Hero in Health: Tammy Skilnick-Mierau

Laughter is the best medicine

Tammy Skilnick-Mierau:  Administrative Assistant, Department of General Surgery, Foothills Medical Centre

Tammy brings an attitude of gratitude to her work, appreciating that her worst day is often better than the best days for some of their patients. She also has a desire to always learn more and do more for her team and their patients. That’s what makes Tammy our Hero in Health!

Laughter is the best medicine

Laughter is not typically what comes to mind when you think of surgery but if you are lucky enough to have Tammy Skilnick-Mierau helping you through the process, she will likely have you smiling, if not laughing within mere minutes. Tammy is the Administrative Assistant for Dr. Janice Pasieka in the Department of General Surgery and has been making a difference for patients who walk through their doors, for almost 10 years.

“Tammy is an invaluable member of my endocrine surgical team. Her hard work and dedication to my surgical patients is demonstrated every day. The patients know they can count on her to help them navigate the system.

Tammy goes above and beyond in her role as an admin, she truly cares about each of our patients and is always there for them. She goes out of her way to arrange follow-up testing, checks in with those that need extra care, and her sense of humour helps put the patient at ease when they come into the clinic.” Dr. Janice Pasieka

When you first meet Tammy, it is her positive attitude and zest for life that makes an immediate impression. “If you can be anything, be kind” – That is a quote that Tammy takes to heart. She makes an effort to greet everyone she meets with a smile and a “good morning” and goes out of her way to help patients, even those just stopping by her desk asking for directions. Tammy is known to walk across the Foothills campus to help a patient find where they are supposed to be going.

“Tammy recognizes that for patients to get the tests and surgical intervention in a timely fashion, someone needs to be advocating for them and navigate the changing environment that our health system has put upon us over the last few years. These changes/obstacles include COVID cancellations of surgeries, Connect Care, privatization of labs to name a few. Tammy took each of these in stride and did her best to help reassure the patients that they were our number one priority.

Tammy is ‘old school’ and recognizes the importance of the personal connection to all people in this department and others that we work with and goes out of her way to get to know them on a personal level. Just ask anyone in radiology, nuclear medicine, or the department of endocrinology! Just ask my patients!” Dr. Janice Pasieka

Tammy brings an attitude of gratitude to her work, appreciating that her worst day is often better than the best days for some of their patients. She also has a desire to always learn more and do more for her team and their patients. One of the highlights for Tammy was having the opportunity to go into the operating room with Dr. Pasieka to gain a better understanding of the work that she does. This has allowed Tammy to have a clear picture of what patients are going through. She can empathize with and understand patients better. It is this desire to continuously learn and improve her own skill set, that has made the experience for patients first class. 

“What I give to the patients is what I get back.”

Tammy appreciates the patients as much as they appreciate her. She recognizes that a smile costs nothing and that everything she gets back from the patients is like free therapy for her. It is this sort of attitude and perspective that demonstrates so clearly why Tammy has been recognized as a Hero in Health.

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