CNO Corner: Kerri Scanlon’s Top 10 Tips to Become a Nursing Leader
Kerri Anne Scanlon, RN, is deputy chief nurse executive of Northwell Health & chief nursing officer of North Shore University Hospital. She represents her profession with grace and expertise, constantly elevating her team with her work ethic and skill.
Ms. Scanlon has received several prestigious awards, including the 2009 Nursing Spectrum/Johnson & Johnson regional and national Nursing Excellence award for advancing and leading the profession. Long Island Business News also named her to its 40 Under 40 list in 2009, and she was a participant in the Robert Wood Johnson Transforming Care at the Bedside Project and the original American Nurses Association Time Motion Study. Ms. Scanlon has served as nurse executive for more than a decade, across two of Northwell Health’s largest tertiary and quaternary care facilities.
As chief nursing officer and associate executive director for patient care services, Ms. Scanlon is responsible for creating and facilitating North Shore University Hospital’s strategic plan for nursing and clinical services. She has led the transformation of patient care through the promotion of staff engagement and empowerment and has been instrumental in creating a patient-centered care environment by leveraging technology and environmental redesign to bring nurses closer to the bedside. Her inspirational leadership has led to North Shore University Hospital’s recent achievement of Magnet® designation.
Ms. Scanlon serves as a leader on the Northwell Health Nurse Executive Council, where best practices are established and implemented across Northwell. She recently shared with us her top ten tips for becoming a leader in nursing.
1. Education is the foundation of nursing
I am passionate about education and that’s why I’ve made nursing professional development a priority in my work – I believe that without a strong professional development department within an organization, you can’t have a strong nursing department. Hence, my esteem for our corporate university, the Center for Learning and Innovation and the Northwell Health Institute of Nursing, which offers professional development, leadership development, nursing learning labs, nursing research and academic partnerships to constantly advance our nursing staff. If you want to be successful as a leader in nursing, you must have, and advocate for, cutting-edge nursing education.
2. It starts with passion
You must love this profession if you want to lead it. This is hard work, and in order to remain inspired and to inspire others, you need to love what you do and stay true to your heart.
What is your passion? What’s in your heart? Where do you want to be? Where do you see yourself five years from now? It’s important to ask yourself these tough questions so you continue to pursue your passion.
3. …But sometimes you have to be willing to take a risk
The greatest career opportunities may be the ones you weren’t planning on or expecting. Some career moves are a zig-zag, mine has had a few, and that’s okay! Pursue a degree that’s going to support what you want to do. Shadow leaders in your area of interest and utilize their mentorship. These experiences will help you when you are ready to change your career path or may connect you with individuals who recognize a potential path for you that you didn’t anticipate.
4. How do you create the right culture as a leader? It’s all about the team.
Having worked in high-functioning teams and then in those who didn’t perform as well, you realize you’re only as a good as the team you’re working with. I’ve been fortunate that I’ve been a part of a lot of great teams, but as a leader, it is your responsibility to create that team – not by yourself and not by hiring people that are exactly like you. Build the team with the people who have strengths you don’t have – diversify – and you will all be better for it.
Some of the best early leadership experience I had was in sports acting as a team captain. In order to make a real impact, you have to have a strong team that’s inspired to follow you in your mission – and you’re only as strong as the people that are on the bench. Becoming a leader in nursing is no different. It’s not about a few golden stars who score the basket – it’s about building a team that’s strong and committed to your vision from the starting line-up to the bench.
5. From day one, build a succession plan
If you don’t have a succession plan for your role from the beginning, you’re not doing your job as a leader. It is your responsibility to develop the next generation, by identifying and cultivating leadership skills in others. One of my greatest strengths as a leader has been my ability to recognize that potential in someone, and place them in a role where they can maximize the impact of their unique skills and abilities with the proper support and guidance. You can’t mentor everyone yourself, but it is your job to match them with the right person who can develop them as a leader.
6. Embrace the challenge
Never take a job where everything is stellar, it’s better to join an area that needs work. Find a job that inspires you to create change and improve the environment. Your passion for change will guide your leadership. Once you’re there, listen to the team and develop a strategy to achieve your goals together. Trust me, 9 out of 10 times, you are going to be successful and far surpass our expectations.
7. Courage and adaptability – you must be willing to make mistakes.
The biggest failure in leadership is not making a decision for fear of making the wrong one. Listen, listen, listen – if you truly listen, taking into consideration the perspective and insight of others, then you can make a decision, stick with it, and not look back. Mistakes will happen, and when they do, take ownership, accountability, and be transparent. Open your mind and yourself to others and what they are saying and you’ll be a better leader for it.
To thrive as a leader, you must be agile. Never accept the status quo, even if it makes you uncomfortable – you must be committed to continuous improvement and innovation, in order to showcase the valuable contributions of nursing. By keeping true to your vision and your goals, working on establishing your team, learning from failures and building on your success, you can become a leader that can create real change.
8. Integrity, integrity, integrity!
Your integrity as a leader is everything. Despite what decision may come your way as leader, you must always keep this in mind. Others will look to you to remain consistent and fair, and you will never go wrong keeping these values at the heart of your decisions.
9. You can’t just ask for respect, you have to demonstrate you deserve it
Throughout my career, I’ve made it a point to assert myself and become an integral voice for nursing at Northwell by advocating to drive our profession forward. As a nurse leader, the perspective and insight that you bring to strategic planning activities is invaluable – don’t be afraid to share your expertise. The key to earning respect is to show respect to others in all your interactions: actively listen to your team, involve them in your decisions, and integrate their feedback.
10. Our nurses innovate at the bedside every day across our health system. As a leader, you have to cultivate those examples and capitalize on them
Nurses at the bedside with patients have the opportunity to see needs that we do not. We’re doing innovative work at the bedside every day and that learning is valuable and needs to be shared. We need to be the innovators of the organization – constantly looking to see where we can add value for the future. We don’t want to get stuck doing the same thing over and over expecting success. Innovation developed at the bedside has become ingrained within the culture of Northwell’s Institute of Nursing. There’s no better place to be if you want to implement large-scale change and innovation. Our nursing leadership makes us a cutting-edge organization that outpaces our competitors.
I believe that nursing is the foundation of healthcare. As a nurse leader, it is most important to never lose sight of why you went into this profession – to care for others and benefit the greater good. We can look to other industries for best practices in improving efficiency and processes, but ultimately we must retain our focus on our profession’s values and traditions – and the best leaders remember to always balance the art and science of nursing.
The 2018 Nursing Leadership Retreat has Northwell Health “Reaching for the Stars!”
Under the leadership of health system Senior Vice President (SVP) and Chief Nurse Executive Maureen White, RN MBA, FNAP, FAAN, over 235 chief nursing officers, directors of patient care services and nursing education, advanced practice nurse leaders and high performing frontline staff convened to take a deep dive into the CMS Star ratings program and nursings key role in the organizations success. Every health system hospital and skilled nursing facility was in attendance along with home care, hospice, health solutions and ambulatory services. Over the course of the two day event this dynamic group engaged with system leaders to develop the plan that will continue to drive Northwell Health as a leader in healthcare. In the process, attendees were ‘Dancing for the Stars’ which was an unexpected highlight that everyone is still talking about!
The event opened up with a motivating and inspiring presentation by President and CEO Michael Dowling. Mr Dowling presented an encouraging look at the healthcare landscape, Northwells vision and strategy and assured everyone that our passion and desire to do what’s right will be an important beacon as we continue this exciting journey. He shared his own personal journey which, captivated the audience, and left everyone feeling energized and ready to soar!
The first day concluded with a reflective and thought provoking session by Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Mark Solazzo. Recently recognized again as one of the top 25 COO’s in the country by Modern Healthcare magazine, Mr Solazzo drove home key points for our success including continuing to collaborate on ensuring that Northwell remains a best place to work and a place where all employees are engaged and supported.
Other highlights included a session led by SVP and Chief Community Health Investment Officer Dr Ram Raju MD, and Sabina Zak, RPA-c, Vice President for Community Health which explored the Northwell 5 Star Culture of Health Promotion. This focused on getting to know our patients and communities so that we can provide the care they need and want in ways that align with their priorities and realities. It emphasized a new way of looking at patient centeredness and taking into greater consideration, the social determinants of health and the role it plays in the health and wellness.
Employee engagement was a cornerstone of the retreat as strategies and action plans were developed to advance employee engagement. Although engagement is exceedingly high, attendees were raising the bar and reaching for the stars on that as well! David Gill, PhD, Asst Vice President for Employee Experience and Michael Kern, Senior Director for Employee Experience, exemplified engagement as they had the nurse leaders fired up during a lively, interactive session.
A careful analysis of the CMS stars program was led by SVP and Chief Medical Officer Dr David Battinelli MD, SVP and Chief Quality Officer Dr. Mark Jarret, MD and SVP for Population Management Kristopher Smith, MD. This was a powerful segment that dissected the components of the Stars program and allowed attendees to gain a much better understanding of the program and its many considerations. Nurse leaders developed action plans during this working session and were left with a feeling of greater clarity in understanding how the work they are currently doing will translate into the healthy outcomes they desire for patients.
Teams that have been working on the Patient Care Services (PCS) strategic plan reported out on their progress. Maureen White stated, “I was so impressed with the PCS Strategic Plan presentations which closed out the retreat. Each strategic plan group exceeded expectations in developing the plans of their workgroups.”
Maureen Whites closing speech, a tribute to 77 very special nurses known as The Angels of Bataan, resonated deeply with attendees and they are still moved and inspired by their example. According to attendees, the 2018 Nursing Leadership Retreat was informative and insightful and a huge success. Everyone is already gearing up for next year!
What’s one way to shatter the glass ceiling? Ask Susan Browning.
Executive Director of Long Island Jewish (LIJ) Forest Hills, Susan Browning, hasn’t just cracked a glass ceiling in the healthcare industry, she’s shattered it. And she has the award to prove it: Susan was among eight leaders to receive the Glass Ceiling Award, which honors women who rose through the ranks in their respective industries. Though there are still plenty of glass ceilings that need breaking, these women have paved the way for many others! We talked to Susan about mentorship, one of her biggest career decisions, and what’s next for her at Northwell Health:
Tell us about your career journey at Northwell Health!
I joined Northwell Health eight months after the merge of what was then North Shore Health System and Long Island Jewish Medical Center. When I was recruited, I initially had responsibility for ambulatory care operations. However, due to the evolution of the health system, I moved into a role within system operations about a year and a half after joining. From that role, I transitioned back into hospital leadership positions, first at LIJ Forest Hills and then at Staten Island University Hospital. Subsequently, I provided administrative leadership within four of our clinical service lines. And, about three years ago, I was asked to return to LIJ Forest Hills as executive director.
What was it like to make the decision about healthcare administration vs. practicing medicine?
I always knew that I wanted a career in health care, and early on I thought that would be as a physician. However, during my undergraduate studies, I met several healthcare executives through various professional experiences. It was through those experiences that I reoriented my interests towards administration, where I was focused on the health of the community and development of services to meet community needs.
What does it take to earn a Glass Ceiling Award?
I view this award as a great recognition of Northwell Health’s focus on building services in the Queens community, which meet the needs of the community. This is an award that is reserved for individuals that have achieved professional recognition, but most importantly, community recognition for their leadership within the community.
Have you had any mentors along the way who made a big difference in your career?
Absolutely. The mentors that I have had (and continue to have), provide extraordinary support, guidance, and objective insights as my career has developed. Having strong, trusted mentors is one of the most important positive factors in one’s career development.
What should women know about working at Northwell Health?
Northwell Health is an extremely innovative health system, with visionary leadership. There is a focus on building diverse talent across the organization, as having diverse voices contribute to organizational decision-making enhances the sophistication of those decisions. The culture is very supportive.
What’s next for you in shaping careers for women in STEM?
I prefer to focus on shaping careers of any young professional interested in STEM, not solely women. There is a great opportunity for talented leaders, and it is up to my generation to mentor these leaders and prepare them for the evolving industry and opportunities that will present.
At Northwell Health, we already stand out as one of the Best Workplaces™ in Health Care and Biopharma. Now we’re aiming to be the healthiest. Our leadership is focused on food and nutrition as well as fitness and mental wellbeing initiatives to build a healthier workplace for all our employees.
“In the past few years, we’ve been able to do more in food and nutrition to create a better, more effective infrastructure for wellness at work and it’s because we’ve had a lot of great support from leadership.”
–Michelle Milgrim, Employee Wellness Manager
It all starts with the ingredients. Over the past two years, we’ve worked to ensure that our chicken, turkey and beef burgers are 100 percent antibiotic free. Our fish is sustainably sourced and harvested and we work, as much as possible, with local farms across Long Island, NJ and the Hudson Valley to source local produce. Through Community Supported Agriculture, employees are given the opportunity to get local produce – freshly harvested that morning — delivered weekly to their offices.
With great ingredients, we need great chefs. Northwell Health has four Michelin Star chefs that are driving chef talent development including our new AVP, system food services Bruno Tison. Our new partnership with the Culinary Institute of America’s fellowship program is going to bring culinary students into our pipeline of talent.
Now that we have put wellness on our plates and in our kitchens, we’re focusing on wellness in other areas. For starters? We want employees to be eating well at home. So, we’ve invested in teaching kitchens and work in close collaboration with chefs and registered dietitian teams to create hands-on demonstrations that have become a popular, accessible tool for staff. And we’re supporting these initiatives by providing healthier options throughout our facilities, not just the patient and cafeteria menu. We’re updating our coffee shops, gift shops, and vending machines so that the default options at our facilities will be healthy ones.
Though these changes are already making an impact to our employees’ wellness, they’re not the only lifestyle initiatives that we’re putting in place to support the wellbeing of our people. We’re putting our best foot forward through on-site stairwell and fitness campaigns and corporate walking challenges like our Walk to Dublin contest. As we pursue promoting wellness for our bodies, we also seek wellness for our mental health. We offer opportunities for stress management at our sites through guided meditation and reiki, and simply giving our employees time to unwind. We’re also making our facilities mom-friendly. By August, all of our sites will be equipped with dedicated lactation rooms to make pumping at work more accessible and comfortable for mothers.
At Northwell, every role matters, every person matters and every healthy moment matters. We’re invested in our employees’ health, inside and out and we continuously strive toward making our facilities a more nutritious, fit-friendly and welcoming place to work.
Be part of this transformation. See where you fit in here.
Change is rarely a smooth transition. For Registered Nurse Eva Galan, the road back to civilian life was a challenge that she felt unprepared to attempt.
Eva had spent 10 years in the Army as a medic and was now seeking a civilian nursing position in the health care world. Though she had skills superior to fellow applicants, she found it hard to compete for local nursing jobs.
That is, until she found Northwell Health.
While attending a veteran-centric job fair at Northwell Health, she met a Veterans Program Specialist who showed her how our health care system has everything she desires to help her get the job she and her family needed for her career post-military.
Northwell Health offers job fairs, veteran recruitment events, and webinars to support each veteran’s transition. In addition to these events, our Barracks to Business webinars and workshops cover practical needs like resumes, interviews, and networking advice with the goal of translating your military skills into career success.
For many veterans, like Eva, the transition to a civilian career is a difficult one and our military services are designed to help veterans understand the job search process and create a strategy to pursue civilian employment while introducing you to vast career opportunities and benefits at Northwell Health.
“Northwell Health offers employment workshops for transitioning service members, partnering with the VA to provide female Veterans much needed women’s services, a dedicated job site that matches Northwell Health jobs with applicants military skills, and even being a leader in new prosthetic technology. I am so very grateful to finally feel like someone out there has my back.”
Top 5 Reasons to make the move to the Northwell Health’s Rehabilitation Team
You’ve chosen to pursue a career in one of the rehabilitation disciplines because you’re passionate about restoring the quality of life to those recovering from illness and injury. If you’re looking for the best place to grow your rehabilitation career, there are many reasons to join the rehabilitation team at Northwell Health. Here are the top five!
#1 – Made for Flexibility
With positions that cover the full continuum of rehabilitation care and opportunities throughout Long Island, the boroughs of New York and Westchester County, you’ll find a career that’s right for you. Northwell Health seeks professionals to join our team as physical and occupational therapists, speech-language therapists, rehabilitation aides, physical therapy assistants, clinical rehabilitation supervisors & directors, activities specialists and more in a variety of settings, including:
Hospital acute care
#2 – Always reaching higher
If you’re looking to take your rehabilitation career further, Northwell Health has what you’re looking for. Our rehabilitation services cover every specialty imaginable, including:
Inpatient/outpatient brain injury
Spinal cord injury
Women’s Health/Pelvic Floor
And much more!
In addition, Northwell Health features CARF-accredited rehabilitation facilities that ensure the highest standards of care.
#3 – Innovation in motion
We are always looking for smarter and better ways to restore quality of life. For example, Glen Cove Hospital is the only facility in New York and one of only seven in the country to offer the G-EO System ™. This Robotic Assisted Gait Trainer is the world’s most advanced robotic-assisted device for restoring ambulation. We also utilize:
Upper and lower extremity robots for stroke patients
Functional electric stimulation bikes for spinal cord injuries
Motion capture technology to assess athletic performance
And much more
#4 – Stretching your professional possibilities
Northwell Health offers a range of educational and professional development programs, including continuing clinical education, conference networking, physician rounding, clinical research opportunities and advanced training at the Center for Learning and Innovation. Northwell also provides individual mentoring in order to identify and develop outstanding clinicians.
#5 – Stronger together
Talk about your winning teams! Our teams systems-wide have been recognized as a leader in employee engagement with scores ranking over the 97th percentile nationally for four years in a row. With strong interdisciplinary collaboration, the rehabilitation professionals at Northwell Health are always better together.
Ready to take the next step? Learn more about job opportunities within our rehabilitation department here.
Didn’t find what you were looking for? Join our talent community and learn about future rehabilitation career opportunities here.
Going the extra mile: Why Northwell Health was just named one of the Best WorkplacesTM in Health Care and Biopharma
Fortune and Great Place to Work® have named Northwell Health as one of the Best Workplaces™ in Health Care and Biopharma! In the newly released nationwide survey of healthcare employees, Northwell Health, New York’s largest health system, ranked 13th nationally. But, what does this actually mean for a potential employee?
At Northwell Health, you’ll find a close-knit work family. Based on a strong sense of mission and camaraderie among our 66,000 employees, we ranked second in the Northeast! This sense of purpose extends from inside our system out to the community. We’re making an impact and of our surveyed employees, 90 percent feel good about the ways we contribute to the community. These numbers only reinforce our ongoing commitment to community outreach.
So let’s get into our numbers: 83 percent of Northwell Health’s 700 respondents say their workplace is great. But what makes this place so great? When someone sets out to work in health care, they’re joining an industry unlike any other. Eighty-eight percent of our surveyed employees found that their work here has special meaning, that this is not “just a job” and 86 percent feel that they make a difference here.
“There is purpose in everything we do and the results are often life-saving,” said Michael J. Dowling, president and CEO of Northwell Health. “That can be incredibly stressful at times. But it is always rewarding. Keep in mind that we are in the people business. We put our patients first, but to do that we need to take care of our employees and ensure a workplace that’s safe, life-affirming and team-oriented. Everyone at Northwell Health is connected by the common bond of service to our community.”
Along with this distinction as one of the Best Workplaces™ in Health Care and Biopharma, Northwell Health ranked No. 55 on Fortune’s annual Best Workplaces for Diversity list in December and was recently highlighted as a leader in LGBTQ healthcare equality by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Healthcare Equality Index 2018. We’re excited about all of these distinctions and they encourage us to keep making our health system a great place to work.
Learn about opportunities to join one of the Best Workplaces™ in Health Care and Biopharma.
It is the policy of Northwell Health to provide equal employment opportunity and treat all employees equally regardless of age, race, creed/religion, color, national origin, alienage or citizenship status, sexual orientation, military or veteran status, sex/gender, gender identity, gender expression, disability, generic information or genetic predisposition or carrier status, marital status, partnership status, victim of domestic violence, or other characteristics protected by applicable law. Northwell Health leaders, including the CEO, are committed to the principles of Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action.