« Return to Blog

What is a Genetic Counselor?

Photo: Members of our genetic counseling team in the Northwell Division of Genetics & Genomics

What is a Genetic Counselor?

What it is.

According to the National Society of Genetic Counselors genetic counselors: “have advanced training in medical genetics and counseling to guide and support patients seeking more information about how inherited diseases and conditions might affect them or their families, and to interpret test results.”

How to become one.

Genetic counselors (GCs) have master’s degrees from one of 30 programs across the country. Applicants generally have a science or psychology background, but they can come from any field. Other valuable experiences include working with people with disabilities, crisis counseling, laboratory work, and shadowing genetic counselors. GCs are accredited through an examination offered by the American Board of Genetic Counseling. Genetic counseling programs are also becoming more common around the world.

Why our employees became one.

“My undergraduate degree and first 20 years of work experience were in theater lighting. Like many GCs, the field was a career change for me. Several personal experiences over the years had sent me to GCs, and I was always impressed at how much they seemed to love their work. Now I am proud to count myself among them.” Michele Disco, Senior Genetic Counselor

“I found out about the profession during high school and during my undergraduate degree, found myself more and more attracted to the science of genetics, but basic science lab work was not for me. When I got the chance to shadow within a genetic counseling clinic was the moment I made the commitment that that was what I wanted to do. I transitioned into a genetic counseling graduate program immediately after my undergraduate degree and now here I am!” Amber Gamma, Genetic Counselor

Why you’ll love it.

“I love supporting families in learning more about genetics and their health, listening to their stories, and guiding them in their decisions. Sometimes the scientific information can help dispel fears about conditions running in the family; other times I need strong counseling skills to compassionately convey difficult news. Constantly staying informed about the rapidly changing field of genetics means that I am always learning. I am also fortunate to teach genetic counseling students, and to give educational presentations, both ways to learn more myself.” Michele Disco, Senior Genetic Counselor

“My favorite part of this field is the blending of education, human connection and science. Genetics is becoming increasingly more important in the field of medicine and being on the forefront of that innovation is incredibly exciting, but being able to translate it to everyday patient care and how the information affects these people and their families is where the real reward lies for me. Through an emphasis on strong patient relationships via empathy and advocacy, I find that not only am I always on a journey of learning to stay abreast of new scientific developments within the field, but I’m also on a journey of learning about my patients, what’s most important to them and how we can use this information to empower them in their healthcare and reproductive choices.” Amber Gamma, Genetic Counselor

What your role will be.

At Northwell, genetic counselors see prenatal, pediatric, and adult patients. For example, prenatal genetic counselors work with expecting couples interested in knowing more about their baby’s health and pediatric counselors work with children. Cancer genetic counselors at the Northwell Cancer Institute and the recently launched, multidisciplinary Northwell Center for Cancer Prevention and Wellness work with patients and families concerned about a family history of cancer, or who have cancer themselves.

We are also integrated into many Northwell Health departments and programs, including cardiology, hemophilia and sickle cell disease, pediatric hematology/oncology, reproductive endocrinology/fertility, and the Craniofacial, Marfan’s, and Neurofibromatosis Clinics, among others. Our role is continually expanding. Part of our expansion within the health system means increasing our close collaboration with physicians, advanced care practitioners, nutritionists, social workers, and other health care professionals, and partnering with them to provide patients with the highest level of compassionate care. We also serve as mentors for prospective and current genetic counseling master’s students completing their clinical rotations at Northwell, and are involved in research initiatives through the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research.

« Return to Blog

The brains behind our advanced technology


The brains behind our advanced technology

From the everyday thermometer and blood pressure cuff to the most sophisticated life support, MRI and laboratory equipment, the modern clinician depends on technology in every aspect of patient care. The more advanced the tool, the more important the technological support. Which is why it’s critical that we have experts on our Biomedical Engineering team. And with the increased use of wireless and online communications in health care, this team is more important than ever to protect hospital medical equipment from cyber-attacks.

“Cybersecurity is currently one of health care’s largest concerns. The unlawful manipulation of medical devices locally, or more recently remotely, via malware and ransomware attacks, represents an immediate threat to the safety and security of those for whom we provide care. Biomedical Engineering must now consider the impact of the “Internet of Things” as a growing number of medical devices and systems are electronically integrated, including integration into the medical record.”

— John Langone, Vice President, Biomedical Services Division

Northwell Health’s Biomedical Engineering team assists in the evaluation and selection as well as the management of all equipment maintenance and repair activities that makes our exceptional patient care possible. With 22 hospitals, over 450 physician practices, ambulatory centers, labs, research facilities and more, this team is responsible for approximately 120,000 devices throughout our healthcare system. Those devices and equipment are getting more complex and connected every day.

These new challenges require professionals with additional or “hybrid” skills, part biomedical engineering technician and part medical device security specialist.

What does it take to take on this challenge? You’ll need to be ambitious with a strong electrical engineering background, math proficiency and basic knowledge of physiology. As care continues to move from the hospital environment to offsite or home environments, telehealth is becoming more important. Your experience should include exposure to network and cybersecurity issues, where you will need to think fast and adapt quickly. Above all you must be able to deliver timely solutions to complex challenges, all while keeping your cool under ever-changing conditions.

For those who have what it takes, they can be part of a Biomedical Engineering department responsible for device repair, technological upkeep and preventative maintenance as well as troubleshooting and responding to service recalls on medical equipment. The complexity of the role increases exponentially as you work in collaboration with the health systems network security team to identify and mitigate potential cybersecurity vulnerabilities.

These positions offer tremendous career potential. Northwell Health has a strong career path, with three levels of Biomedical Engineering Technicians (BMET I, II and III) and in some cases Technical Imaging Specialists, each handling increasingly critical and complex medical equipment. Driven techs are provided with the ongoing education, training and support needed to grow into each level. We also sponsor certifications for all our techs through the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI). For those looking to excel further in their career, we have a managerial path as well as higher levels of technology training that takes techs into other aspects of medical device management.

Are you made for working at the forefront of advanced technology in a critically important role? Explore a career in Biomedical Engineering today!

« Return to Blog

Looking for the perfect career destination? You’ll wish you were here!

Peconic Bay

Looking for the perfect career destination? You’ll wish you were here!

Get ready to pack your bags – or at least your resume. Here are ten great reasons for making the move and joining us at Peconic Bay Medical Center (PBMC).

#1 – Big hospital advantages. Small hospital feel.

We’re a 182-bed acute-care hospital and designated stroke center, and though we’re a regional medical center, we have a strong community focus. Our working environment is close-knit and teammates are more like family.

#2 – A community that will embrace you.

Peconic Bay Medical Center is the area’s trusted source for quality care. We have employees who were actually born here and grew up in the community. But no matter where you’re from, this is a place where you’ll be immediately welcomed. That means you’ll be able to offer a full continuum of care to your friends and neighbors.

“I became a nurse because I wanted to make a difference in people’s lives. I was lucky enough to be able to do that for the people who mean the most to me, right here where I grew up. But even if you weren’t born here, you’ll be able to enjoy that connection to your work through patients and staff .”

 –Cindy Anderson, RN, Assistant Nurse Manager

#3 – We’re going somewhere fast.

We never settle and are always moving forward. Our award-winning Kanas Center for Advanced Surgery is home to the da Vinci Surgical Robotics Program. PBMC also features Centers of Excellence in Bariatrics and Joint Replacement and is a recipient of the prestigious Joint Commission Gold Seal of Approval for Total Joint Replacement for Hip and Knee.

“Nursing care is exceptional. Everything we do is focused on patient care. We’re never complacent, it’s never business as usual.”

 –Bruce Lavelle, RN

#4 – Getting here is half the fun.

As beautiful as our location is, the commute here makes it even more attractive. It’s an easy and peaceful commute, through picturesque countryside.

“Eastern Long Island is kind of like another world – but one you don’t have to go too far to reach.”

 –Amy Loeb, Chief Nursing Officer

#5 – Technology to write home about.

When it comes to our clinical capabilities, we refuse to compromise. This includes a brand new, state-of-the-art cardiac cath lab and electrophysiology lab, advanced OR robotics and innovative technology throughout.

“We have the latest equipment. Things we’d have to transfer patients for in the past, we get to help them right here and now. We don’t lose critical time.”

 –Bruce Lavelle, RN

#6 – A nice place to visit. An even better place to live.

Although it’s just a short trip to the energy and excitement of New York City, the serene beauty of eastern Long Island makes you feel as if you’re a million miles away, except there’s plenty to do. Enjoy a relaxing day among vineyards and wineries. Explore unique boutiques and shops. Sample delicious cuisine at one of the wonderful bistros and restaurants. Or just relax as you take in the sites

Most of my life I’ve been a Long Islander, it’s a wonderful area – world class beaches, culture, fine arts, great climate.”

 –Bruce Lavelle, RN

#7 – Never a dull moment.

With approximately 30,000 emergency visits each year, we have the busiest ED on the east end of Long Island. This translates into a dynamic and fast-paced environment in all of the areas of our hospital.

#8 – Happy employees.

At Peconic Bay Medical Center, we promote an environment where our people are valued, their skills are advanced, their knowledge is expanded and their ideas are respected. This keeps us inspired, involved and engaged. Our long-term satisfaction proves it!

#9 – You learn something new every day!

Continual professional development is a priority for us. We have a “Back 2 School” program where the hospital supports cohorts of nurses going back to school. We also offer a wide variety of educational resources, including the most advanced simulation center on Long Island.

#10 – It’s the place to grow!

As you can see, there are a lot of reasons to join Peconic Bay Medical Center. But the best one is that we’re just getting started with plans to grow our beautiful facilities and expand our capabilities. Right now, we’ve got great nursing opportunities to join us in these areas:

Need even more reasons to join us at Peconic Bay Medical Center? Find out more.

« Return to Blog

Our people have spoken – they think our CEO is the best!


Our people have spoken – they think our CEO is the best!

Congratulations to Michael Dowling on being named among the top 100 CEOs by Glassdoor

As employees of Northwell Health, we’ve always known it. But now, the rest of the world knows that our CEO, Michael J. Dowling is one of the best CEOs of 2017! Based on our employees’ feedback, he has just been ranked among the top large U.S. company CEOs in the 2017 Glassdoor® Employees’ Choice Awards. In fact, he’s the fourth highest ranked health care CEO! It’s no surprise. Because when it comes to building a world-renowned health system, Mr. Dowling is made for this.

“I’m honored to be recognized for my leadership by Northwell employees – my colleagues. The truth is employees at every level are truly the lifeblood of our health system,” said Mr. Dowling. “Our health care professionals and the support teams that treat our patients at the most-vulnerable times of their lives require not only expert clinical skills but compassion as well.”

Glassdoor is one of the world’s largest and fastest growing job sites. Its annual report highlights the Highest Rated CEOs throughout North America. Mr. Dowling’s 91% employee approval ratings are showing the world what we already know: his commitment and passion to our mission. This is a place where we are all empowered and engaged to go further, to challenge the state of health care and to deliver the highest quality care possible. As we passionately live out this vision, we’re delivering significant results. Our nurses’ engagement and satisfaction scores are the highest in New York City.

We congratulate Mr. Dowling on this prestigious honor and thank him for making Northwell Health such an incredible place to work. This award is also proof that our highest level of leadership delivers the kind of outstanding performance we expect of all our employees. Are you made for an employer that expects your best and helps you achieve it? Then you might be made for this.

Additional details on the results of the Glassdoor survey can be found here.

« Return to Blog

Getting your foot in the door could be the next big step in your career!

Northwell Health Header

Getting your foot in the door could be the next big step in your career!

When you’re looking for the ideal place to build a great career, you’ve got a lot of questions. How do I know this is the right culture for me? How can I show the right employer everything I have to offer? How do I even get started and get my foot in the door of a great organization?

FlexStaff has the answers.

The FlexStaff Difference.

“Working as a temp employee with FlexStaff is a unique opportunity to test drive a job. While the site is trying you out, you are also seeing if a particular site or department is the right fit for you.”–Carolyn Doyle, FlexStaff AVP

FlexStaff, our temporary staffing agency, provides clerical and nursing support to Northwell Health. Since Northwell Health is the largest health system in New York, you can image there are a lot of great opportunities. The big advantage of FlexStaff is that it gives you the chance to take on a great temporary role – or a series of roles – within Northwell Health and potentially leverage them into a great career.

The role you can play.

With an organization as large and complex as Northwell Health, there are nearly limitless ways for you to contribute to our success in a temporary role as you enjoy unequaled variety, flexibility and the possibility to move into full-time employment.

  • Nursing – Through FlexStaff Private Duty, LPNs and CNAs have the opportunity to provide patients with a higher level of personalized care in the hospital with 1:1 care. We offer a unique opportunity for our internal Northwell Health nurses to take on additional shifts and earn extra money through FlexStaff moonlighting.
  • Clerical – FlexStaff Core offers a wide variety of opportunities for clerical and other professionals, including, Medical Assistants/Medical Office Assistants, Front Desk, Practice Secretary Associates, Clerks, Phlebotomists, Executive Assistants, Admin Support, Billers and more.

The beginning of a great relationship.

It’s a good opportunity to get your foot in the door of the health system. Just because you start as a temp, you’re not any lower or higher than your coworkers and you get to be at the forefront of a new full-time opportunity.” –Aaron Weeks, Pre-Boarding Rep and FlexStaff temp to full hire employee

Working with FlexStaff gives you the chance to contribute to the success of one of the nation’s largest and most respected health systems. With a comprehensive orientation as well as online and classroom training (depending on position), you’ll be able to contribute right away as you let your abilities shine. This will put you in the best possible position for advancing into a full-time, permanent position. On average, six temporary FlexStaff employees become full-time Northwell Health employees each and every week.

Take that first step by exploring all that FlexStaff has to offer.

Learn more here.