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Nurses put the heart into health care

Posted by Medavie Blue Cross on May 12, 2020

When the World Health Organization designated 2020 as the International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife, in honor of the 200th anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birth, no one could have imagined the eyes of the world would be focused on the dedicated and courageous work of nurses in a global pandemic.

As Canada’s largest group of health care professionals (there are 431,000 regulated nurses providing comfort and care to Canadians on the front-lines and behind the scenes every day), the nursing workforce is critical to our country’s robust pandemic response, to our public health care system and to our private health insurance industry.

Nurses work in a variety of settings from clinical care to in-home care and more recently virtual care. You can find Registered Nurses, Licensed Practical Nurses (RNs and LPNs) and former nurses throughout our organization – in our offices, in air and ground ambulances and communication centres - using their skills and training to bring better health and access to care to Canadians. Here’s just a snapshot of the essential services they provide.

Nurses employed by Medavie Blue Cross and Medavie Health Services:

  • Provide clinical advice in the development of health and drug benefit solutions
  • Review travel claims for members who experienced an out-of-country illness or injury as an RN consultant
  • Manage disability claims to help members return to health and work safely and quickly
  • Build relationships and meet the needs of clients as account executives
  • Service federal government contracts, including pharmacy and dental benefits for newcomers to Canada
  • Provide clinical guidance to Extra-Mural Program (EMP) clinical staff in planning care delivery
  • Provide direct care to patients in their homes as Extra-Mural Nurses
  • Provide critical care both on the ground and in the air as Critical Care flight nurses
  • Answer 811 health-related phone calls around-the-clock as Emergency Medical Care nurses

In celebration of the International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife, and National Nursing Week in Canada, May 11 to 17, we would like to introduce you to two Medavie Blue Cross employees. These individuals bring extensive experience and expertise as nurses to their roles and inherent compassion as caregivers:

Tracey Armstrong, Manager IRCC Contract and MAC Pharmacy/Dental
Paula Grossman, Senior Health Benefits Specialist

Tracey and Paula are among the 6,400 men and women who make up Medavie’s workforce dedicated to improving the overall wellbeing of Canadians and working together toward a healthier Canada.

Tracey Armstrong
Manager IRCC Contract and MAC Pharmacy/Dental

An RN for over 28 years, she began her career at Moncton’s Dr. Georges L. Dumont Hospital in intensive care before she joined the newly formed Medavie Blue Cross Special Authorization Unit (SAU) for Federal Programs in 1998. As a young mother, she was looking for a rewarding career that offered a work-life balance to spend quality time with her growing family. Today, she oversees the 78-member Medical Authorization Centre (MAC) Pharmacy and Dental teams, which are responsible for making decisions concerning health needs for products that require authorization. The primary goal of these teams are to ensure positive health care outcomes through on-line case assessment.

Paula Grossman
Senior Health Benefits Specialist

Paula is responsible for benefit management initiatives as part of the Group Benefit Solutions team. Prior to joining Medavie Blue Cross in 1994, Paula worked in medical surgical units, with experience in both Canadian and American health care environments, including the Florida Spine Institute in Clearwater, Florida. However, she was homesick; so when a friend told her about a job opportunity at Medavie Blue Cross, which was looking to hire health care professionals for a new Managed Health Care unit, she applied. Paula has been with us ever since.

We invited Tracey and Paula to tell us why they became nurses and what they love about their careers at Medavie Blue Cross in their own words. Here’s what they had to say:

Tracey Armstrong


Tracey Armstrong, Manager IRCC Contract and MAC Pharmacy/Dental

I became a nurse because I enjoy helping people. I wanted a career that would have a meaningful impact on the lives of others. Nursing provides opportunities to work in many diverse areas, within the public sector and the private sector, and has opened so many doors for me. I was drawn to critical care, and spent the early years of my career working in cardiac step down and surgical intensive care.

My experience in critical care prepared me to work in the fast-paced environment of the special authorization unit. As one of the managers in federal-administered programs, I am responsible for a team that includes 24 RNs and nine LPNs, in addition to other health professionals.


Nurses who belong to the Medical Authorization Centre (MAC) Pharmacy and Dental team, include, left to right: Cynthia Gallagher, Melika Jummula (nursing student), Isabelle Daigle, Chanelle Bastarache (nursing student) and Nathan Burrill.

I am proud of the work my team accomplishes on a day-to-day basis. These nurses draw on their own hospital and community-based experiences to provide the best possible outcomes for the clients we serve.

Working as a nurse at Medavie Blue Cross has challenged me and provided the opportunity for my career to grow. I am very proud of my nursing profession, and my nursing colleagues. Nurses have long been recognized as one of the most trusted professions, and each nurse on my team is deserving of that acknowledgement.

Paula Grossman


Paula Grossman, Senior Health Benefits Specialist

As Senior Health Benefits Specialist, I draw on my nursing background every day. My job is to review health care products and services, lead new product and benefit initiatives and conduct lifecycle management on existing extended health care benefits. In this role, it is essential I have knowledge of medical conditions, health care treatments and self-care tools.

As a senior member of our product development team, I act as a health care resource, making recommendations related to health care services, supplies, payment criteria and appeals. This requires problem solving (medical necessity versus cost-effectiveness), while always keeping a plan member focus. I also provide support and education to internal teams on health care services and products.

I love my job because I get to stay on top of what is new in the health care industry and contribute to the development of our product and service offering.


As you can read from their stories, nurses like Paula and Tracey genuinely put the heart into health care. As we celebrate National Nursing Week let us show nurses how much we care for them. Join us in expressing our appreciation to nurses for being there when the world needs them - during these difficult days - and every day. Like and share our posts on social media and share the #weheartourhealthcareworkers hashtag. Nurses, and all health care professionals, truly deserve our thanks.

The improvements Medavie Health Services nurses and paramedics have made to our health care system, and their tireless work through the pandemic, were recognized by President Erik Sande, in a special National Nursing Week tribute, published by several Canadian newspapers. To read more, download the attached PDF.

Visit our career centre

If you are a nurse looking for a new opportunity in a challenging, fast-paced and team-oriented work environment, the career you’ve been looking for may be waiting for you at Medavie Blue Cross.