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MOBILE, Ala. - Andrew Haiflich has been promoted to Trauma Program Manager at the University of South Alabama Medical Center.
In that capacity, he assists the trauma medical director with organization of services and systems necessary for a multidisciplinary approach to ensure that every patient receives optimal care. Most of his work is behind the scenes, he says, but the goal is to ensure that trauma patients receive the best possible care and that the USAMC trauma team meets or exceeds national benchmarks for care.
After moving to Mobile from Fort Wayne, Indiana, to attend the University of South Alabama, Haiflich completed an undergraduate degree in finance — before friends and relations helped him realize that nursing would be a much better career choice for him. He took advantage of South’s accelerated nursing degree program, which allows students who already have a degree to complete the baccalaureate degree in nursing in just one year. He graduated with a BSN in 2011.
During that year, he was assigned to the Medical Center’s trauma unit for clinical rotations and he knew he’d found his calling. After graduating, he came back to the Medical Center, doing bedside nursing in the surgical/trauma ICU for five years and becoming a charge nurse before going back to school for his master’s in nursing administration. He earned his MSN in 2016.
“I love working with critical care patients and seeing their progress,” Haiflich says. In trauma work, all patients are dealing with acute and unexpected problems, he says. He finds great satisfaction in knowing he was able to help them overcome their traumatic event — “seeing their progress from an unexpected event to regaining what they have lost and seeing them move forward.”
Trauma nursing extends to a patient’s family, as well, Haiflich says — helping them understand what’s going on and how they can play a role in caring for their loved one. “Caring for the family is just as important as caring for the patient,” Haiflich says.
Haiflich misses bedside nursing, but recognizes that his role as Trauma Program Manager offers the chance to affect the care of many more patients. In his new role — he was named interim director in June and assigned to the post permanently in August — he follows patients from their entry into the Emergency Department, through interactions with radiology, surgery, trauma ICU and the trauma floor.
“I get to follow the full process,” he says, with an eye to quality of care, benchmarks and noticing any element of the process that could be improved. The trauma team meets quarterly to review what they’ve learned.
In addition, Haiflich is working on injury prevention programs for the community. Near the top of his list is working with the police chief and mayor on ways to prevent violence, teaching high school students the importance of seatbelts and introducing at-risk youth to USAMC’s trauma facilities, to help the students discover the many career options that are open to them.
When he’s not working, Haiflich loves to fish and kayak on Mobile Bay and around Dauphin Island. He and his wife are expecting their first child in October.
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