When Melissa Laverdure graduated from Cut Bank High School in 2008, she knew she wanted to continue her schooling and become a Registered Nurse.
What she did not know at that time, was that becoming a nurse, and being a very good one, would one day land her the Employee of the Year award at Northern Rockies Medical Center.
Melissa was named the 2019 Employee of the Year for NRMC this past December and was shocked, surprised and thrilled over being selected by her peers for this award.
“I was shocked when they announced my name as the Employee of the Year,” she said. “I was also very excited and honored to have had my peers nominate me. It was pretty awesome. I feel very fortunate and very blessed.”
Melissa is the only R.N. left at Northern Rockies Rural Health Clinic after Loni Losing retired earlier last year. Melissa is also the only Patient Care Coordinator at the clinic, working a job that could use “a few more hands,” she admits.
In her role as the Patient Care Coordinator, Melissa helps with all the aspects of patient care at the clinic, including making sure medications get refilled, labs and x-rays are called in, giving immunizations as well as some scheduling.
She also takes care of the Medicare patients “with chronic health issues” by making telephone calls to those in their homes and checking on insurance problems they may have. It is a very busy job and at the moment, she is the only one doing it.
“Loni was a huge mentor for me in this position and taught me so much. On top of that, she was a really nice lady. I thought of her as my ‘work Mama.’” Melissa said.
She and Loni pulled together as a team and worked the Patient Care Coordinator job. Now, with Lonnie retired, Melissa is the sole woman doing that job.
“We have been actively looking for someone, but it is tough to get people to come to Cut Bank,” she said.
In order to get the job done, Melissa uses the other team members at not only the clinic, but the hospital too, who all have stepped up to help her whenever they can.
“Not only do we have a great team here at the clinic, but another great team of people exists in the hospital too,” she said. “I would like to thank everyone for helping me out anytime I need anything. The clinic staff is phenomenal, and the hospital staff is also great.”
Melissa is a hometown girl, having been born and raised here. After high school graduation, she went to MSU-Northern in Havre and earned her nursing degree, graduating from there in 2012. She started working at NRMC in the hospital side of things in 2012 and in 2015, moved over to the clinic.
“I switched to the clinic when I had my son. The job here allowed for more family time, which was something I really wanted,” she shared.
She and her husband Richard, who is a full-time rancher and dad, have two children, Colt, who is five years old and Crue, who is two.
Even though she is the only R.N. at the clinic at the moment, Melissa loves her job and the people she spends time with, either the staff or her patients.
“We have built some wonderful relationships with our patients. I love seeing new patients in the newborns and then seeing them as they grow up,” she said. “Thanks to being born and raised here, I see a lot of people that knew my family and get to hear all sorts of great stories they have of them and others we all know.”
Part of her job, the Medicare part, has her working with the elderly patients and that is truly her passion. She loves all her patients, she said, but she has a soft spot for the elderly of this community.
“Cut Bank is fortunate to have great medical care here in Cut Bank and I am happy to be part of this team of people that make that happen.”