Hailey Waechter DNP, AG-ACNP-BC
Allen College Class of 2014 – Bachelor of Science in Nursing
I currently work as a nurse practitioner (NP) at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics on the cardiovascular intensive care unit (CVICU). Prior to starting my career as an NP, I worked as a nurse for six years on a mixture of units – short stay unit, burn unit, & CVICU.
What led you to pursue your education at Allen College?
I choose an education at Allen College because I wanted to go straight to my BSN, the prestigious reputation, and incredibly impressive state board pass rates.
What was your first job after graduating Allen?
My first job after graduating from Allen College was at Gundersen Health System on the Short Stay Unit. I choose this job because my mentor, Kay Froehner worked there & spoke highly of the hospital (she was right, it was a great place to work).
What led you to your exact career path?
I always had an interest in science and helping others so I knew that I wanted to be involved in healthcare in some capacity. I debated between becoming a physician or a nurse. After exploring options and job shadowing, I decided on nursing. I decided this because the opportunities are endless, and I can have the best of both worlds by becoming a nurse practitioner.
I started as a CNA/student nurse tech for 5 years while obtaining my BSN. Through didactic, clinicals, & work experience, I found that I have a passion for improving the care of geriatric and critically ill patients. After following advice in starting my career as a med/surg nurse, I became a critical care nurse. I find the complexity and acuity of critical care as the perfect fit for my personality.
I knew that my ultimate goal was to become a NP and started to pursue the idea while attending Allen. After two years of nursing experience, I applied to the University of Iowa College of Nursing, doctor of nursing program. I was accepted and started my doctorate education. Given my passion for critical care, I choose to specialize as an adult gerontology acute care nurse practitioner.
Any accomplishments, awards, published articles, or proud moments?
- Recipient of AACN Excellence in Advancing Nursing Practice Award (2020)
- DNP project titled, “A Collaborative Approach to Weaning from Mechanical Ventilation” (2020)
- Recipient of Professional Recognition Program at UIHC (2020)
- James & Marian Hutt Scholarship (2017)
- Sigma Theta Tau (2014)
Hobbies or interests?
I am a big animal lover; I am passionate about animal rights & preventing animal cruelty. I have three cats named Nugget, Kitty, & Fiona. I enjoy visiting local breweries & restaurants. I also love getting outside during the summer by paddle boarding, kayaking, boating, hiking, biking, & roller blading.
What piece of advice would you give to current Allen students?
I would advise current students to hang in there! I know that the program is quite challenging, but it is well worth the hard work and stress. The program prepares you well. Students should listen to the professional advice from professors. I wouldn’t be where I am today without the expertise and guidance of many of the professors.
I would also recommend that students capitalize on the opportunities that Allen College provides for professional growth, relationship development, & networking opportunities. Often first RN jobs are offered through your performance in clinical experience or through developed professional relationships.