Submitted by Mason Health
As an Emergency Department nurse, Kristen Schmit loves not knowing what could happen at work on any given day of the week. Her flexibility and adaptability to multiple scenarios helps her deliver excellent patient care. One recent Saturday night, Schmit recognized a critical diagnosis in a patient — a diagnosis that will lead to a better chance of recovery and help them avoid severe life-threatening events. Schmit’s exemplary leadership skills, thoroughness, positivity and adaptability led her coworkers to select her as Mason Health’s January 2022 Employee of the Month.
Schmit grew up in Great Falls, Montana. Although she was interested in nursing, the Montana Air National Guard was in her hometown and she wanted different life experiences that would take her out of Montana. She served in active duty with Montana Air for six years. In 2007, she deployed to Kuwait, where she met Joe Schmit, her future husband and a future Shelton city council member. They married in 2010 and moved to Washington, where Joe Schmit was stationed, at McChord Air Force Base.
After moving to Washington, Schmit joined the Air Force Reserves and began nursing school. In the Reserves, she worked in Emergency Management and later as a medical technician. She trained in an emergency department and enjoyed the fast-paced environment.
“I have always been interested in science and health care,” she said. “My mother was a clinical lab scientist for 45 years and talked about it often. I love the different patients in emergency medicine.”
Schmit joined the health care team at Mason Health in June 2014, initially as a monitor technician certified nursing assistant. She then worked as a nurse technician while finishing up her bachelor’s degree in nursing from Pacific Lutheran University. She graduated in 2017 and once she obtained her nursing license, she began her career as a registered nurse in the Emergency Department.
“I really like it at Mason Health, everyone is really friendly and a lot of people on staff are from the community and they’re very much invested in the health of the community,” she said. “I work with people who know everyone who comes in through the door. I like that it’s a small hospital and the people that work here don’t get lost in the system.”
Schmit still serves one weekend a month in the Reserves and completes annual tour days. Her coworkers note that she always ensures that there is appropriate staffing in the Emergency Department to cover her when she is out.
“Kristen sets a high standard in patient care in the ER,” said Renee Byrd, RN Team Manager. “We at Mason Health are very lucky to have her as part of our team as she serves her community with compassion and dedication both as a nurse and through the Air Force Reserves. When needing to fulfill her duties for the Reserves, she shows respect for her co-workers in finding the appropriate staffing coverage and avoids adding the extra strain on the staffing department to cover her leave.”
Schmit plans to retire from the Reserves in less than two years and is considering going back to school for her master’s degree. She enjoys running and spending time with her family, including her two children (10 and 18 years old) and their miniature Golden Retriever.
Mason Health, Public Hospital District No. 1 of Mason County, is certified by Det Norske Veritas (DNV) and is a licensed and accredited acute care hospital with a level four emergency trauma designation. There are more than 100 physicians on staff in 19 specialties. For more information or to find a health care provider, visit the Mason Health website.