Clinical Simulation Team and Staff


Kathy Speer, Ph.D., RN, PNP-BC

Director Evidence-Based Practice and Research

Dr. Kathy Speer oversees the Evidence-Based Practice and Research department, which maintains the best and most current clinical practice at Children’s. The department serves as a resource for nursing research for the hospital. The Evidence-Based Practice and Research department also includes clinical simulation as a training modality, and assists other departments in the identification and development of grants.

Dayna Downing, MBA

Simulation Operations, Program Manager

Dayna joined Children’s in 2012 and is responsible for the vision, long-range strategy and overall quality and sustainability of the simulation program. Her health care experience stems from service as a Combat Medical Service specialist in the U.S. Air Force and as a certified anesthesia technician in civilian hospitals.

Prior to joining Children’s, Dayna worked in the OR at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland as a member of the anesthesia team. In addition to working as the right hand to the anesthesia providers in complex adult and pediatric surgical cases, she was involved in enacting positive organizational change, and drafting the policies and procedures for the technicians in the Department of Anesthesia and Critical Care Medicine.

Dayna is active in leadership positions in the Society of Simulation in Healthcare and is a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives.

Michele Trinka, MSN, RN, CCRN, PCCN

Simulation Education Manager, Clinical Educator, ACLS Program

With more than 35 years in nursing, Michele Trinka is responsible for overall quality of the simulation education programming, as well as the class and scenario formats in the lab.

Michele joined Children’s in 1995 as staff nurse, preceptor and team leader in the Pediatric ICU. In 2001, she moved to Clinical Education in the role of educator in the Cardiac/Renal Progressive Care Unit. In this role, Michele developing and created internships for new nurses, and programs for meeting the educational needs of regular staff.

By 2007, Michele took over the role of PALS lead instructor and was responsible for developing and introducing the PEARS and ACLS programs into the Children's advanced life support program. In 2009, Michele introduced simulation into the Children’s Advanced Life Support Program and led the initiation of mock simulations in  Acute Care nursing units with quarterly PALS team mock codes. In early 2012, she  assumed the position of Simulation Lab Program Manager.

Today, in addition to managing the educational programming in the Simulation Lab, Michele is an adjunct faculty member for the University of Texas at Arlington, teaching clinical portions of Pediatrics and Adult Critical Care, and maintaining her certifications in Critical Care and Progressive Care Nursing.

Cindy Chilton, RN

PALS/PEARS, Mock Code Educator

Cindy Chilton joined the Sim Lab staff in December 2012 as the educator for PALS/PEARS/Mock Codes, responsible for performing analyses of emergency events across the organization and addressing them through the utilization of mock code events and teaching PALS/PEARS classes.

Cindy began her career as a staff nurse in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) at Children’s in 1997. Cindy later transitioned to the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit where she eventually became a senior resource, but ultimately decided to return to the PICU in 2007. A year later, she became PICU Clinical Educator.

Kay Martin, BSRC, RRT-NPS

Healthcare Simulation Clinical Educator

Kay Martin is a clinical educator for the Center of Clinical Simulation; she joined the team in 2013. Kay began her career in 1988 at the University of Alabama as a respiratory therapist, where she provided respiratory care for the first non-military around-the-world ventilator transport.

Her career at Children’s began as the PICU Respiratory Team Leader in 1995, where she remained until she took a position as an ICU respiratory therapist at Stanford University Hospital in Palo Alto, Calif.

From 2005 to 2010, Kay served as an Emergency Preparedness Respiratory Therapist with the Department of Health and Human Services. In this role, she supported the planning, organization and development of medical response teams of the National Disaster Medical System. During this time, Kay had also returned to Children’s where she serves as a Clinical Educator, providing education and leadership for Respiratory Services.