Morgan Klein, Nurse Residency Participant, and Michelle Miller

Morgan Klein, B.S.N., R.N. - Coldwater, MI

"I always knew I wanted to do something with my life to help people."

A Grandmother's Inspiration Leads Local Nurse into Emergency Nursing

Selflessness. It is a virtue that was molded into Morgan Klein's character by her family from a young age. "I always knew that I wanted to do something with my life to help people," she said. 

Today, she is helping people. As a result, she sometimes comes home with blood on her clothes.

Those clothes are the blue scrubs she wears as a registered nurse in the emergency department at MyMichigan Medical Center Gratiot. The path from inner virtue to serving people in some of the most critical times of their lives was challenging at times, yet she got some special help along the way.

Growing up in Coldwater, Klein had several role models for such a caring heart. Her mother has a job at Michigan Works, an organization that provides skills training and job placement services for people in need of employment. Like Klein, her father is an avid outdoorsman, who frequently donates the meat he hunts to those in need of food. Yet perhaps the greatest influence was her grandmother, a nurse that had spent decades helping people heal.

Because of the caring qualities her family demonstrated, Klein knew she wanted to pursue a career that would contribute something meaningful to her community as well. "I figured since I was going to be spending so much time working, I wanted to make sure I was doing something that would help people," she said.

Eventually, inspired by her grandmother, she decided on a career in nursing.

Soon after, she started down her career pathway by seeking a bachelor's degree in nursing at Saint Mary's College in Indiana. There, Klein encountered a few of the challenges she would later face in emergency nursing. A heavy course load in the nursing program meant she needed to learn time management quickly. She also learned to manage stress through participating in volleyball and by making sure she took time for friends and relaxation.

However, as graduation approached, Klein faced a challenge that was beyond her own ability to solve. The transition from nursing school to actually working as a nurse can be tough, she explained. Her hope was to work in a high-intensity setting like the ER or ICU. These type of nursing positions can be particularly difficult to jump into when you’re a new nurse fresh out of school.

In addition, family was important to Klein. She really wanted to fulfill her dream – and stay near family. The path forward wasn't clear, yet hoping for an opportunity close to home, Klein got in touch with a nurse recruiter at MyMichigan Health. A key question in her mind was what kind of support MyMichigan offered new nurses. Her heart's desire was to help people. School had given her a high level of nursing training. Yet the next step into the one of the most challenging and fast-past of nursing careers was a steep one.

That's when the recruiter told her about MyMichigan Health's new six-month Nurse Residency Program. With the guidance of a preceptor the whole time, the program would allow Klein to encounter a wide range of scenarios and see how an experienced nurse handled them. Right then, Klein knew this was the opportunity she had been dreaming of finding.

Now, Klein is now completing her residency at the emergency department at MyMichigan Health Center Gratiot. "I'm definitely glad I challenged myself," she said. The helping hand that the nurse residency program provided her career also came with an extra bonus – a job offer that will give her the opportunity to stay in Alma as a registered nurse in the emergency department after her program is completed.

Nurse residencies are a growing trend nationwide. MyMichigan Health is a state leader in providing this intensive training option now found at well-recognized organizations like the Cleveland Clinic.

Klein feels that it's a good idea for nursing students to look for this kind of residency program in order to prepare themselves for their career, especially if they want to go into an acute setting like the emergency department. "It can be overwhelming if you go straight from school to a complex job like this. MyMichigan's program has given me a lot more resources as a brand-new nurse, so I didn't have to feel alone or unsure of things."

For example, in addition to the guidance of a preceptor throughout the program, the nurse residents can seek advice from the program's administrators Tara Neeb, D.N.P., R.N., C.N.E., and Rachel Peltier, B.S.N., R.N., who are also instructors for the classroom portion of the program. Those education components of the residency are interspersed with clinic hours. That way, classes and practical experience are not competing for time and residents don't become overwhelmed by having too much to do all at once, Klein explained. Plus, residents earn many of the certifications that will be useful for their future careers, such as Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS), Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) and trauma certification.

"It can be kind of intimidating when you're a new nurse, but MyMichigan's nurse residency does a good job making sure you don't feel that intimidation," Klein said.

Throughout her journey, Klein's family has been supportive, especially her grandmother who first inspired her career choice. In addition, Klein's sister has chosen to become a nurse as well. With both granddaughters now following in her nursing footsteps, as well as living out their family's values of compassion, Klein said her grandmother couldn't be prouder.

Those who would like to learn more about MyMichigan Health's nurse residency program, including requirements and how to apply, may visit www.mymichigan.org/nurseresidency.