Miltner receives Excellence in Teaching award

Photo of Susie Miltner

By Jennifer Lollar

University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Nursing Donna Brown Banton Endowed Professor and Director of Educationally Focused Partnerships Rebecca S. “Suzie” Miltner, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN, is one of 12 recipients of the 2022 President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching.

This annual award recognizes full-time faculty members across the university who have demonstrated excellent accomplishments in teaching, and individuals can be nominated by any members of the student body, faculty or alumni.

”I am honored to be selected for this prestigious award,” Miltner said. “It is especially meaningful because this recognition came from my students and my peers. Truthfully, it is the students here at UAB who make it easy to be a good teacher.”

Miltner currently teaches in the Doctor of Nursing Practice and Executive DNP programs. In the last decade, she has served as the project committee member or chair at UAB for 25 DNP, PhD and post-doctoral interprofessional students. She actively engages pre-licensure and graduate students in partnership activities that focus on system improvement. As an Army Nurse Corps Veteran, she has a commitment to Veteran care. She completed a two-year post-doctoral fellowship in the VA National Quality Scholars program when she first came to UAB. As a current co-leader of the BVAHC VAQS program, a co-leader of the core Methods and Analysis for the national VAQS program, and a VA Nurse Scientist, she works with interprofessional health care pre-and postdoctoral fellows to use improvement and implementation strategies and methods to improve care for Veterans. She also is an Associate Editor for the Journal for Healthcare Quality.

“Dr. Miltner has demonstrated exceptional accomplishments in nursing education, leadership, and research over the span of her career. Her contributions to patient safety, quality health care and improvement science have multiplied through her mentorship and the teaching of countless students in nursing and medicine and other health professional leaders,” said UAB School of Nursing Dean Maria R. Shirey, PhD, MBA, RN, NEA-BC, ANEF, FACHE, FNAP, FAAN. “She inspires and mentors students through research activities, special projects, and publication of their work with an objective, analytical approach to information. Dr. Miltner is most deserving of this award.”

Her letters of nomination highlight how students are impressed with her fairness, open-mindedness, and accessibility both inside and outside of the classroom setting, and how she effectively conveys complex subject matters, such as statistical analysis, in a way that is easily understood and transferable to their professional working environments. They also enjoy how she pilots new and innovative approaches to teaching, including real life, personal examples of complex processes to assist with student learning.

“I am a nurse scientist working in healthcare improvement focused on improving quality and safety across healthcare organizations. One person or even a group of people cannot fix all the challenges that these organizations face; everyone working in healthcare needs to participate,” Miltner said. “I have spent the last 12 years at UAB creating mechanisms to increase capacity and capability for improvement work within these healthcare systems. Because I am an improver, I use the same data-driven, evidence-based approaches in my work as a teacher to make learning better. I encourage students to co-produce the content by providing real time feedback and sharing interesting content and experiences. I use these data to modify the course in real time in response to student needs. It is very rewarding to see the next generation of healthcare professional leaders who will improve healthcare quality! It gives me hope that we will be able to make transformational change in the quality of healthcare.”

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