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The Official Baldrige Blog

Why Be a Baldrige Examiner: Apply Learning to Your Organization

Baldrige Examiner Theresa Trivette holding a Baldrige Excellence Framework Health Care in Florida at the beach her favorite place to "Baldrige".
Credit: Theresa Trivette

Theresa Trivette is chief nursing officer and vice president of patient care services at Adventist Health Florida Hospital Tampa. In recent years, she also has served four times as an annual volunteer on the Board of Examiners for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award.

As a returning examiner in 2018, Trivette served on two different examiner teams during the Baldrige Award process. She joined a different team for a site visit after the applicant for her Consensus Review team did not move forward to the final phase of the evaluation process.

In the following Q&A, she shares advice for new examiners and outlines a key benefit of being a Baldrige examiner—applying learning from Baldrige examiner training and organizational assessments back at work in one’s own organization.

How did you first become interested in being a Baldrige examiner?

A coworker introduced me to the Baldrige Excellence Framework (which includes the Health Care Criteria for Performance Excellence) when we were redesigning our organization’s quality infrastructure.  

I applied to serve as a Baldrige examiner to learn more about the Baldrige framework and how to apply what I learned to my work at a health care organization. After examiner training, I was hooked!!

What were your impressions and highlights of your first training (the Examiner Preparation Course)? What have been highlights for you of annual examiner training in subsequent years?

I was completely confused and unsure whether I would ever get comfortable enough to “trust the process.”

[Note: this popular saying among experienced Baldrige examiners suggests the confidence they have that the final product of their collaborative work will reflect the best thinking of the group, based on the Criteria for Performance Excellence, to help the assessed organization improve and excel in its performance.]  

With every examiner training I completed in subsequent years, I have learned interesting tidbits from other examiners that have helped me hone my thinking and writing processes as an examiner. Each year,  the framework and assessment process become more clear, and I now look forward to sharing my learnings and processes with new examiners.

Would you please share your advice for a new examiner on being on a Consensus Review team (the second phase of the annual Baldrige Award process)? 

  1. Make sure you have read everyone’s work [in the draft online scorebook] in detail before team conference calls, to make the calls go more smoothly.  

  2. Don’t wait until the last minute to get through the reviews; give yourself sufficient time to provide quality work to your peers.

  3. Value everyone’s contribution, even if you don’t agree with their initial analysis or scores in the first drafts.  


Similarly, would you please share your memorable learning experiences or tips for others from being on a site visit (the third and final phase of the award process)?

 This is t

he best learning I’ve had yet as a Baldrige examiner. My tips:

  1. Be sure you get a mental break, a physical break, some solo time, and decent sleep every day during a site visit!

  2. Always bring warm clothes for the hotel conference room where you will spend much of your time (those rooms are always frigid)!  

  3. Don’t worry about food for the week: the Baldrige site visit monitor will make sure you are NEVER hungry!  

Where is your favorite place to “Baldrige” (i.e., work independently on examiner training prework or a team assignment that is part of the Baldrige Award process)?

On my lanai, overlooking the water

How have you applied learning from your service as a Baldrige examiner to your work with your own or other organizations in health care?

For my organization, I have created new data management systems and new communication vehicles and also managed our vendors more effectively, thanks to my Baldrige learning.  

Anytime I am reevaluating a process or department at work now, I always look at those issues through the lens of the Baldrige framework to craft a successful future.

How do your colleagues and family and friends view your service as a Baldrige examiner?

My colleagues appreciate my knowledge and use me as a mentor and coach in their own lines of work.

My family and friends are very supportive of my service as an examiner. My husband happily takes over the home chores so I have enough free time to do Baldrige volunteer work.  

Would you please reveal the location where you most recently took a photo with your Baldrige framework booklet?

On the lanai near my house—my favorite place to “Baldrige.”

Enrich Your Career and Improve Organizational Performance

Become A Baldrige Examiner. People in a business setting having a discussion. Credit:


2018 Baldrige Examiner Training LEAD Award winner for custom content programming continuing education program with emphasis on leadership/organizational development.

Become a Baldrige Examiner

If you are looking for a one-of-a-kind professional development and networking opportunity, and the chance to make a meaningful contribution to organizational improvement and U.S. competitiveness, apply to serve as a volunteer on the Baldrige Board of Examiners.

Apply Online Today

The 2019 Board of Examiner Application will be open from November 26, 2018, until January 7, 2019, 6:00 pm ET.


About the author

Christine Schaefer

Christine Schaefer is a longtime staff member of the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program (BPEP). Her work has focused on producing BPEP publications and communications. She also has been highly involved in the Baldrige Award process, Baldrige examiner training, and other offerings of the program.

She is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Virginia, where she was an Echols Scholar and a double major, receiving highest distinction for her thesis in the interdisciplinary Political & Social Thought Program. She also has a master's degree from Georgetown University, where her studies and thesis focused on social and public policy issues. 

When not working, she sits in traffic in one of the most congested regions of the country, receives consolation from her rescued beagles, writes poetry, practices hot yoga, and tries to cultivate a foundation for three kids to direct their own lifelong learning (and to PLEASE STOP YELLING at each other—after all, we'll never end wars if we can't even make peace at home!).

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