Leaving a Legacy: A Nurse’s Journey at TriState


Tysha Bringman was your typical college freshman. She was positive that she was interested in science, but beyond that, trying to decide on a career path was not so certain. Shortly after starting college, her grandmother had a stroke and suffered partial paralysis. After her stroke, Tysha visited her grandmother often, and through watching her condition unfold, she was inspired to pursue a career in nursing. “It really brought things out in me that I didn’t realize about myself,” mentioned Tysha. “I discovered that between my love for biology and this feeling that ‘I liked healing,’  I wanted to become a nurse.”

What started as a love for science, coupled with an inspiring family member, has led Tysha on an incredible 28 years and counting nursing journey.

As a nursing student at Lewis-Clark State College, Tysha completed clinical rotations at both area hospitals. In 1995, she was awarded the TriState Auxiliary Scholarship, which required her to work at TriState for one year following graduation. She began her nursing career at TriState in 1996, in the Medical Surgical (Med/Surg) Department, with the idea that she would stay just one year. However, her dedication and love for the work kept her here for much longer. “I thought, ‘that’s fantastic, I’ll go get some experience, because I don’t know what I am doing yet,’” said Tysha. “Then I never left!”

Tysha worked as a bedside nurse in the Med/Surg and Intensive Care Unit (ICU) Departments at TriState for the next 18 years. Her family was growing and the flexibility of working part-time or full-time gave her the work-life balance that she needed to be successful as a mother and as a nurse. In 2014, Debbie Heitstuman left her Med/Surg Manager position, ultimately leading Tysha to being promoted. “I didn’t really have any formal training, but I had worked here for a long time, and I began learning under her. I did some office hours, while also working at the bedside,” Tysha explained. “She mentored me a lot, and I learned a ton of things from her. It was the best on-the-job training that you could get.” Shortly after becoming the Med/Surg Manager, the ICU & Med/Surg Departments were combined, and Tysha was promoted to Director of Inpatient Services.

In 2015, as the newly appointed director, Tysha realized that staffing was becoming an issue. She was hiring new graduate nurses who did not have the experience necessary to work confidently in the ICU. “In our ICU, it’s so small that you don’t get a lot of sick, sick, sick patient types every single day, which can be hard to get good experiences for our new nurses.” Tysha continued, “It may be a month before they do the same thing again.”

This dilemma required Tysha and her staff to find creative ways to train both new and experienced nurses who were working in the ICU. With the help of an experienced ICU nurse, Shirley Applegate, TriState was able to start an internship/residency-style program for 1-3 new graduate nurses each year. “Shirley was a long-time ICU nurse with tons of experience in many different clinical areas,” Tysha recalled. “I started utilizing her as a preceptor and then under the radar had her teaching and training.” What may have seemed like a hare-brained idea, has grown and flourished into a program that continues to develop and mentor new nurses as they start their nursing journeys.

Like any program, the nursing internship has changed and evolved over the years. “It started as an internship for the ICU, and then branched into Emergency, Med/Surg and other departments, making up our current residency program,” said Tysha. “It’s got the same purpose. We are trying to fill our open positions by training people and making sure they have the tools they need to do their job successfully.”

When asked about her future goals at TriState, Tysha said, “My goal is to continue to train other leaders. I want to make sure that when I step away, the new, up-and-coming leaders are ready to take TriState into the future.” Just as Tysha was trained by the generation before her, she continues to preserve the legacy of mentorship that is an important pillar of TriState’s culture.

At TriState Health, we are passionate about mentoring new nurses as they start their careers. We are proud to be an employer of choice and to have a culture that encourages collaboration, innovation, and quality. Being a part of an incredible team is why you choose to “work” at an organization, but more importantly, it is why you stay!

“We have such a good work culture here. I have great support from not just my team, but other directors and supervisors,” remarked Tysha. “And I know that as long as we have a good team built on support, we can provide high-quality care, and do whatever we need to for our patients. That’s the end game…and that’s what our patients deserve.”

Interested in starting a career at TriState Health? Visit TSH.org/Careers to learn more.