KRH Becomes 1st Nationally Accredited Residency Program in Montana

It is with great honor and pleasure to announce that the Kalispell Regional Healthcare (KRH) Nurse Residency Program has been awarded Accreditation with Distinction by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’sANCC PTAP Distinction Logo v4 (ANCC) Practice Transition Accreditation Program, the highest recognition awarded by the ANCC’s Accreditation Program. KRH is the first Healthcare System in the state of Montana to be awarded this distinction and one of 30 ANCC accredited programs in the United States. This designation will help to recruit and retain high caliber nurses at KRH and validates that the program meets all national standards and criteria necessary to transition newly licensed nurses into practice. The appraiser team commended the Program on its robustness, especially considering the small size of the hospital with limited resources.

“This process has been a lot of work and a true pleasure to be a part of. It takes a village to create a successful environment for our nurses transitioning into the profession, and I am proud to see that we are heading in the right direction. Collaboration is key and I can’t speak highly enough of the good work and support from our Executive Leadership Team, Nursing Directors/ Managers, Expert Clinical Nursing Staff, Clinical Educators, Preceptors, Interdisciplinary Teams, Human Resource Partners, and Academic Partners. We look forward to continuing to grow and refine our program in the upcoming years.” 

– Mandy Pokorny, Residency Coordinator

A very big CONGRATULATIONS to Mandy and the invaluable KRH team members that played such a critical role in this successful accomplishment of achieving ANCC accreditation with distinction. As guardians of this amazing organization, living our core values to improve health, comfort and life; we continue to strive for excellence every day, in every way.

Click here to learn more about the ANCC’s PTAP Program and why finding an accredited Nurse Residency Program is an important consideration when looking for your first job.

Resident Spotlight: Linnea

Tell us a little about yourself

I was born and raised in Fairfield, MT and I received my BSN at Carroll College. Go Saints!Photo

Why did you decide to apply for the program?

I really loved the idea of nurse residency programs, and the additional support for that comes with them. I listened to Mandy (the director of the residency program for KRH) speak at a Transition to Practice conference my senior year of nursing school, and I knew this was a program I could see myself in. I wanted to stay in Montana, and I have family in the valley, so it was a perfect fit!

What have you liked so far about being at KRH?

Everyone has been so welcoming and encouraging! The nurses and other staff members love to teach and share their knowledge. They genuinely want to see us learn and succeed. I’ve been told that nursing is a team sport, and that is definitely the case here. There are a lot of moving parts that come together to care for our patients in the best way we possibly can.

What do you look forward to in the next 6 months?

I am excited to get to know my co-workers and other members of the team at KRH. As I said before, it’s a team sport and forming trusting relationships is really important. I look forward to improving my skills and med/surg knowledge, as well as getting to work more with patients.

 What is your WHY you went into nursing?

I went into nursing to make a difference and to help others, even in the smallest of ways. Bedside nursing definitely puts us in position to do that. It’s a lifelong profession, with so many different routes you can take it. I love working with others, and I am very thankful to be in this field!

Welcome to KRH, Linnea!

We are so excited to have you on our team.


Summer 2018 Cohort

Group Photo Aug 17On August 7th, 10 newly licensed nurses joined KRH through the Nurse Residency Program.  For the past three months, they have been working diligently with preceptors and attending residency classes in preparation to practice independently.

Welcome to the team, cohort 5.

We are proud of you!

EBP: Igniting a Spirit of Inquiry

During month six of the program, Nurse Residents begin to be mentored in the evidence-based practice (EBP) process at KRH.  Through attending a five-part EBP series, each new nurse works with their clinical team to:

  1. Identify an idea that they want to know more about on their unit
  2. Translate their inquiry into a PICOT question
  3. Search the literature
  4. Appraise the literature
  5. Present an action plan

Nurses receive 10 continuing nursing credits for attending the EBP series and are mentored through out the process.  At the end of the series, two winners are identified, each receiving a $350 scholarship that can be used toward their professional development.

This year’s winners presented, “How Hand Hygiene Affects Infection Rates in the NICU” and “The Use of Port Disinfection Caps to Impact CLABSI Rates.”

The Nurse Residents presented their ideas to the nursing leadership team on May 17th, giving them great visibility with leaders in the organization.  Congratulations, Cohort 5!

Leaning into Your Fears: The Deteriorating Patient

One of the first classes that kicks off the Residency is, “The Deteriorating Patient – ABCDE Method,” taught by Carla, Critical Care Educator.

This class is all about giving Nurse Residents a simple, easy to remember, and effective tool to approach a patient who appears to be deteriorating. “This is a big fear for any new nurse – we want our staff to know that they have a lot of resources and support when this takes place – that they won’t be on their own,” noted Mandy, Residency Coordinator.

During the class, Carla reviews the ABCDE method – how to asses Airway, Breathing, Circulation,  Disability, and create an Emergency plan.  Participants also learn about the various  response teams of experts at KRH that are available to them at any time.

 “[This was] easy to understand and easy information to retain.  As a nurse, one the fears I have is not recognizing the deteriorating patient. Loved this!”

– Class participant


Clinical Educators: Raising the Bar

It is 1830, and two RN Residents are coming in for their night shift.  Before they get started, they have a chance to meet with Deb, a KRH Clinical Educator, to freshen up on some skills.


Deb delivers a just-in-time training on chest tubes, epidurals, and PCAs

Deb has over 25 years of clinical and leadership experience.  Her role is to support all staff on the acute care units, but has a special place in her heart for new graduates.  Deb provides support to newly licensed nurses in a number of ways.  “My role is to bridge past clinical expertise with healthcare today. I help our new nurses by providing a safe haven for mistakes, mentoring for career planning, coaching toward excellence, and providing everything from formalized lectures to just-in-time training at the point of service.”

Deb also feels passionately about supporting all RNs  and teaching them how to live well. “If I can help them care for themselves, they are less likely to become a ‘curmudgeon’ in 10 years. This career is too valuable to be miserable when you come to work!”

Thank you to all KRH Educators for your compassion, dedication, clinical expertise, and service.

I like gaining a new perspective from our Nurse Residents.  Healthcare changes so fast, and they are on the cutting edge!       

– Deb Goodrum, Acute Care Educator

Earning the Blue Badge

blue-badgeLast month, 13 newly licensed RNs received the coveted “blue badge.”  This was a day to celebrate, as it designated them off of orientation, and ready to practice on their own.

“It’s kind of a silly tradition, but has become quite meaningful – almost like a rite of passage,” shared Mandy, RN Residency Coordinator.  Upon hire, the nurses get a green badge, which helps remind staff that they are on orientation and not working independently yet.  Switching over to the blue badge allows the team to celebrate and acknowledge how far each Resident has come over the past 16 weeks.  It’s even often accompanied by some applause from peers.

After putting in nearly four months of training on the floor with preceptors, our nurses wear their badges proudly as they become “one of us” – they’ve earned it.


Resident Spotlight: Nick

parker-nicholas-7-22-16Tell us a little about yourself

Growing up locally, I spent the first 15 years of my life in Seeley Lake, Montana, playing in the woods daily, and most summer days, barefoot. After graduating from Loyola Sacred Heart High School in Missoula, Montana, I was awarded a full scholarship for football at Montana State University- GO Cats!!  After a number of experiences including working with mentally handicapped adults, volunteering in hospitals, and participating on a medical mission with a team of surgeons in Peru, my decision was clear that healthcare was for me. I recently graduated with my nursing degree from St. Catherine University and am happily enjoying my first job as and RN here at KRH.

Why did you pick KRH?

I picked KRH for several reasons. I always wanted to be back in the Flathead Valley for the unlimited amount of outdoor activities to enjoy such as hiking, skiing, biking, photography etc. I also desired to be near my family again.

In addition, I sincerely felt during my interview that this hospital was going places. I sensed there was a positive sense of urgency, that employees here are relentlessly trying to better their practice and continually improve the overall patient experience at KRH. Our current journey to Magnet status was a major facilitator for my reason to join this hospital. Magnet recognizes nursing excellence, and I want to work alongside motivated nurses and other interdisciplinary personal alike. I’m excited for when we can designate KRH as a Magnet hospital. Furthermore, no other hospital I looked at had a detailed and proven nurse residency program like KRH. As you nurses out there know, there is nothing more intimidating then graduating from nursing school and getting thrown into the fire of the nursing profession, especially in an acute care setting. After discussing the residency position with Mandy (KRH Nurse Residency Coordinator), I knew this was the perfect place for me.

How has your experience been in the Nurse Residency Program so far?

The nurse residency program has been a fantastic experience so far. I have had three amazing preceptors who have allowed me to work through the challenges of day-to–day nursing responsibilities, but staying near to catch me if I fall. In addition, I have made lasting relationships with the other nurse residents. There is nothing better than to have support from people going through the same experience who can relate both positives and negatives to daily nursing tasks. Staff at KRH want me to succeed – not just my preceptors, but other nurses, managers, doctors, pharmacists, case managers and more. They buy into and understand that for an organization to succeed, everyone must perform well at their job, and that takes support for one another and respecting them no matter that their job title or years of experience. People at this organization “get it”, and I feel privileged to be here.

Welcome to the KRH family, Nick!

We are so glad to have your expertise and great attitude on our team.

Lab Draw 101

How do you correctly apply the tourniquet?  How do you choose the correct collection device? What’s the right angle of insertion? These are just a few of the questions our Residents asked when learning to draw labs –  a skill that can be a bit intimidating to tackle during year one.

From learning to label a tube correctly to ensuring that the integrity of the specimen is protected, Nurse Residents learned the ropes from Laboratory expert and Phlebotomist, Kelly L. last week.

After learning correct methods in the classroom, the Residents will each have an opportunity to fine-tune their skills during morning lab draws with Kelly by their side.

“It was really helpful to learn how important it is to assess [the veins] thoroughly and think about how you can get the cleanest sample possible without compromising the vessel… It was helpful to get to play with and practice with all the different needles. So often during school you don’t get hands on experience especially with multiple devices.”           

Leaving No Nurse Behind

On July 25th, KRH welcomed its newest group of Nurse Residents to KRH.  The group is made up of 13 engaged and excited nurses, ready to integrate and socialize into the profession. We enjoyed a hike up to the top of Lone Pine State Park for a view of the beautiful Flathead Valley, where these nurses will now call home.  Some are locals, and some have come from as far as New York and Louisiana.  Welcome to the KRH family, Cohort 5!  FullSizeRender