Guardian of the Month- June 2019
Congratulations to Nicole Wheeler!
Each month, Kalispell Regional Healthcare (KRH) selects an employee that goes above and beyond to demonstrate strong character. That employee is nominated and selected by peers as the Guardian of the Month.
For the month of June, Nicole Wheeler was chosen as the recipient. Nicole is a certified medical assistant and the clinic lead at Big Sky Family Medicine, where she has been since 2015. Prior to that, she worked as a certified nursing assistant (CNA) and as a health unit clerk (HUC) at Kalispell Regional Medical Center. She will be celebrating her 8-year anniversary with KRH in September.
As a medical assistant, it is Nicole’s responsibility to have a role in both administrative and clinical duties. “Nicole knows every aspect of the clinic inside and out,” says her nominator. “She is an outstanding leader and is looked up to by all providers and staff at Big Sky Family Medicine.” Following last year’s employee engagement surveys, Nicole discovered a need to create a structured training program for all staff. She took it upon herself to create job manuals to standardize the expectations of care within the clinic, a task that was very well received by staff. That kind of initiative to proactively address the clinic’s needs is what really makes Nicole stand out. “She has completely turned the vibe/culture around,” continues her nominator. “Her presence has really provided both structure and happiness.”
Nicole’s motivation stems from wanting to provide high quality patient care in a friendly way. “I’ve always tried to take care of patients as if they’re my own family,” she says. “Especially because we are a family clinic. We’re treating families. We just want to make sure they’re getting the care they need.” That dedication to patient care and motivation to go the extra mile for her patients was highlighted in an excerpt sent in from a Home Options nurse who worked with Nicole late last year.
“One of the patients I am seeing receives primary care with Big Sky Family Medicine. He is pretty weak and leaving his home completely exhausts him to the point that it takes him two days to recover. The patient and his family requested that I give him his flu shot at home. Nicole was so helpful in making this happen! She called around to multiple pharmacies until she found one that was willing to release the vaccine to me. This not only helped this patient, but also helped us (at Home Options) identify that we need a different process for getting homebound patients their flu shots. Nicole really made me feel that we were on the same team, something that can be forgotten in a large organization.”
Nicole says she is very honored to be named the Guardian of the Month. “I was super shocked by it,” she says. “But it’s very nice to know that my peers think so highly of me. I’m very humbled by that.” At the end of the day, she is most proud to be a part of the team that puts patients first. “That’s the most fulfilling part of it all,” she continues. “Seeing super grateful patients makes it all very rewarding!”
Nicole is married and loves spending time with her family, friends and two dogs. She loves to spend time out on the lake, camping and doing other fun outdoor activities. Her next step is to go back to school to get a degree in health care administration in order to broaden her horizons and take her skills to the next level.