Celebrating Excellence: Kirsten Berdahl Receives 2024 Socrates Award for Advancing Safe Patient Handling Education

Wednesday, March 6, 2024
Kirsten Berdahl

Congratulations to GateWay Community College SaPHE Lab Director, Kirsten Berdahl, who was awarded the Safe Patient Handling and Mobility (SPHM) 2024 Socrates Award during the annual Association of Safe Patient Handling Professionals conference. The SPHM Socrates Award recognizes individuals who successfully integrate safe patient handling and mobility principles, techniques, and equipment use into a community college or university curriculum. 

GateWay’s healthcare faculty is proud to acknowledge Berdahl’s passion for SPHM and its significant impact on students in nursing, allied health, nuclear medicine, respiratory care, ultrasound, computed tomography, and radiologic technology programs across the college. As a physical therapist and dedicated educator, Berdahl initiated the integration of these technologies and tools into her classroom. She also offered teaching transfer training sessions for other healthcare programs at GateWay. The importance of SPHM became evident, and Berdahl gained support to develop formalized training opportunities for students. 

“Kirsten's passion and knowledge ensure students leave GateWay with the fundamental Safe Patient Handling and Mobility principles to utilize in the workforce,” said Program Manager, Heather Murray. “We congratulate Kirsten for this well-deserved award. Her impact will have a lasting effect on our healthcare students and community for many years.”

Berdahl is the innovative mind behind the Safe Patient Handling Education (SaPHE) Lab at GateWay’s 18th Street campus. The SaPHE state-of-the-art lab provides simulation opportunities not only for GateWay students but also for students enrolled in various allied health and nursing programs across the Maricopa Community Colleges and neighboring universities. SPHM instructors utilize evidence-based research to teach students how to transfer patients effectively to increase patient and caregiver safety. These principles have improved patient outcomes, decreased fall risks, and improved customer service scores. Additionally, healthcare practitioners implementing these principles report fewer work injuries and overall job satisfaction.

To learn more about GateWays’s SaPHE lab, visit gatewaycc.edu/saphe.