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An Appointment With: Orthopedic Physician Assistant Rachel Zawodzinski

An Appointment With: Orthopedic Physician Assistant Rachel Zawodzinski

Welcome to An Appointment With, where we sit down one-on-one with our Northwell Health colleagues. Today we’re meeting Orthopedic Physician Assistant (PA) and marathoner, Rachel Zawodzinski.

Why did you choose a career at Northwell Health?

I’m from Buffalo and I wanted to move to the city. I had heard that Northwell Health was a great place to work and that they provide great education to the staff and PAs. Everybody’s happy here because Northwell Health really supports you. Being a Physician Assistant, you learn a lot on the job and since it’s a learning institution with residents and fellows, there’s always an opportunity to learn.

Tell us about your role as an Orthopedic Physician Assistant.

I work with Dr. Hepinstall in adult reconstruction. I started a year ago last April and it was my first job out of PA school! I alternate days between the office and the OR, and in the office I see patients alongside the doctor as well as my own patients. We have an elderly population, as our focus is in total hip and knee replacements. I assist in the OR, which I love. When you are in surgery, you get to see exactly what you’re doing so when patients ask you questions, you can answer them more clearly because you were there — you know what happened. It’s a great environment to experience and learn the best practices.

What should people know about working at Lenox Hill Hospital?

It’s a very close-knit team that we work with regularly which allows us to work together very well. We enjoy each other’s company which also means that we try to make the job as fun as it can be.

How does your job affect your ability to stay active and how does this translate into your work?

One of the hardest things in this field is time management, so it can be hard to maintain an active lifestyle outside of work. I am a runner, so I try to run or work out in the morning before work. When you’re in surgery, you never know how late the day will go. But exercise is something I enjoy and I feel better after doing it — I am a more productive person when I am active, so I prioritize it.

In our field, everyone always wants to achieve something and likes to train for something, whether it be a marathon or to be better in their career. Everyone wants to be the best version of themselves and likes to work toward a goal. We see the complications every day that people can have if they’re not healthy, and that makes you want to be healthy and promote a healthy lifestyle to your patients.

Are you training for a marathon right now?

I continue to run to stay active and plan to do a half marathon in the spring and hope to do another marathon next fall.

What kind of person would be great at being an Orthopedic PA?

Someone who is motivated. A lot of people in ortho are active people and they like the variety between the office and the OR. You have to be flexible and work with change because you can always uncover something unexpected in the OR!

Do you have any advice for people who are looking to become an Orthopedic PA?

It’s a great field to work in and I really love what I do. It’s a great career being a PA in general, so if you want to go down that path, then just work hard and have that goal in mind. When you have the opportunity to learn from the people around you – doctors, techs, nurses – take advantage of it.

We have exciting Orthopedic PA opportunities in new, state-of-the-art facilities in Greenwich Village and Long Island. Like achieving success in a marathon, it starts with one step. Take it here.

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The top 3 things you need to know about our new Wellness program


The top 3 things you need to know about our new Wellness program.

1. We have a new partner

Virgin Pulse purchased ShapeUp in 2016. As the new partner for myWellness, they have numerous enhanced functions compared to the previous platform and are the leading vendor in their class. Northwell Health is passionate about keeping our employees and the communities we serve, safe and well. The new myWellness program is an excellent tool to support total well-being based on upgrades to content and resource accessibility. The best part about registering for the new platform? A free personal activity tracker along with a robust mobile app for easy access to tracking on personal devices.

“We believe that caring for our patients begins with caring for our people. We strive to offer resources such as myWellness to support our vision of the healthiest workforce in healthcare.”

-Niha Malcomson, Manager, Employee Wellness

2. It provides so much more

The new myWellness platform is highly interactive. Each day, members earn rewards points daily for tracking healthy habits like hours slept, steps, drinking water and much more. The refreshed program incorporates three basic steps to support behavior change to help employees reach their wellness goals. Step 1: Get specific. Step 2: Make it easy. Step 3: Trigger the behavior. When we focus on building tiny habits, we increase the likelihood of making lasting change. All of our employees are encouraged to take the 100% confidential, voluntary Health Risk Assessment to receive feedback on their current well-being status and to drive the creation of personalized content in the myWellness program. Personal challenges – ranging from getting more steps to tracking sleep with friends on the platform – are easy to create and yield additional ways to earn reward points. The PROGRAMS page on myWellness is a valuable tool for employees to centrally access a wide range of health and well-being resources available to them throughout Northwell Health.

3. And our employees are pumped

Since the launch of the upgraded myWellness program on August 1, there are nearly 25,000 Northwell Health employees registered, and the number continues to grow each day. Approximately 45% of the registered users were registered in the previous platform, the remainder are new users of myWellness. The interactivity and gamification, customized content, individual and enterprise-wide challenges, will all play a role in keeping employees engaged with their health through this program. Our partner, Virgin Pulse, also provides content updates periodically throughout the year to keep the content fresh.

Keeping our employees happy and healthy is one of our top priorities. We understand that the balance between work, life, wellness, and everything else is a tricky one, and we want our employees to feel support within each area. That’s why our employee wellness team continues to enhance our programs and will be on the road visiting sites throughout September and October encouraging our employees to take the next step in their health and to join our newly refreshed platform.

Take a look at how we’ve helped our employees so far:

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Motivated to stay healthy – how our annual Wellness Challenges have benefited our employees


Motivated to stay healthy – how our annual Wellness Challenges have benefited our employees

A healthy employee is a happy employee. Did you know that each year we have Wellness Challenges for our employees to keep track of their personal health?  These challenges involve tracking your healthy and unhealthy habits, reducing stress, or simply encouraging you to move around more. Last year at our annual employee barbeque our President and CEO, Michael J. Dowling, awarded prizes to the challenge winners who were all secretly hoping to win the grand prize, a trip to any one of our seven destination options, ranging from Peru to China to Thailand.

Last year alone, Mr. Dowling handed out 14 prizes to employees who completed all 3 challenges. One winner, Imee Sarmiento, recently took her trip to Rome with her husband.  Wanting to get in on the fun, Imee’s sister Lulette (who also works for the health system) decided to plan a trip at the same time.

Throughout their trip, they got to visit many famous cities such as Florence and Siena, but one sight they didn’t expect to see under the Tuscan sun was former United States President Barak Obama and the Air Force One Leaving the Rome Airport.

“Winning this trip was an incredible experience! It was an enticing incentive for employees to promote health and wellness as well as encourage camaraderie amongst its employees,” said Imee. These sisters have been a part of our nursing family for 14 and 20 years respectively.

“We don’t really know any company that granted their employees any wellness challenges and incentives such as the experience we just had. It’s amazing and totally reinforced Northwell Health’s dedication to be a forefront in leading and promoting employee satisfaction,” said Lulette.

Here at Northwell Health, we are always looking out for the health of our employees. Our wellness initiatives not only allow our employees to maintain their health outside the workplace, but while working as well. Over the past few years, we have continued to put the health of our employees first by providing healthy food options at the cafeterias throughout our facilities and snack options in our vending machines. So far these challenges have helped hundreds of employees lose weight and change their lifestyle.