Paula Moch begins career as FNP at Linton Hospital and Clinics
At the age of 15, she was already working in the medical field as a secretary for Medcenter One Pharmacy in Bismarck. She was also responsible for counting out pills, and through that, she gained a general knowledge of medications.
In December of 2012, Paula Moch graduated from Clarkson College in Omaha, Neb., with a Master of Science in Nursing, Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP). She began working as an FNP for Linton Hospital and Clinics in April.
Prior to that, Moch was employed as a Registered Nurse at Linton Hospital, working the part-time night shift while also taking online college courses and raising a family.
“It was definitely a challenge, but worth it, ” Moch said. “As I was rocking my babies to sleep, I would be studying and practicing my skills by pointing to and identifying their body parts. My toddler probably knows her organs already!”
“That definitely influenced my decision,” Moch said. “But it was something larger than that. I wanted to make healthcare better, and felt this was my opportunity to do that.”
Moch said taking courses online was convenient for her, but she also thinks it may not be for everyone.
“You really have to be a person who can work independently and be able to meet the required deadlines,” she said.
When Moch was offered the FNP position at Linton Hospital and Clinics, she knew it was right for her and her family.
“I love this area and its people,” Moch said. “When I tell other providers who work in large cities what it is like working in Linton, a rural healthcare area, they have a hard time comprehending the closeness of the rural health providers’ relationship with their patients and the community. They do not know what it is like to hug a patient.”
An advantage also at Linton Hospital and Clinics, Moch said, is that she works with “excellent staff members who work together to provide comprehensive healthcare that is personalized.” In addition, she feels very fortunate to be working with knowledgeable and dedicated paramedics and EMTs in Emmons County and feels they are top-notch.
Moch completed her clinicals under FNP Jackie Grunefelder, and said she has been “such a good mentor.” She also appreciated learning from physicians Dr. Edgar Oliveira and Dr. Alice Mann.
“They have been excellent teachers,” Moch said. “We are a great team, and we discuss and share information with each other about our patients.”
Moch said she has acquired so much knowledge from the entire staff, and added they have been helpful and patient. She also completed 80 hours of clinical time with a women’s health physician and 80 clinical hours with a pediatrician.
Moch is hoping to get more involved in the health education aspect. She wants to educate patients and the entire community as she believes healthcare is a team effort requiring all individuals making informed decisions.
“I am willing to share information regarding healthcare, and, in the future, perhaps visit groups or organizations at luncheon meetings or seminars to discuss local healthcare issues,” Moch said.
Education and Experience
Paula (Sokoloski) Moch attended Bismarck High School and graduated in 1993. While in high school, she was active in basketball and volleyball. In her sophomore year, Moch received the Hugh O’Brian Award, representing the Bismarck area. The Hugh O’Brian Program provides youth selected by their schools an opportunity to participate in unique leadership training, service-learning and motivation building experiences.
Moch worked as a secretary at Medcenter One Pharmacy, a CNA at Bismarck Baptist Home and a communication clerk and telemetry technician at St. Alexius Medical Center. She also worked as a psychiatric technician at St. Alexius and with the Southwest Key Program in Mandan which focused on adolescents with psychiatric illnesses.
After being employed as a veterinarian technician at Missouri Valley Vet Clinic in Bismarck, Moch decided to enter nursing school at Medcenter One College of Nursing, and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Registered Nursing in 2005.
While attending college, she was employed as a CNA at St. Alexius Intensive Care Unit (ICU). After graduating in May of 2005, Moch worked as an RN at Medcenter One ICU until 2007 and then at Linton Hospital and Clinics until March of 2013.
Paula Sokoloski was born and raised in Bismarck. Her parents, Kenneth and Patricia Sokoloski, moved from Bismarck to Apache Junction, Ariz., after losing their home to the flood of 2011. She has two siblings, an older sister and a younger brother.
Paula met her future husband, Tracy “Zach” Moch at a Johnny Holm concert in Braddock in 2000, and they reconnected again at a Johnny Holm concert in 2005 and began dating. Zach proposed to Paula a year later at a Johnny Holm concert, and they were married a year later in 2007 at the South Central Threshing Association Grounds at Braddock.
Zach attended Braddock High School and graduated in 1989. He attended NDSU, worked for a farmer in the Fargo area for 10 years and then came back to the family farm. Zach’s parents, Alex and Dianne Moch, formerly of Braddock, now live in Lincoln.
In 2011, Zach and Paula bought the family farm six miles north of Braddock, and they raise grain and row crops. Paula said she is happy living on the farm and in the country with her family.
“I have felt so welcomed by the communities, and I feel that I was meant to live and work in this area,” Moch said. “I feel the need to give back to these communities that have given me a sense of belonging and acceptance.”
Zach and Paula have two daughters, Johanna, 2 1/2, and Tracy Josephine, 16 months. The Mochs feel fortunate they can raise their family in a rural area.
“There is a sense of pride that one feels living in a rural community, taking care of your neighbors and their families,” she said. “That, you do not receive in most urban areas.”
Zach and Paula are involved in the annual Threshing Show in Braddock, and Paula is one of the people who greets visitors and collects admission fees at the gate on Sunday.
Paula is also the President of the Goose Lake Chapter of Pheasants Forever, the only Pheasants Forever female president in the state and one of only five nationwide.
Linton Hospital and Clinics CEO/Administrator Robert Black said he is delighted to welcome Paula to the Linton Hospital Medical Staff and said she will be an excellent FNP.
“Paula completed her nurse practitioner studies while she was working as a nurse, being a mother to two young children and also working as a partner with her husband in their farming operation,” Black said. “She has worked hard to achieve this milestone in her medical career, and we are very proud of her.”
Moch did her clinicals under FNP Jackie Grunefelder, who said Moch was an excellent student and will be a wonderful practitioner.
“We are very fortunate to have Paula join our staff,” Grunefelder said. “She is coming in with great experience, and she is thorough and eager to serve patients.”
Also a bonus, Grunefelder feels, is that Paula is living and active in the community and is familiar with the people.