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.