AGH psychiatric nurse practitioner receives award of excellence

Story by Artesia Daily Press Staff

Ronald J. Haugen, a Carlsbad resident who works as a psychiatric nurse practitioner at Artesia General Hospital, was awarded the Excellence in Advanced Practice Nursing award at the 2015 New Mexico Nursing Excellence Awards.

Haugen has been a psychiatric nurse for eight years and has been with affiliated with Artesia General Hospital for the last six years. In addition, he previously operated two behavioral health clinics.

Haugen was praised for his “outstanding competency in medical management, rapport with patients and families, and advocacy for immediate response to patient or family needs” by Richard Gibson of AGH, who nominated him for the award.

Among Haugen’s accomplishments have been securing Crisis Prevention Intervention training for hospital and clinic staff to promote patient and staff safety. In addition to providing care for hospital patients, he has also provided psychiatric nursing to help address behavioral issues among patients at a local detention center, a home for developmentally delayed individuals, a battered women’s shelter, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and a home working with displaced and at-risk youth with mental disorders.

Haugen is credited with modifying patient medications to help them stabilize while lowering overall dosages and is recognized for never losing a patient to a medication overdose or suicide. Since joining the hospital as a full-time employee, he has expanded clinical operations by 225 percent to help address identified behavioral health needs in the community while attracting other top staff to join the hospital.

Haugen has been a leader in helping the hospital’s psychiatric unit staff adapt to electronic health records and is also a favorite proctor and mentor of students completing clinical behavioral health rotations. In addition, he is an enthusiastic community volunteer, playing in the community wind symphony, and is a member of the New Mexico Nurse Practitioner Council, the New Mexico Nurses Association, American Nurses Association, American Association of Nurse Practitioners, and the Neuroscience Education Institute.

He provides consultation to a local battered women’s shelter and has participated in the Mental Health Task Force. He also volunteers as the medical director for the Carlsbad Child Advocacy Center developing a SANE program for both children and adult victims of sexual assault. In addition, he volunteers with his wife in the Assistance League to collect clothing for underprivileged children in school.

Haugen received his Bachelor of Science in Nursing from New Mexico State University in 2003 and his Master of Science in Nursing/Adult Psychiatric Nursing Practitioner degree from NMSU in 2006. He also holds a Doctor of Nursing Practice in Forensic Nursing Practice from the University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center in Memphis, Tenn.

The New Mexico Center for Nursing Excellence hosted the awards gala with Lovelace Health System as the presenting sponsor. Other major sponsors were Presbyterian Healthcare Services and University of New Mexico Hospital.

Now in its 11th year, the New Mexico Nursing Excellence Awards recognize excellence in nursing practice and honor nurses for the contributions they make to their organizations, communities and the state. Proceeds from the Nursing Excellence Awards program support the New Mexico Center for Nursing Excellence (NMCNE). The NMCNE was established in 2003 as a nonprofit organization to convene stakeholders and facilitate dialogue and action that result in a stronger nursing workforce in New Mexico.

The NMCNE’s goal is that every New Mexican has the opportunity to experience exceptional nurses when they need them the most. For more information, visit or call 505-889-4518.

Download printed version (PDF)