Hospital ICU Nurse Honored

ROCK SPRINGS – Mike Hafner, a registered nurse in the ICU at Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County, recently was named BRAND Preceptor of the Year by the University of Wyoming Fay W. Whitney School of Nursing.

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The students – Abbie Hale and Casey Joyner – are students in UW’s accelerated BRAND BSN Program and nominated Hafner for the honor.

“Without a doubt, Mike Hafner is one of the best educators I’ve ever had,” Hale said. “His love and enthusiasm for nursing is contagious.

“As my preceptor, he has challenged me to think critically, develop my clinical skills and, most importantly, examine the big picture when it comes to patient care,” Hale said. “As a student nurse, clinical experiences can become overwhelming, yet Mike has somehow managed to push me out of my comfort zone while also guiding me when I am unsure of myself. He goes over and beyond to find different methods and situations to foster learning. He encourages me to ask questions and use all of the information I’ve learned to make solid, evidenced-based clinical decisions and to deliver safe, effective patient care.

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“As a former BRAND student himself, Mike has shown me what excellent nursing care looks like in practice,” Hale said. “Years from now, I know I will look back and have him to thank for my nursing career.”

Joyner agreed.

“Mike was a phenomenal preceptor with a true passion to teach,” Joyner said. “He pushed me to become the best nurse I can be. He held me to a high standard and expected me to push myself, yet was very aware of my limits and hesitation and was always there as support.

“When I had a question, he would challenge me to come to the answer by asking me pertinent questions that led me to the answer,” Joyner said. “When I found a patient interesting, we would dive into their diagnosis and pick it apart until I truly understood the pathophysiology and care plan for the patient,” Joyner said. “He would consistently quiz me on side effects and mechanism of action of medications and what would need to be reassessed.

“Mike is looking to go into teaching,” Joyner said. “I think there needs to be more clinical teachers like Mike who are passionate about teaching students, ensuring they are ready and confident in the care they will be providing.”

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