Some people are born strong, and others become strong throughout the journey of life. For Tracy, her strength is derived from her passion for the healthcare industry and her lifelong commitment to being a nurse. At only 19 years old, Tracy got her start in healthcare while working with her mother who was a nurse and her father who was a CNA. Tracy always felt that healthcare was “in her blood”. Tracy had several elderly neighbors in the small town that she grew up in, and she enjoyed being able to help them. Eventually, Tracy began her career in 1998, as a CNA at Englewood Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center in Englewood, FL and has worked there ever since.
When Tracy first began working at Englewood, there was not a restorative department. This was something that Tracy was truly passionate about and because of that, her executive director was able to open one up. After only a few months on the job as a CNA, Tracy then began working as the restorative coordinator, which is what she still does today. The team, the environment, and the family that Tracy has built at Englewood is what keeps her coming back year after year. When asked what her favorite part about working at Englewood is, Tracy said, “Teamwork, and the best bunch of CNAs and nurses. If you struggle, they struggle with you until you find a solution”. Every person that Tracy works with is someone special and she values being a part of such a strong team.
Tracy’s co-workers aren’t the only reason she stays at Englewood. She is also extremely dedicated to the residents she cares for and to their well-being. Oftentimes her residents fear that they will be left and forgotten, which motivates Tracy to show up each day with a smile on her face just for them. She said, “When the residents come, it’s an amazing feeling to see them stand up or walk for the first time. The family is so proud too, and it really gets you”. The residents and families are Tracy’s biggest motivators.
Over the years, Tracy has had several residents who have touched her life. She struggles with the concept of keeping a “clinical distance”, because she says, “In reality, they’re human beings. You treat them like family”. Tracy had a resident who had no family in town. Her room was directly across from Tracy’s office, so inevitably Tracy not only befriended her, but became extremely close friends with her. It’s impossible for Tracy not to empathize and sympathize with her residents. It’s her life mission to cheer up the residents, no matter what it takes. Most days, you can find Tracy singing and dancing in the halls just to entertain her residents and get them laughing. Tracy says, “You need to give 110% all day, every day”.
Tracy gives so much of herself to her residents, that even when she is at a low point, she somehow finds the strength to give back to her residents. Three years ago, Tracy was diagnosed with lung cancer. She managed to not only keep this secret from her residents and co-workers, but was also able to muster up the strength to come back to work only days after being in the hospital. Tracy attributes her strength to the amazing residents that she cares for. She said, “If I get frustrated, I can get up and go home at the end of the day. If the residents get frustrated, they can’t leave and go home. So, I don’t feel like I can go home unless they are happy”.
Tracy would like to be remembered for always caring and doing whatever she could to make someone’s day better. We believe that she will not only be remembered for her tremendous strength, but her singing skills and the happiness she provided to residents for so many years. We thank Tracy for her willingness to do what it takes to change someone’s life, and for showing up no matter what. Thank you for all you do Tracy!