Joined at the Hip: Preceptor Model in Action

The Married-State Preceptor Model is an evidence-based onboarding method designed with the newly licensed nurse in mind.  The orientation period is divided into three phases. During phase 1 and 2, the preceptor and Resident are joined at the hip, together at all times, and staffed as one.  In Phase 1, the preceptor takes the full patient load, while the Resident observes side-by-side and practices skills .  As they advance into Phase 2, the Resident assumes the frontline of care, taking the full patient load with the preceptor shadowing, helping to develop prioritization, time management, and critical thinking skills. By phase 3, the Resident feels comfortable taking the full workload on his/her own, and the preceptor remains readily available, helping them prepare to practice independently.

Preceptors at KRH take their job very seriously. They are trained in adult learning principles, communication, learning styles, how to provide meaningful feedback, how to develop critical thinking, and about the five important roles they play: role model, socializer, educator, evaluator, and protector.

For more information on this model, enjoy the article below.


It Takes a Village

It takes a village to provide excellent care to patients.  During week four, Residents hear from a variety of disciplines who work side-by-side with nursing every day.  From Pharmacy and Imaging Services, to Security and Housekeeping, Residents get the inside scoop on how best to work with each facet of the interdisciplinary team.

During the first year of nursing, it’s easy for Residents to focus only on the nursing aspect of patient care delivery.  “It Takes a Village” Day helps to broaden their perspective and gain an appreciation for the bigger picture.

“This class was extremely helpful!  It is important to consider the contributions of the interdisciplinary team, and how to assist one another to provide optimal patient care.  It gave me a great appreciation for the other areas of the hospital”

-Nurse Resident, Class of 2016

RT Inservice

Respiratory Therapist Rich Lamere has a Nurse Resident feel what it’s like for patients to use a CPAP machine.


Orientation Week: Reaching New Heights

Last week, twelve new nurses joined the KRH team.  Orientation week can be overwhelming, so the group took an afternoon to work off some anxiety and get to know one another.

Orientation Week consists of general orientation, clinical orientation, training on the electronic medical record system, deep-dive discussion of what the program entails, a tour, and a little time to have some fun. By week two, nurses will be applying their many skills learned in nursing school as they orient to their unit.


IMG_4945“It can be hard to move away from the comfort level you have with your peers in nursing school.  All of the sudden, there are new faces and new expectations.  A team building day allows for time to get to know each other on a personal level. It becomes a bit easer to take the leap into the profession when our nurses realize that they’re all in this transition together”

Mandy Pokorny, Nurse Residency Coordinator


Program Showcased in Flathead Beacon News

Kalispell Hospital Develops Residency Program for New Nurses

In an effort to address the growing demand for nurses, Kalispell Regional Healthcare has developed a new residency program that is one of the first in Montana.

The program, formally established in the last year, welcomes newly licensed nurses for a 12-month residency that seeks to bridge the gap from academic nursing to clinical practice. Continue reading

Nurse Resident Spotlight: Hannah

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A native from Friday Harbor, WA, Hannah is serving Kalispell Regional in the medical/surgical oncology unit. Hannah is new to Montana and is enjoying her first few months of the residency program.

Q: What has been the most valuable part about your residency so far?
I believe a residency program is a vital part in the success of a new grad RN. I have been so well supported by all of my peers at the hospital this past month and I hope to one day be able to give back to new RNs just as my preceptors have.

Q: What challenges have you faced as a new nurse and how have you overcome them?
Being in a new city is always a challenge but I am confident that this new beautiful city will soon be a place Im proud to call home.

Q: What are you most looking forward to in the next phase of the program?
I am moving to night shift and am so excited to begin utilizing the time management skills I have learned with my preceptor in patient care

Q&A With the Experts at Skills Lab

imageFrom tracheostomy and chest tubes to PCA pumps and EKGs, the learning curve in different nursing units can be steep for a new graduate. 

The skills training lab, scheduled eight weeks after the first day on the floor, is facilitated by supportive expert nurses who work in the same units as the residents. By creating an initial immersion period, the residents have a hands-on opportunity to “connect the dots” of their training at the skills lab, ask questions without judgement, and work with fellow peers from the same units.

The first few months as a nurse can test the understanding of classroom concepts and theories, requiring critical thinking in a fast paced environment. With guidance from seasoned mentors, KRH Nurse Residents are able to practice skills in the classroom to better care for patients on the floor.


“One of our focuses of this program is to ensure that new nurses build a strong foundation of clinical skills. This skills lab creates a safe place to ask questions and connect the dots with expert nurses.”

Mandy Pokorny
Nurse Residency Coordinator

How much is too much? Shift Report 101

It’s your third week on the floor and your preceptor has challenged you to give the patient bedside shift report to the incoming RN. How much information is too much for the next nurse? What do theyRoom Report need to know and how do you keep track of the details during the last hour of your shift?

All new nurses are confronted with the challenge of finding an organization system that is effective when keeping up with the flow of patients and their persistent needs before transitioning from one shift to the next. Training from veteran RNs like Liz (right) cover the essential elements of how to provide quality and continuity of care between shifts.

“Accountability and integrity are essential,” says Liz throughout her presentation. Nurse residents are equipped with simple acronyms for organizing important information and tools for navigating inter-departmental conversations to maintain consistency and accountability to quality patient care. KRMC nurse residents continually are reminded communicating with each other and their patients from the beginning mitigates risk.

group excerise

Many veteran nurses would agree that it may take a few years to find a “groove” in shift reporting, but maintaining good practices at the onset of a career is the best way to create a continuous standard of excellence.

Nurse Resident Spotlight: Alie


Twelve new nursing graduates turned their degrees into careers as they began the KRMC Nurse Residency Program in July 2015. From the first day to the first IV, training has been in full swing.

The KRMC Nurse Resident Spotlight for September is Alie, a native of Woodland, California and graduate from California Baptist University. She currently services patients on the 3rd Medical Floor of Kalispell Regional. Though transition from the classroom to the hospital setting has been overwhelming, Alie finds confidence in the structure of the program and the support of her fellow peers and department staff. The first phase of the residency is based on preceptor-nurse relationships, and Alie is looking forward to taking on more responsibility for her patients in the coming months during phase two of the program.

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“I was looking for this type of program to help bridge the gap between nursing school and nursing practice and was excited to see that KRMC had a well-established and prestigious program.”