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Dr. Nelson

Empowering Future Healthcare Professionals: A Journey with Dr. Andi Nelson

In the realm of education, there are remarkable educators who not only impart knowledge but also instill skills and values that last a lifetime. Among such inspiring individuals is Dr. Andi Nelson, a Clinical Assistant Professor and High-Impact Practices liaison in the Usha Kundu, MD College of Health at the University of West Florida (UWF). With a wealth of experience in both clinical practice and teaching, Nelson has been an integral part of the UWF community since 2013.

Nelson’s journey began as a physical therapist, a role she has continued to hold for an impressive 25 years. Drawing from her extensive clinical background, she transitioned into academia and joined UWF as an adjunct instructor in 2013. Her dedication and passion for educating the next generation of healthcare professionals earned her a full-time faculty position in 2015. Today, she serves as a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Health Sciences and Administration Department, teaching a range of online courses, including Medical Terminology, Gerontology, and Career Essentials for Healthcare.

As an educator, Nelson has a unique perspective on the impact of education in shaping the lives of her students. 

I love teaching students skills they can not only use in their future healthcare careers, but also that can assist in helping their family and friends in medical situations,” said Nelson.

Recognizing Nelson's commitment to excellence in teaching, she was honored with the inaugural UWF President's Award for Exemplary Online Teaching in March 2023. This recognition highlights her dedication to providing an enriching and engaging online learning experience for her students. The award not only validates her efforts but also serves as a testament to her impact on the lives of those she teaches.

Beyond her accolades, Nelson is admired for her mentorship and guidance to her students, and they find comfort in her approachable nature and willingness to share her expertise, making her a treasured resource in their academic journey.

Among the many pieces of advice Nelson imparts to her students, one piece of advice stands out. “Clear professional communication is one of the most important things you can learn while attending UWF.  This skill will get you far in your future career and in life,” said Nelson.

As a Clinical Assistant Professor and High-Impact Practices liaison, she continues to shape the future of healthcare professionals, instilling in them not just the knowledge they need but the tools to help them thrive in their chosen careers. Working on High-Impact Practices with faculty and students across the college, Dr. Nelson has found a new joy in the realm of academia and helping students.

High-Impact Practices (HIPs) are intentional teaching activities that increase student engagement and success during their higher educational experience. These experiences can help students enhance their employability in the workplace. Some types of HIP experiences can include collaborative assignments and projects, undergraduate research, ePortfolios, community-based learning, internships, and capstone courses and projects. These different HIP types are found in many courses and experiences throughout UWF.  

Nelson said, “As Usha Kundu, MD College of Health's HIP Liaison, I help educate and assist faculty with HIP development and implementation. I also mentor faculty applying for internal UWF HIP grants.”

Nelson's journey is a testament to the profound impact educators can have on their students, and her story is an inspiration to all aspiring educators and healthcare professionals alike.