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Thinking differently: Zucker Hillside Hospital nurses are redefining behavioral health patient care

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Thinking differently: Zucker Hillside Hospital nurses are redefining behavioral health patient care

Helping those suffering from behavioral conditions and addictions takes all of us coming together to bring our best insight and ideas. That’s why Zucker Hillside Hospital continues to be an active participant at the annual American Psychiatric Nurses Association (APNA) Conference.

“We really want to focus on the recovery of our patients. Often, mental illness is stigmatized in this country and it’s one of the things we’re striving to reduce.”

–Kristy Loewenstein, MSN, RN-BC, PMHNP-BC

With eight posters and one podium presentation, we’re so excited to share the amazing things we’ve got going on at Zucker Hillside Hospital with the behavioral health community. Here is a preview of some of the topics our nurses will presenting about:

Experiences and Utilization of the New York State Office of Mental Health’s Preventing and Managing Crisis Situations

Kristy Loewenstein, MSN, RN-BC, PMHNP-BC

Joe Whelan, BS, RN, MBA

Aggressive patient behavior in psychiatry poses a significant challenge for nurses and other professionals. Despite programs instituted to relieve this burden, injury to staff and patients remains a very real concern. A key issue is the inadequate implementation of least-restrictive aggressive behavior management strategies to cope with aggressive incidents. This led to the development and implementation of the NYS OMH’s two-day course in “Preventing and Managing Crisis Situations.” At Zucker Hillside Hospital, this has led to a 22% decrease in staff injuries related to assaults and a 50% decrease in use of restraints as we reached critical mass in PMCS training. We’re excited to share the details of this solution to a vital caregiver concern.

The Journey Toward a Therapeutic Healing Environment for Patients and a Safe Working Environment for Staff

Marybeth McManus, RN, CNO

Kristy Loewenstein, MSN, RN-BC, PMHNP-BC

In addition to creating a therapeutic healing environment within psychiatric units and hospitals, it is imperative to provide a safe working environment for staff members. To this end, a number of programs have been implemented over the past decade to foster an environment that is trauma-informed, patient centered, and provides a therapeutic environment to staff and patients. We’re excited to share the initiatives and results of this journey to world-class psychiatric care. We’ll be sharing how these approaches combined with strong leadership are fostering a recovery-focused, trauma-informed, patient-centered environment.

We’re so proud of our nurses’ efforts to apply the latest thinking and practices in the field, and the important presentations that result from these efforts. Join Marybeth, Joe, Kristy and others as we show the exciting results of this commitment at APNA.

“It takes a very special nurse to work in behavioral health. You need to have tremendous integrity and communication skills as well as incredible patience and empathy.”

–Marybeth McManus

To learn more about what to expect from our nurses this week, click here.

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We’re made for helping others find their way.

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We’re made for helping others find their way.

At Zucker Hillside Hospital, it doesn’t just take clinical knowledge and skill to do what we do. It takes a special spark, a unique passion for treating patients as the unique and valued individuals they are. We’re profoundly committed to the compassionate care of people suffering from a wide range of behavioral conditions and addictions. We’re also passionate about our leadership role in the field as we pursue new treatments and solutions for helping people through extremely difficult challenges.

“As co-chair for the Evidence-Based Practice and Nursing Research committee at Zucker, I’m focused on initiating practices to improve patient care and satisfaction.”

–Tara Shajan, RN

We’re excited to be able to share our knowledge and best practices with the behavioral health community at the American Psychiatric Nurses Association’s 31st Annual Conference this October in Phoenix, Arizona! We spoke with two of the nurses from Zucker Hillside Hospital who will present their findings at the conference, and here is a sneak peek at their research topics:

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) – Trish Woloszyn, RN

DBT is an evidence-based practice therapy created to help the many people suffering from borderline personality or impulse control issues. By uniting cognitive behavioral therapy with Buddhist meditative practices, it combines the best of our advanced knowledge with ancient wisdom. The treatment involves exercises in mindfulness, emotional regulation and distress tolerance and acceptance. Ours is the first inpatient adolescent unit in the country to incorporate this into practice. We’re seeing amazing results in terms of constant observation as well as a decrease in self-injurious and suicidal behavior. So far, we’ve sent eight core staff members from all disciplines for intensive DBT training. We’re continuing to have more staff trained, including nursing staff, so they can gain a greater understanding about the ways DBT can help our patients.

The Importance of Noise Control – Tara Shajan, RN

We weren’t  satisfied with our Press Ganey score for patient experience related to noise level. I led an initiative with our RNs and other staff to modify the practices on the unit to control the level of noise on the unit after 11 pm. The change in our mean score since the implementation of the new process has been remarkable – rising from 27 to 72 in just one year. This is a tremendous change. Essentially: Reducing noise level can contribute to improving quiet and therapeutic healing environment and thus enhance patient experience. With these changes, we have completed the goal of bringing up the satisfaction of the patients of the units during the night time. Since the initiative, the staff who would never paid attention to noise change are now aware of it and there is a big culture change . Patients are able to get a good night’s sleep. The improved Press Ganey patient satisfaction score is proof it’s working.

“We found that reducing noise level can improve the therapeutic healing environment and thus enhance patient experience.”

–Tara Shajan, RN

At Zucker Hillside Hospital, we are rejuvenating our nursing research and are committed to encouraging nurses like Trish and Tara to explore untapped possibilities and to discover new and better ways to deliver exceptional patient care. If you’re made for advancing your clinical practice, Zucker Hillside Hospital is made for you.

“The nursing department at Zucker Hillside Hospital has been very invested in promoting nursing research to all the nursing staff.”

— Trish Woloszyn, RN

Think you might be made for a career in Behavioral Health? Explore available careers here!

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We’re sending shock waves throughout the medical world.


We’re sending shock waves throughout the medical world.

What difference can an electrical impulse make in combatting complex illnesses and injuries? Every difference.

Bioelectronic Medicine combines our knowledge of electrical signals and neural pathways to redefine how we predict, diagnose, and treat an incredible range of medical conditions. We’re teaching the body how to heal itself – without side effects.

“We are on the cusp of treating diseases in new ways that we would not have been imagining five years ago.” –Christopher Czura, PhD, Vice President Scientific Affairs

A moving experience.

“There seems to be no limit to what’s possible in this field. We have been able to restore movement in the hand of a paralyzed young man through an electronic brain implant.” –Chad Bouton, Director, Center for Bioelectronic Medicine

Is it possible to set free a person who has been imprisoned in their own body by paralysis? Yes, and we’re doing it. We’re developing devices that create a neural bypass around damaged neural pathways so the paralyzed can regain motion.

What happens in vagus.

A lot of what we’re able to accomplish with Bioelectronic Medicine focuses on the vagus nerve. This system of fibers runs from the brain stem to several major organs, including the heart and digestive tract. By identifying the relevant neural pathways and stimulating the vagus nerve electronically, we’re able to provide healing for conditions such as bleeding and many autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease and lupus.

“Many rheumatoid arthritis patients that had failed multiple pharmaceutical treatments, experienced relief from their symptoms with Bioelectronic Medicine,” says Chad Bouton.

Thinking differently about prevention.

“Imagine waking up in the morning to an alert on your smartphone. A tiny device in your body analyzed your blood chemistry overnight and contacted your doctor about a possible issue – and even scheduled an appointment. This is the future of medicine.”–Chad Bouton

Beyond treating existing conditions, bioelectronic devices could have a dramatic impact on our ability to better diagnose disease. By monitoring biomarkers in at-risk patients and listening to the body’s own clues, we can perform real-time diagnostics and track the progress of a patient. This could lead to warning those at risk for cancer, diabetes, and other debilitating dangerous conditions.

Give your career a jolt.

“Seeing how these breakthroughs change real lives — and knowing it’s just the tip of the iceberg — is most exciting. It’s just the beginning.”

–Kevin Tracey, President & CEO, The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research

Are you ready to work on the leading edge of one of the most exciting areas of medical research today? The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research is looking for you to help advance the incredible potential of Bioelectronic Medicine. Our work is opening up exceptional opportunities for:

  • Molecular Biologists – Identify the targets of disease for treatment
  • Neuroscientists – Identify the neural pathway to manipulate the target
  • Neural Electrical Engineers/Computer Scientists – Design the device to manipulate the appropriate pathway

Explore these careers today!

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Northwell Health nurses are driving change in behavioral health.

Zucker Hillside Hospital

Northwell Health nurses are driving change in behavioral health.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. At Zucker Hillside Hospital, Northwell Health’s nationally recognized behavioral health center, we’re committed to the compassionate care of people suffering from a wide range of conditions and addictions. We’re passionate about our leadership role in the field as we pursue new treatments and solutions to help our patients reintegrate into the community.

That’s why we’re looking forward to sharing our knowledge and best practices with the behavioral health community at the American Psychiatric Nurses Association’s 31st Annual Conference this October in Phoenix, Arizona.

Zucker Hillside Hospital has been an active participant and presenter at the conference for many years. In fact, our Chief Nursing Officer, Marybeth McManus serves on the Research Council steering committee board. We’re very excited about the volume of presentations by our nurses this year — eight posters and one podium presentation. “We are really rejuvenating our nursing research and evidence based council at Zucker Hillside,” notes Marybeth. “This year we’re going all out to share what we’ve got going on.”

With new research initiatives and the rollout of the evidence based practice competency, Zucker Hillside Hospital is upping the game for nurses in their professional practice. Not only that, but the hospital opened a brand new building in 2013. “Northwell Health really supports behavioral health,” states Marybeth. “That’s unique for a health system and we’re excited to be able to disseminate some of the cutting edge things we’re doing here.”

We’ll be sharing previews of our nurses’ presentations over the coming months, which include topics such as dialectical behavioral therapy, the effect of noise control on patient satisfaction, elevating family centered electroconvulsive therapy, experiences and utilization of the New York State Office of Mental Health’s “Preventing and Managing Crisis Situations,” and more!

blue-triangle Explore careers in behavioral health.

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Unleashing the Power of Bioelectronic Medicine.

Northwell Health Blog

Unleashing the power of Bioelectronic Medicine.

Are you ready to work on the leading edge of one of the most exciting areas of medical research today? Bioelectronic Medicine is revolutionizing health care by replacing drugs with electrons – using devices to guide nerves to control molecular targets. The possibilities for changing and saving lives are limitless.

“We are on the cusp of treating diseases in new ways that we would not have been imagining five years ago.” –Christopher Czura, PhD, Vice President, Scientific Affairs

Our researchers are learning the language of neural signals and using Bioelectronic Medicine technologies to record, stimulate, and block neural signals.

We’re teaching the body how to heal itself – without side effects.

Beyond even this, we’re exploring how bioelectronics can help us perform early diagnosis to enhance treatment and achieve more successful outcomes.

Revolutionizing how we treat illness and injuries.

The amazing work happening at Northwell Health’s Feinstein Institute for Medical Research is opening up exceptional opportunities in a wide range of areas. We use a team-based approach that combines our expertise in neurophysiology, neuroscience, molecular and cell biology, and bioengineering. We identify physiological triggers, develop new research tools, and medical device technology to ‘tap into’ neural pathways in the body to treat disease and injury. Get to know the positions that make up our team:

Under the direction of Chad Bouton, VP of Advanced Engineering and Director of the Center for Bioelectronic Medicine, we’re developing therapeutic breakthroughs for an incredible variety of injuries and diseases, such as:

  • Bleeding/Hemorrhage – We developed the neural tourniquet, a Bioelectronic Medical device that uses electronic nerve stimulation to slow blood loss.
  • Paralysis – Limiting damage and providing a pro-regenerative environment to nerve cells after spinal cord injury.
  • Cancer – We’re discovering and validating new biomarkers which may serve as targets for Bioelectronic Medicine in various cancers.
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis – Electrically stimulating the vagus nerve could turn off the immune system pathways associated with rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory diseases.
  • Sepsis – We’re developing methods of preventing sepsis and investigating mechanisms underlying the cognitive and physical impairment that occurs in up to 25% of sepsis survivors.
  • Colitis – Our researchers have shown that activation of the vagus nerve reduces the symptoms of colitis.
  • Crohn’s Disease – We have developed a device to stimulate the vagus nerve in order to activate the body’s natural inflammatory reflex.
  • Diabetes – Our research suggests that a small bioelectronics device, implanted on the vagus nerve, may be able to regulate the production of and cellular response to insulin.
  • Lupus – We’re studying genetic information to identify individuals who are at risk for developing autoimmune diseases such as Lupus.
  • Obesity and Metabolic Syndrome – Proper regulation of vagus nerve-mediated anti-inflammatory signaling might provide an effective treatment of obesity.

The role you can play.

“We are bringing together people from completely different disciplines, into the same area, working together, collaborating and innovating to create new technologies.” — Chad Bouton, VP of Advanced Engineering and Director of the Center for Bioelectronic Medicine

  • Molecular Biologists – Target the molecular sources of disease
  • Neuroscientists – Identify the neural pathway to manipulate the targeted source
  • Neural Electrical Engineers/Computer Scientists – Design the device to manipulate the appropriate pathway in order to treat the disease

Through this unique approach, our employees are developing effective solutions that are less expensive than pharmaceuticals, easier to administer, non-toxic, and more precise. The innovations you produce will minimize health risks and side effects, while offering an extensible R&D platform.

“It’s an extraordinary time to be here and it’s extremely exciting to think about what’s coming next.” –Kevin J. Tracey, MD, President & CEO

Learn more.

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Turning a dream into reality – the birth of 3D bioprinting

Turning a dream into a reality – the birth of 3D bioprinting

Written by: Todd Goldstein 

You might be thinking, what in the world is bioprinting and why would a team spend years developing it? Well, 3D bioprinting is the use of 3D printing technology with materials that incorporate viable living cells. The end product produced is tissue for reconstructive surgery. This type of technology can transform the way medicine is practiced. Just think about a world where organ donors are no longer needed – if you need a transplant of some sort, it can be printed on demand from your own cells while you wait. But before I get ahead of myself, let’s start at the beginning… 

My journey within Northwell Health started off 30 years ago when I was born at Long Island Jewish Medical Center. After a brief 20+ year hiatus, I returned in a very stereotypical way – I was a student who needed a side job with lots of shifts and flexible hours. After some investigation I applied to work per diem as a patient transporter at North Shore University Hospital, where I worked at night while I was completing my master’s degree. It was a perfect fit for me; I was able to converse with patients as I wheeled them around the hospital for their various tests and discharges.

As I was completing my degree, I applied and was accepted to the PhD program at the Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine. I wasn’t sure what I specifically wanted to work on, but I knew I had a knack for technology and a new found appreciation for Orthopedics & Radiology.  I worked 4 years at the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research completing my degree in the Laboratory of Orthopedics Research under Dr. Daniel Grande PhD. We spent countless hours working on 3D bioprinting of cartilage, bone, and tracheal tissue. The environment I “stumbled into” was one of collaboration, innovation, and patience. It was challenging, but very rewarding. The lab provided an environment filled with students, residents, fellows, physicians, and research scientists all working to further medical knowledge and create new treatments for patients in need. Anyone in the lab was able to “grab the bull by the horns” so to speak, and take on a project they deemed interesting. You took ownership and were able to see it through to the end.

One day, in walked two chief surgeons with the idea of tissue engineering lab grown tracheas. Dr. Lee Smith MD and Dr. David Zeltsman MD were interested in our capabilities within the lab and if we were willing to work with them on a non-orthopedic project. Dr. Grande said “Todd if you want to spear head this project, go right ahead, just let me know what you need.” Over the next two years we worked to build up a protocol to 3D bioprint tracheal replacements in the lab. It was our hope of one day transplanting a replacement into a patient – to restore their breathing would become a reality.






Once I had the support I needed, we began right away. While we are not at a point to transplant lab grown organs, we are well on our way. To kick off this type of project we started to build our own 3D printer that could create our tissue since the commercially available printer options were extremely expensive. We took a desktop 3D printer, stripped it down to its guts, then using design software created new printer heads that could accept living cells within a jello like material. Many early mornings and late nights watching the 3D printer whirl around in circles placing layer after layer of cells, gel, biocompatible, and biodegradable scaffold materials were necessary to get this idea to become reality. After much trial and error we were able to print a living “breathing” lab-grown trachea.

In the beginning of 2016 the 3D bioprinter was submitted into Northwell Health’s Breakthrough contest where the winner received additional funds to further their research and make their scientific dream a reality. All of the 61,000 employees in our organization were able to vote on the breakthrough that they found the most significant in effecting patients care, and the printer happened to be the winner. Without Northwell’s support this project would still be just an idea. I have been able to take away important skills throughout this journey – whether it be about patient customer service, or a complicated statistical analysis of scientific data, without the Northwell Health family like environment I would still be wandering the halls looking for my niche. I have now graduated from the medical school and Northwell has created a unique roll for me as I share my time between the Orthopedics Lab and the Northwell Ventures Team serving as a technical analyst, as the hospital rolls out new innovative business ventures furthering our patient care capabilities.  I now get to help shape the innovative future of healthcare, both in and out of the lab, as we take ideas from the bench top and translate them to the bedside.