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Holly Miller Receives UW CHS Outstanding Career Achievement Award

May 14, 2018
woman watching student work with practice mannequin
Holly Miller, director of both the Basic BSN and BRAND nursing programs at the UW Fay W. Whitney School of Nursing, oversees UW student David Cortes, from Bolivia, in his skills and treatment of a simulated patient. Miller’s intentions -- with Cortez and with every student she has taught through her career -- have been to make sure future human patients will receive exceptional care. Miller recently received the UW College of Health Sciences Outstanding Career Achievement Award. (UW Photo)

Holly Miller recently received the 2018 University of Wyoming College of Health Sciences (CHS) Outstanding Career Achievement Award.

Miller, currently director of both the Basic BSN and BRAND nursing programs at the UW Fay W. Whitney School of Nursing and Clinical Simulation Center coordinator, received her award at the CHS award recognition event April 26. Miller will retire from teaching this month.   

“Miller is truly one of the best teachers I’ve worked with over the years,” says Mary Burman, dean of the Fay W. Whitney School of Nursing. “She combines the ability to challenge students, even making them a bit uncomfortable by stretching them as clinicians but, at the same time, providing care and support to them.”

Miller has 30 years of experience in nursing education, all with UW, where she began her employment with the Fay W. Whitney School of Nursing in 1988. She began as the Learning Resource Center coordinator (now Clinical Simulation Center coordinator) and has continued in that capacity until the present. In 1996, she added clinical instructor to her job duties, supervising acute care medical-surgical clinical rotations.

Over time, she became the undergraduate clinical coordinator, the school’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration officer, the clinical agency coordinator for lvinson Memorial Hospital and director of the Basic BSN and BRAND programs.

Miller was instrumental in designing and setting up the state-of-the-art simulation center when the school moved to its present location in 2005. She has used her knowledge of nursing education and simulation to recruit hundreds of students to UW over the years, and provided many tours of the simulation center to introduce students and their parents to the joys of nursing.

For the past three years, Miller has led her undergraduate teaching colleagues in the development of coursework for the new statewide curriculum, Revolutionizing Nursing Education in Wyoming (known as the ReNEW program); and continues to provide support for the implementation of the new curriculum. Further evidence of her contribution, along with other UW nursing faculty, to the quality of nursing student outcomes is the recent achievement of a 100 percent student pass rate on the NCLEX, nursing’s national licensure examination.

JD Rawlings, a former UW student, says Miller has been a large influence on his life and integral to his nursing career.

“I can recall sitting in the downstairs of the student health building (where the School of Nursing used to be located), watching Holly as she taught a room full of nursing students basic skills and techniques with precision and safety, compassion and enthusiasm, earning her the place of being the most memorable instructor I had.”

Additionally, Miller has been a role model for professionalism for faculty and students by maintaining active membership in the Wyoming Nurses Association, the American Nurses Association and the local chapter of Sigma Theta Tau, the international honor society of nursing. Even though her job description does not require scholarship productivity, Miller published in the Journal of Nursing Education, a well-regarded nursing education journal, and has presented regionally and nationally on simulation in nursing education.

This is not the first time Miller has been recognized. She was recognized as the Albany County Nurse of the Year in 1998; earned the UW Excellence in Advising Award in 2002; was given the UW CHS Meritorious Service Award in 2006; and was honored as a Mortar Board “Top Prof” in 2008, 2011, 2012 and 2016. In 2012, Miller received the CHS Outstanding Teacher Award. Recently, she was the recipient of the WYO-Gold Student Alumni Association “Cowboy of the Month,” recognizing her for her school pride and love of the entire UW community. 

“I love to watch Holly teach, as her passion for patient safety and advocacy always shines through,” says Ann Marie Hart, a UW professor of nursing. “When she teaches, it’s as if she can see the actual patients for which these future nurses will provide care, and she is doing everything she possibly can to ensure these patients will receive the safest and best care possible.”

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