Cato, Mary L. EdD, RN, CHSE

Assistant Professor, Lead Simulation Faculty Portland Campus OHSU School of Nursing, Consultant SimHealth Group

Mary has a Bachelor’s degree in Nursing from the University of Wisconsin, and a Master’s degree in Nursing Education from Marquette University.  She also earned a Doctorate in Education from Portland State University, where her studies and research were focused on learning theory, higher education, and healthcare simulation.

Mary has practiced as a registered nurse and a pediatric nurse practitioner in Wisconsin, Washington, and Montana, where she taught nursing at Salish Kootenai College and Montana State University.

Since moving to Portland in 2004, Mary has been on the faculty at Oregon Health & Science University, and has been instrumental in the growth of the nursing simulation program and the integration of simulation into all pre-licensure clinical nursing courses.  In addition, Mary has helped developed and taught for eight years in a graduate nursing education course with a focus on teaching with simulation. She is currently an Assistant Professor, and the lead simulation faculty on the Portland campus, mentoring other faculty and graduate students in the use of simulation and clinical education.

Mary has been involved in simulation on the national level, and has worked with the National League for Nursing in the development of a “Simulation Innovation Resource Center,” a faculty development resource that has offered simulation courses for faculty since 2007, and continues to grow with the introduction of new courses each year.  Mary’s contributions include courses on “Scenario Development,” “Faculty Development,” and “Unfolding Cases.” Mary was also involved in the NLN ACES (Advancing Care Excellence for Seniors) Project, and authored simulation cases as well as presented workshops on the ACES project across the country.

Mary has presented numerous workshops and courses on many aspects of simulation, including presentations at IMSH, INACSL, and NLN meetings and conferences.  She has presented many Simulation Foundations courses with SimHealth, and has developed and presented a debriefing course for simulation faculty.

Mary’s extensive simulation experience led her to an interest in student anxiety in simulation, which was the focus of her doctoral research.  Her dissertation, “Nursing Student Anxiety in Simulation Settings: A Mixed Methods Study,” was awarded an honorable mention by the Carnegie Project on the Education Doctorate in 2013.  She continues to teach undergraduate nursing students in multiple clinical courses and mentors others in the use of simulation.



  • Boese, T., Cato, M., Cleary, J., & Reese, C. (2011).  “Unfolding Cases – Online Course” NLN Simulation Innovation Resource Center
  • McKinley, C., & Cato, M. (2011) Mild Intermittent Asthma, simulation case scenario for “SimStore,” authored scenario for NLN and Laerdal Corporation “SimJunior” Advanced pediatric simulator
  • McKinley, C., & Cato, M. (2011) Pneumonia Leading to Respiratory Distress in a Child with Known Asthma , simulation case scenario for “SimStore,” authored scenario for NLN and Laerdal Corporation “SimJunior” Advanced pediatric simulator
  • Ravert, P., Cato, M., & Kelly, M. (2009). “Developing Faculty – Online Course” NLN Simulation Innovation Resource  Center
  • Cato, M., Lasater, K., Peeples, A. (2009). “Nursing Students’ Self-Assessment of their Simulation Experiences,” Nursing Education Perspectives. 30, (2), 105-108. 
  • Cato, M. (contributor). Real Nursing Simulations Facilitators’ Guide: Institutional Edition,
  • Pearson/Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River NJ, 2009
  • Cato, M. (2008). “Designing and Developing Simulations – Online Course” NLN Simulation Innovation Resource Center


  • Cato, M. (2012) “Chapter 1, Using Simulation in Nursing Education,” in Jeffries, P., (Ed.), Simulation in nursing education: From conceptualization to evaluation. New York: National League for Nursing
  • Cato, M., (2005) Developed Patient-Based Case Study on Pregnant Adolescent for use in Virtual Clinical Excursions, product of Wolfsong Informatics and Elsevier Science Publications.