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Dr. Andrew Hoeffler is helping to grow students into qualified, respected professionals. 

“I tell my students that I see them as my future colleagues, and I want to treat and educate them as such.” 

Over his 34-year healthcare career, Dr. Andrew (Andy) Hoeffler has worn many hats including as an EMT, a paramedic, a registered nurse, and a nurse practitioner. But he began his career in 1991 as a flight medic in the U.S. Air Force after serving 5 years as a military photojournalist. “I never really thought of myself as being in the healthcare field because my father was a pediatrician and growing up around him just sort of turned me off of having a medical career.”

Despite his childhood experience, Dr. Hoeffler became an Air Force flight medic because there was a need for them, and he wanted a job where he could fly full-time. But first, he had to complete almost two years of education and training. It was then that he realized he liked working in healthcare. “I became an honor graduate as the information just clicked for me. I’m not saying it because of any illusions of grandeur. The healthcare content of the training just seemed so logical, and once I had exposure to it, I realized that this was something I truly enjoyed.”

After spending 10 years as a flight medic, Dr. Hoeffler worked as an ICU and ER nurse in the private sector, while also working as an ICU nurse in the Army Reserve for an army combat support hospital. In 2005, he returned to active duty full-time and was able to earn his Master of Nursing Science degree through the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences, the military’s graduate nursing school program, and became a family nurse practitioner. He eventually earned his Doctor of Nursing Practice at Northern Arizona University and worked at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Arizona.

In 2019, Dr. Hoeffler retired from the USAF and entered private practice, but he always wanted to teach and loved passing on his knowledge to others. He started teaching at Brookline College in Phoenix, Arizona before joining SNHS at Alliant in September 2023. “I thought it would be great to be on the ground floor of a new program and to help build it in a way that that fit my image of what a nursing program should be.”

As the associate director of clinical education for both the BSN and MSN programs, Dr. Hoeffler is excited to teach and to help create a new vision of nursing education. Dr. Hoeffler feels a professional obligation to grow, foster, and nurture students into well-qualified professionals. “I tell my students that I see them as my future colleagues, and I want to treat and educate them as such.”

Helping to build a new nursing education program is a great opportunity for Dr. Hoeffler to put his beliefs into practice. He also likes that the School of Nursing and Health Sciences at Alliant is creating a “flipped” classroom where nursing students get a very interactive experience through simulations and case studies. “A professor spending hours in front of the classroom can be a hard way for nursing students to learn and retain information. We’re trying to put more of the responsibility on them to accumulate the information and our job is to act as a facilitator.”

When asked, Dr. Hoeffler said the most important thing he wants people to understand about nursing school is that a Bachelor of Science in nursing consistently rates as one of the hardest undergraduate degrees to accomplish. “I tell my students that it’s tough and to be ready to do the work but also when you finish you can feel extremely proud of what you accomplished because it is a tough degree to earn.”

Dr. Hoeffler currently teaches health assessment courses and wants his students to understand what they can do with a nursing career. He also hopes that his students get the same fulfillment and satisfaction from nursing that he experienced. “I tell my students to always be ambitious and life-long learners. I think it’s almost an obligation and it’s what I’ve done throughout my career. There are so many opportunities in nursing today that you can change your mind and look for something else. Always be eager to be better at what you're doing and stay current.”

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