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Tuesday, June 18, 2019  | Search

If you’ve spent any length of time inside Helen Newberry Joy Hospital, you’ve probably heard her named paged overhead. Tracy Paramski has been a constant at HNJH since moving to Newberry in 2000. As the patient advocate, Paramski touches the lives of families every day doing everything she can for families when a crisis arises. Learn more about what a Patient Advocate does in this month's Voice of Feature.

Tracy grew up in Crystal Falls, Michigan and attended the College of St. Scholastica in Duluth, Minnesota where she earned a bachelor’s degree in social work. From the time she was in high school, teachers would ask her to counsel her peers when they were having issues. “It’s always what I did and who I was,” says Paramski. Which is why it is no surprise she pursued a career in social work. During college, she interned at St. Mary’s Hospital in Duluth where she learned how social workers impacted the lives of patients and families in a hospital setting.

After graduation, Tracy took a position in a long-term care unit in Iron River, Michigan. There she completed psychosocial assessments, monitored psychotropic medications, and performed discharge planning. Discharge planning is a portion of what she does here at HNJH. It involves ensuring the patient has everything they need in every aspect of life once they are back home, from transportation and groceries to home medical equipment and medication monitoring. “Everyone’s hospital stay is different. I am here to get families whatever they need so they can focus on their loved ones,” explains Paramski. This is also evident as you look around her office, as it is common to see medical equipment scattered around.

After moving to Newberry, Tracy began her career at HNJH in a contract position in long-term care. A year later, she became the social worker/patient advocate for the entire facility. As a patient advocate, Paramski’s goal is to be the voice for the patient and help them navigate the healthcare system. Often, she is a listening ear when families are struggling with tough decisions. The most rewarding aspect of the job according to Paramski, “Being there for a family when they make a choice to move their loved one from curative care to palliative care. It’s a difficult circumstance and choice, but to be able to help and comfort them is very rewarding.” No matter the case, Tracy does whatever it takes for our patients and families.

Her advice to anyone struggling to navigate healthcare, “Don’t hesitate to call and ask questions. There is always someone willing to listen to your story.” HNJH is committed to providing the best possible services to all our patients. If you ever have concerns, please call our Patient Advocate at 906.293.9223.