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Elevating Nurses' Skill-Level to Increase Comfort during the Discomfort of a Looming Pandemic

Credit Available - See Credits tab below.

Topic Areas:
Clinical Nursing Practice |  COVID-19 General Implications
2020 LEAP
Nikki Graham, MN, RN-BC, NPD-BC |  Melissa Quaid, BSN, RN
31 Minutes
Audio and Video
Access till 11/09/2022 after purchase.


Early 2020, when the organization recognized COVID-19 was an impending threat, nursing leadership recognized the need to elevate the practice of nurses who could be reassigned to a higher level of care to accommodate a surge of critically ill patients.  The nursing education team aimed to create a solution that maintained standards of care.

Based on prediction models, nurses who would likely deploy to different areas were identified and asked to self-assess skills and potential skill sets.  The Nursing Excellence team created a Labor Pool Training Cadre who reviewed assessments, designed a workshop to validate nursing competency level, developed advanced skills education, and organized orientation shifts. Additionally, nurses who identified as meeting the CDC high risk criteria for COVID-19 complications, supported the training efforts by providing the workshop skills instruction, competency validations, and necessary documentation courses. Within three days, over 120 nurses were validated, educated and scheduled for orientation shifts.


CNE Continuing Nursing Education approved for 1 credit hours by Continuing Nursing Education Group (CNEG), an ANCC approved approver


Nikki Graham, MN, RN-BC, NPD-BC Related seminars and products

Director Nursing Excellence for Kootenai Health

Kootenai Health

Nikki Graham has been a nurse for over thirty years with significant experience in nursing education and leadership.  Currently, as Director of Nursing Excellence at Kootenai Health in Northern Idaho, Nikki is the Magnet Program Director and has oversight of Nursing Education, Practice and Development, and Student Services.  She serves both nationally and locally on several academic and nursing organizational boards and committees.  Nikki lives with her partner and dog and can be found outside enjoying the mountains when not at work.

Melissa Quaid, BSN, RN Related seminars and products

Magnet Program & Professional Governance Coordinator

Kootenai Health

Melissa Quaid, BSN, RN, Magnet Program & Professional Governance Coordinator is a full-time registered nurse at Kootenai Health in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. She joined Kootenai in 2011, working on their cardiac step-down unit for four years, then transitioning to the ambulatory setting and working at Kootenai Heart Clinics for the next 4 years. She accepted the Magnet Program Coordinator position in early 2019, a position which she has grown to also include Professional Governance Coordinator. Her success in this role is evidenced by recent accreditation with the Forum for Shared Governance, and Kootenai Health is in the final stages of document preparation for Magnet re-designation in February 2021.

Melissa’s passion for doing the right thing for the right reasons is demonstrated in all of her endeavors. She continuously challenges Kootenai’s clinical nurses to own their practice and contribute to the profession of nursing.

Additional Info

Course Objectives

Objective 1

Implement process to verify nurses’ skills and increase nurses’ comfort with caring for patients beyond their comfort level.

Objective 2

Identify barriers for success of implementation.



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