By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
James Bowles: Redefining excellence at Stan State's School of Nursing
James Bowles
James Bowles - photo by Photo Contributed

California State University, Stanislaus has one of the top 10 Bachelor of Science in Nursing programs in the United States.  There are three reasons.  First, the Director, Dr. Debra Tavernier, is an incredible leader due to her brilliance, passion and an unwavering commitment to excellence.  Second, the faculty at the nursing school is second to none.  Their practical experience, passion and commitment to excellence in education are unmatched.  Each brings experience and expertise into the class room to ensure that students graduate prepared to start immediately as well trained Registered Nurses.  The third and final reason the CSUS Nursing program is top-of-the-line is its amazing healthcare information technology hero, James Bowles.  James is part of the team that helped CSU Stanislaus gain a national reputation for excellence.  He’s been a well-kept secret, until now.

Bowles is a very unusual IT guy. He served in the United States Army for 11 years and attained the rank of Staff Sergeant serving as a Healthcare Specialist, Civil Affairs Team - Senior Medic, an Armor Crewman and a Gunner during his military service to the United States. He also served as Senior Medic during joint training desert survival training with the French Army in 2008.  His military experience provided him with a unique and important perspective on the importance of healthcare training.  This know-how established a foundation for ensuring that BSN students graduate with diverse training; when patients are not available, students have the most up to date simulation experience and knowledge that prepares them for whatever comes their way.

 Bowles began his career at the CSUS School of Nursing in December 2015 in the role of Simulation/Laboratory Technician.  His role?  To support the nursing students learning in the Human Patient Simulation Learning Laboratories.  Bowles’ vast and varied world experiences in healthcare and the military brought a new team member to the School of Nursing, who added a piece of the education puzzle that was missing: the use of simulation technology as an educational tool.  He has nine years experience working in information technology developing and implementing simulations for trauma training purposes at various Medical Simulation Training Centers for Medics.  His unique experiences made him the ideal candidate for working with faculty member Wendy Matthew, who coordinates the Simulation Center.

 “James is intuitive, bright and the ultimate team player whose efforts make the School of Nursing simulation experience invaluable for the students and the faculty. One of his most admirable traits is that he works diligently behind the scenes to make us look great and doesn’t expect any extra recognition for his contributions to student learning. Without his wisdom and insight, the simulation center would be missing much,”  shared Director Tavernier.

You might ask why “simulation” is so important to educating nurses.  It is an evidence-based strategy in creating high-quality and transformational student learning experiences across clinical settings and along the continuum of care. Simulation allows the opportunity for situated cognition — learning in context that promotes experiential learning through the replication of clinical practice situations.

Changes in access to and technological advances in healthcare delivery have contributed to the increasing complexity of patient care; a growing lack of clinical placements for students in general and in particular specialty areas; and the need for innovation in creating high quality learning experiences outside of the clinical setting. These factors are all drivers in considering the increased utilization of healthcare simulation.

Today’s educators must be prepared to integrate quality simulation experiences that foster critical thinking and clinical reasoning skills in undergraduate and graduate education. This shift requires that nurse educators have the requisite knowledge, skills and resources to use simulation to its full potential. Learner self-reflection is foundational to all simulation methods which promotes learning and requires educators to be trained and skilled in creating effective student debriefing opportunities.

Bowles is a Healthcare Hero to the students who benefit from his expertise and to each of us who knows that when these women and men serve as Registered Nurses they will have received state of the art training. 

— Jeffrey Lewis is the President and CEO of Legacy Health Endowment in Turlock and can be reached at