In her career, Irene Macyk, PhD, RN, NEA-BC has always aspired to do more, “when I get comfortable in a role, I feel compelled to change it. Although there was no premeditation to lead, I was always the person to raise my hand to try something new.”
This drive to take on new challenges has led to Irene’s impressive 10-year career at Northwell. Irene started as a director of nursing education at Cohen Children’s Medical Center (CCMC), and has held various leadership positions throughout the health system. The energy and enthusiasm that she experienced in that first interview at CCMC inspired her desire to be part of the Northwell team. Today, Irene is the chief nursing officer and associate executive director for patient care services at Lenox Hill Hospital (LHH), Manhattan Eye, Ear and Throat (MEETH), and Lenox Hill Greenwich Village (LHGV). Read more from our CNO Corner interview with Irene.
In what areas are Lenox Hill Hospital, MEETH and Lenox Hill Greenwich Village experiencing the most growth in nursing?
Nursing at LHH, MEETH and LHGV are experiencing growth is so many ways. Looking at quality, safety, patient experience and nurse engagement, we are in the top half of the nation for the past two years. Our professional footprint is strong with BSN rates at 93% and RN professional certification rates at greater than 40%.
Could you talk to the exciting things happening in your surgical services departments?
Over the past few years our surgical services have grown and received national recognition for excellence. We have a very active cardiothoracic program, a comprehensive neuro surgical service and a mature and well-respected orthopedic presence. Additionally our general surgery and GYN programs are continuing to innovate and challenge the status quo by implementing our enhanced recovery after surgery (ERAS) protocols.
What are some key nursing initiatives in 2019 at your hospitals?
Key nursing initiatives in 2019 for LHH, MEETH and LHGV all involve continuing our evolution as a culture of excellence. In its third year, our shared governance model continues to mature and nurses are the key decision maker in how nursing practice is conducted. We have nursing quality, evidence based practice and research, education, recruitment and retention and an advance practice council. In these councils, clinical RNs and leaders work together to create a healthy, professional work environment and drive the professional image of nursing. In 2018 alone, we had over 28 evidenced based, process-improvement projects that were completed and are in different stages of dissemination. With the desire to celebrate nursing accomplishments, we put in our application for ANCCs Magnet® recognition, and this year we are gathering the sources of evidence and documenting the stories to showcase.
How can nurses take advantage of growth and professional development opportunities at LHH, MEETH and LHGV?
As members of Northwell Health, we have an entire community of support for professional development. Clinical RNs can take advantage of guidance from clinical experts in the nursing education department at LHH, or seek professional development for the various programs offered at Northwell’s Institute for Nursing (IFN) and Center for Learning and Innovation (CLI). Nurses can also become a mentor or mentee in our mentorship program or take advantage of the generous tuition reimbursement by continuing their education at a master’s degree level.
What is the most important quality to have as a nurse?
Resilience. Nursing is hard work but we are privileged to work with people in a very vulnerable time in their lives. The ability to think critically, re-prioritize at a moment’s notice and stay calm under extreme pressure are key qualities of a nurse. In any given day we laugh, we cry, are a sounding board for the frustrated and a shoulder for someone grieving. This privilege can deplete one’s empathy banks and challenge one’s spirit. Resilience is the ability to maintain one’s core purpose and integrity among unforeseen shocks and surprises, the ability to bounce back, to regain strength and come back strong.
What is the best advice you’ve learned over the course of your career?
“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” – Henry David Thoreau
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