As the daughter of a nurse, patient care manager Maureen Munson, RN, CEN heard nursing stories around her family dinner table. But it wasn’t until she started her career in 2001 at Phelps Hospital as a health unit clerk that she knew she wanted to become a nurse herself.
During nursing school, Maureen continued to work at Phelps Hospital as a monitor tech on the Telemetry floor and after graduation, she transitioned into a registered nurse position on the same unit. But her heart was always set on working in the emergency department. “When I was 18, I joined the fire department and also volunteered as an EMT. I have always loved the rapid cycle of emergency care. You figure out what is going on and then pass the started puzzle off the next person,” said Maureen. “In my life, I like schedules and routine, but not at work. The ED forces you out of routine and makes you use critical thinking throughout your entire shift.”
So, when Maureen heard of a fellowship position at Northern Westchester Hospital, she jumped at the opportunity! “I believe fellowships are a great way to enter emergency nursing. It was a scary transition leaving a hospital that I knew so well and diving into a whole new environment.” Maureen quickly learned she had nothing to worry about when she received the Up and Coming Nurse Award for 2012!
Maureen completed the fellowship at Northern Westchester Hospital and later went on to become certified in emergency nursing. She started looking for a bigger leadership opportunity, eventually taking a position as an assistant nurse manager in the Short Stay Pediatric Unit which evolved into a manager role. “What I love most about working at Northern Westchester Hospital is the people. I am fortunate to work alongside smart, talented and personable individuals,” Maureen said. “It is the culture here to push people to their potential and then set their sights higher. This has been done for me so many times, and I find ways to do the same with my staff.”
Despite enjoying her new opportunity, Maureen missed the ED. So, when an ED manager position became available, she mulled over her decision and with the support of her director, applied. Her hard work was recognized and she took the position in 2016. It’s the same role she has today!
Over her tenure, Maureen has seen the ED through both ups and downs. With a collaborative team, she has designed and successfully relocated the entire ED for two shutdowns, getting patients seen and treated in an alternate location in the hospital. She’s also learned that “honesty and transparency carry a lot of weight in this role. I have gained the respect of others by showing them support and respect.”
And that support and respect are felt in her department. Her ED reached Tier 1 for staff engagement after she collaborated with nurses, techs, and her leadership team on an action plan to improve employee engagement. She’s also helped to facilitate a workgroup that has changed the way the Emergency Department reports on admitted patients and improve communication between other floors and the ED.
“It takes a special person to be an ED nurse,” Maureen said. “It’s not about being able to stomach it, it’s about being able to prioritize care, recognizing small changes early, talking with patients and families when they are at their worst, and it’s supporting your co-workers. An ED is a team, a second family.” Do you have a passion for caring for and protecting our patients and communities?
Join Maureen’s family in the Emergency Department at Northern Westchester!