In continued celebration of National Long Term Care Administrator’s Week, we would like to highlight Tricia Plate, Executive Director of Mercy Health Services in Milwaukee, WI. Tricia began creating her path to Administrator after attending UW-Eau Claire focusing on a career as a nurse. She soon realized nursing was not her true calling but still wanted a career in helping others, so she enrolled in UW-Eau Claire’s Social Work program. While attending college she volunteered and worked for adult family homes as well as skilled nursing facilities.
Tricia’s first job in social work was at Fairchild Healthcare in Fairchild Wisconsin, a 48-bed skilled nursing facility. She fell in love with long term care quickly because she loved hearing about residents’ lives and stories of their pasts. In LTC, she found most people only focus on knowing the person in front of them, but not the person who they were prior to them being in the center. This became a focus for her.
Later, Tricia began work in a 220-bed skilled nursing facility in Milwaukee, WI and a year later moved to Green Bay to work at Santa Maria Nursing Home, a 60-bed skilled nursing facility. The Administrator at Santa Maria Nursing Home, Helen Desotell taught Tricia a tremendous amount about long-term care and what it meant to be an NHA. So, while working at Santa Maria Nursing Home, Tricia decided she wanted to continue her education and took a correspondence course through UW-Madison. A few courses and tests later, she received her NHA license. She chose not to act upon her NHA right away because she was enjoying working one on one with her residents and their families.
Tricia’s family eventually moved to the Milwaukee area where she started as the Director of Social Services at Willowcrest Care Center. While at Willowcrest, she was able to expand her LTC knowledge. There, Tricia had the honor to work for Margie Herden and Sandy Hardt. Sandy Hardt encouraged Tricia to use her NHA license, so she obtained her first NHA position in 2015 as the Executive Director at Sunrise Care Center. Tricia worked at Sunrise for 2 years and then worked for a 150-bed SNF for about 6 months.
Tricia started at Mercy Health Services, where she is now, on March 7, 2018. Tricia believes Mercy Health Services has so much to offer its staff, residents, families, and communities. Mercy has an amazing team of outstanding professionals who are truly there for the right reasons. She feels extremely fortunate to have come to Mercy.
During her time at Mercy, she had led an internal focus in 2020 as the year of “you,” where her team focuses on taking care of themselves so that they are able to take care of others.
What would Tricia advise someone looking into long term care as a career? “Do what you love. If you have a passion to make a difference in the lives of others, then this is the industry for you. There are so many advancement opportunities in LTC, shadow departments you are curious about learning more about them. Volunteer at a LTC facility and meet with the residents!”