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2022 NFAR Award Spotlight Series: Nancy Hannafin

In early 2022, the Maryland Higher Education Commission (MHEC) announced the Maryland Nurse Faculty Annual Recognition Awards (NFAR), recognizing faculty for their contributions to nursing education and service to Maryland nursing students.

Each of the award recipients was nominated by their Dean or Director of Nursing and will receive $10,000.

Nancy Hannafin, DNP, MSN, CNE, Clinical Assistant Professor of Nursing at Towson University was an NFAR recipient in 2022 for demonstrated Excellence in Teaching. Dr. Hannafin shared some thoughts with us on being a nurse educator below:


Can you briefly summarize the contribution(s) you made that led to your nomination for this award?

It certainly was a surprise and honor to receive the NFAR Excellence in Teaching Award. I have been a nurse educator for over 21 years, with 16 of those years at Towson University.

As a clinical nurse and nurse practitioner, I believe many of us enter the teaching arena as a way to give back to a profession we love.

I began my teaching career as a clinical instructor in Massachusetts and moved into an Adjunct Faculty position taking on more of a teaching role in the classroom and the nursing skills lab. Eventually, I accepted a full-time position as a Clinical Associate Professor at Towson University. As a clinical faculty member, I teach in the classroom and continue to spend time at the bedside to mentor students within the clinical setting.

It is the best of both worlds.

I have the opportunity to witness firsthand how the student applies critical judgment and prioritizes theory taught in the classroom in the clinical area and the health care environment. I assess and applaud success, while fine tuning where they have difficulty, providing immediate remediation to fill the gaps.

As a full-time faculty member, I have teaching, scholarship, and service obligations. I believe I was considered for nomination because I have consistently met these obligations with a student-centered focus in mind. My scholarship and publications have focused on teaching pedagogy, student success, and the health of college students.

In incorporating service into my practice, I have always been keen to seek out opportunities where my students can serve the community or where I can bring the community to campus to work with our nursing students.

Several years ago, I implemented a flipped classroom pedagogy in the nursing skills lab. This allowed for a more productive and rich learning environment giving students significantly more hands-on time for skills practice and opportunity for simulation activities where introductory critical reasoning skills could be introduced during lab. The new design took much of the subjectivity out of clinical grading as students were evaluated on their preparation for lab, simulation, and readiness for learning.

The flipped nursing skills/simulation lab has become the anchor of our introductory nursing semester as it requires integration of all nursing prerequisites, QSEN standards, and concurrent course work to prepare students for the health care setting.


Thank you to Dr. Hannafin for your continued contributions to nursing education in Maryland and congratulations on this well-deserved recognition!

Stay tuned as we continue our 2022 NFAR awardees spotlight series. You can find the full list of 2022 awardees here:

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