The Heart of Nursing Education

Who We Are: Discover Our Nursing Education and Clinical Experience

As virtual clinicals and simulations are currently being rapidly adopted throughout healthcare education programsSentinel U, a division of American Sentinel College of Nursing & Health Sciences at Post University, has been building digital learning resources and virtual simulations since 2015. In fact, our virtual clinicals are used by more than 200 schools and healthcare organizations across the United States and Canada. We have delivered over 130,000 learner experiences and counting.

Our goal is to advance nursing academic education and healthcare professional training by providing virtual clinicals and simulations that are engaging, effective and economical.

If you are challenged with finding clinical hours for your students or need engaging online learning activities to enhance your academic curriculum or training program, try our affordable and effective virtual clinicals.

Learn Anytime, Anywhere – Join our 200+ clients resulting in more than 130,000 learner experiences annually.

Leadership and Expertise

Jeffrey Caplan

President, SentinelU

Jeffrey Caplan is the president of Sentinel U™. He has an extensive background in healthcare and healthcare IT, strategic business development, online and virtual simulation learning. Previously, Mr. Caplan was Senior Vice President of Enrollment and Retention at American Sentinel University. Prior to American Sentinel, Mr. Caplan was the Executive Vice President for a specialty healthcare media company and the Vice President of marketing and product management for a healthcare electronic exchange between hospitals and suppliers. Mr. Caplan spent his early career at DuPont, where he led a variety of businesses and functions.

Mr. Caplan holds a BS in Chemical Engineering from Rutgers University, an MBA in Business Administration and Management from Vanderbilt University-Owen Graduate School of Management, and completed the Launching New Ventures program at Harvard Business School.

Laura Gonzalez PhD, APRN, CNE, CHSE- A, ANEF, FAAN

Vice President, Clinical Learning Resources, Sentinel U

Dr.Gonzalez is an internationally recognized simulation expert. She is one of 76 advanced certified healthcare simulation educator (CHSE-A) globally. In the fall of 2020, she was recognized by the prestigious American Academy of Nurses as a Fellow (FAAN). She is the 2021 President-Elect for INACSL. She is also a fellow of the Academy of Nurse Educators (ANEF).  Her professional nursing and academic career is focused on advancing the science of nursing education through the use of simulation and its impact on learner outcomes. She has a very specific body of work that has resulted in over 20 data-based manuscripts in peer-reviewed journals, and one clinical skills textbook. She was Co-PI on a large interprofessional grant through the National Science Foundation (NSF). Her team was able to demonstrate that learners were more engaged and had a higher sense of urgency when interacting with the augmented virtual reality simulator. Her article on deliberate practice reached a readership milestone. She is one of several scientists to have two patents: on Detecting Sterile Field Events and Related Methods and Virtual Patients. Lastly, she is a seasoned nurse educator with experience teaching across the curriculum to include live, hybrid, online and synchronous delivery methods.

Christine Hansen

Vice President of Finance and Operations, Sentinel U

Hello, my name is Christine Hansen and I am responsible for financial and operational management at Sentinel U™. I have been with the organization since 2016 and enjoy pushing the boundaries of nursing education with innovative learning products with the end goal of helping faculty and students achieve success.

For over 25 years, I have enjoyed providing quality customer service, with the last 15 years focused in Higher Education. At American InterContinental University London, I made sure American students were prepared for the culture shock of living in London. From there, I took what I do best and moved to American Sentinel University, managing finance and operations for the school, which has led me, finally, to Sentinel U™.

I earned an MS in Accounting from Regis University and Bachelor’s in Business Management from the University of Phoenix.

I am particularly proud of that Masters, as I was in the program full-time, while also working full-time, and was still able to graduate with honors.

Melissa Penner, DNP, RN, CNE

Director, Empowered Classroom, Sentinel U

Hi, my name is Melissa and I am the Director of Empowered Classroom. In this role, I collaborate with academic teams, Deans and program chairs to develop, implement, and evaluate plans for our simulation/virtual products. Together, we ensure our products are consistent and up to date with current academic curricula and institutions’ strategic plans. What thrills me about this role is that I get to help make learning exciting and engaging by developing fun, evidence based digital learning resources.

Prior to joining the Sentinel U™ team, I spent seven years with American Sentinel University, both as an administrator and professor. In the eight years before American Sentinel University, I held a variety of roles at Kaplan University where I was Director of Nursing and then National Manager of Simulation & Clinical Sites. My professional career actually started as a nurse in Ophthalmology and then in the operating room.

I earned my BS in Nursing at Mercy College, then my Master of Art in Teaching and Learning and Master of Science in Nursing Education at Kaplan University. Most recently, I received my Doctor of Nursing Practice in Educational Leadership from American Sentinel University.

I am proud of the work all nurses do. I have the privilege to serve as a volunteer on the Unity Point Nurse Honor Guard to celebrate and support the important work of all nurses. I am also proud that I have been able to balance this important work as a nurse with the even more important role of mother of three.

Trevor Rasmusson

Director of Learning Innovation, Sentinel U

My name is Trevor Rasmusson, and I guide product development initiatives and bring to market innovative instructional solutions that convert traditional learning approaches into quality digital experiences. Central to my duties is ensuring that our Product Development Team applies pedagogically sound approaches to tackling common education obstacles through a gamified digital approach. It’s a unique role that allows me to be creative while perfectly pairing my professional experience in Project Management and Healthcare with my love for Gaming and Education.

Over the last eleven years, I have fulfilled several leadership roles in higher education institutions including: teaching, student success, project management and instructional design. Born from an appreciation for the storytelling, artwork, and mechanics of video games, I bring my skills and passion for 3D design, artificial intelligence and gamification to work creating Sentinel U(TM) ’s virtual worlds. I enjoy sharing this passion, as I frequently write and speak on the topics of online education and simulations in healthcare.

I hold a B.S. in Management and an M.S. in Project Management from Colorado Technical University, with an Online Teaching Certificate from the Online Learning Consortium.

I take pride in the creativity I bring to Sentinel U™and am also proud of the creativity I bring to my home. In my free time, I am a dedicated DIY’er, constantly working on my house and yard, using the power of design to impact how people feel in my home spaces.

Brian Gravel

Director, Channel Partnerships, Sentinel U

Hi, I am Brian Gravel, and I am the Director of Channel Partnerships at Sentinel U™. I am a 25-year veteran of the educational media and higher education industries, bringing new nursing education technology to market in past executive sales positions at Elsevier, Pearson Education and Cengage Learning. I love my role here at Sentinel U™ because I know I am playing a part in helping to educate the nurses of the future.

During my years of experience, I have tried to approach business development as a consultative partner. I believe success includes addressing current industry issues and equipping nurse educators with tools that empower them to teach more effectively. Previously, I worked for Boston University and Williams College.

I earned my MEd, Higher Education Administration from Boston University and a BA from the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts.

While I like to brag about having a pitcher of beer with George Wendt (Norm from Cheers), my greatest pride and joy comes from raising two beautiful, well-educated and motivated daughters.

Amy Harrington

Vice President of Professional Development, Sentinel U

Hello, my name is Amy Harrington, and I am the Vice President of Professional Development for Sentinel U™. With a career spanning sales leadership, marketing, product and service development and territory management, I have become an expert at formulating tactical initiatives and strategies with focus on driving user growth and revenue. It is my pleasure to be at Sentinel U™ where we are able to help people better themselves through learning and education.

Prior to joining Sentinel U™, I spent 10 years at Adtalem Global- Chamberlain University where I was manager, then Senior Healthcare Development Specialist, and, more recently, served as Regional Business Development Manager. I also have experience in hospice and the home health industry, as well as working in hospital as a behavioral therapist. For the last six years I have focused on staff recruitment/training/evaluation, building marketing campaigns, and expanding our customer base.

I earned my Bachelor’s Degree from Missouri State University.

Growing up in Missouri, I am a devoted supporter of my beloved St. Louis sports teams, but I am most proud of my role as Mom.

Sabrina Cook

Director, Nursing Content Development, Sentinel U

Hi, I am Sabrina and I am the Director of Nursing Content.  In this role I get to help create and refine simulation content to ensure products are consistent and up to date with academic and practice standards.

I earned my Doctor of Nursing Practice, Educational Leadership from American Sentinel University in 2018. I had previously earned a Master of Nursing, Specialization in Healthcare Education from University of Phoenix as well as both a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and an Associate in Science in Technical Nursing from University of South Carolina Aiken.

I spent many years in the Trauma Emergency Department before discovering my love for education. I have taught for many years both in ground and online courses.

I am  currently a member of the Honor Society of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International and the Golden Key International Honour Society. I have served as a National League for Nursing (NLN) Ambassador and I am currently a board member for the South Carolina Nursing Education Simulation Alliance.

In my free time I love the outdoors especially anything to do with horses.

Natalie Nixon

Vice President of Sales, Sentinel U

Hello, my name is Natalie Nixon, and I am the VP of Sales at Sentinel U™. I rely on my extensive experience in healthcare education to identify the ideal mix of nursing simulations and virtual clinical scenarios that nursing programs need. My passion is helping faculty resolve a challenge or a struggle through our technology offerings. I am driven by the stories from faculty about students saying that, because of the simulation they used in their course, they finally understand and appreciate a certain topic. It doesn’t get better than helping your faculty help their students.

Prior to this role, I was the VP of Admissions for American Sentinel University for nearly 30 years. That experience gave me an intimate understanding of our products, but also of the needs and challenges facing nursing students. This unique knowledge helps me match the best solutions to our customers.

I hold a BBA in Finance from Roanoke College.

When I have free time, I am passionate about animals, especially horses and cats. And while I am proud to be on the board of an animal rescue, I take the most pride in having worked at the same academic institution for 30 years.

We’ve Been Busy: Our History

Americans With Disabilities and Social Justice


American Sentinel is committed to making Sentinel U products and services an equal experience for all people, including those with disabilities by meeting or exceeding the requirements of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.1 Level A/AA (WCAG 2.1 A/AA).

We continually monitor our site and applications to ensure accessibility to all. The Bureau of Internet Accessibility, an accessibility consulting company, conducted a full accessibility audit using Subject Matter Experts that provided specific recommendations to ensure conformance..

It is important to note that accessibility efforts are ongoing to implement relevant improvements and guidelines over time.

Social Justice

We are committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

We will constantly strive for the continued improvement in social justice, health, well-being and education of all people, regardless of race, ethnicity, culture, age, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, ability, national origin, veteran status, social economic class, religion, or profession.

We believe that social justice is best achieved through a continuous process of review; and, the adoption of programs and practices that eliminate bias or oppression, either intentionally or unintentionally.

We believe in transparently reporting on our social justice actions to all stakeholders.

We will advocate for social justice, improved health and education for all.

Please contact us directly at 1-800-749-2427 or for specific questions.

Industry Recognized