
  • BS, Nursing, University of South Florida
  • AS, Nursing, Hillsborough Community College

Honors & Awards

  • 2020: Education Scholarship, Pocket Nurse/Dynarex
  • 2020: Presentation Fellowship, University of Central Florida
  • 2015: Innovative Teaching Award, University of South Florida College of Nursing
  • 2011: STTI Induction, University of South Florida College of Nursing
  • 1995: Phi Theta Kappa Induction, Hillsborough Community College

Selected Publications

MacKenna, V., Díaz, D. A., Chase, S. K., Boden, C. J., & Loerzel, V. (2021). Self-debriefing in healthcare simulation: An integrative literature review. Nurse Education Today, 102, 104907.

MacKenna, V., Díaz, D. A., Chase, S.K., Boden, C.J. & Loerzel, V. (2021). Self-debriefing after virtual simulation: Measuring depth of reflection. Clinical Simulation in Nursing, 52, 59–67.

Díaz, D. A., Gonzalez, L., Anderson, M., MacKenna, V., Hoyt, E., & Hill, P. P. (2020). Implications of subject matter expertise as a requirement for debriefing:  Randomized control trial. Simulation & Gaming, 51(6), 770–784.

A portrait of assistant clinical professor Valorie MacKenna.
Contact Information
Office LocationSH 108