Day in the life: A specimen and the laboratory professionals who help diagnose outcomes at Core Lab
When you get blood drawn, there are a number of professionals who interact with your specimen to get the results necessary for continuing your care. From the phlebotomist who draws your blood to the clinical laboratory scientist (CLS) who analyzes your result, clinical laboratory professionals are the backbone of helping doctors to diagnose illness.
Northwell’s new state-of-the-art Core Lab performs 20 million routine tests that Northwell performs annually within our laboratories and hospitals. Spanning 101,000 square-feet, it’s the largest health system-based lab in the region and the largest Roche chemistry and hematology line of its kind in North America.
We followed the route a specimen takes and met with the lab team members who play a vital role in the outcomes.
The Phlebotomist draws the specimen
Before any testing can occur, the specimen needs to be collected. Northwell’s phlebotomists meet with patients to draw their blood at the beginning of their care. “It’s the first step for everything medical,” says Bulah Martin, lead phlebotomist who has worked at Northwell for more than 10 years. Once the blood has been drawn, phlebotomists like Bulah let it clot before placing it in the centrifuge, scanning it in the system, and preparing it for transport. From there it’ll head to Core Lab for routine testing like abnormal cell screens and white blood cell counts.
The Transporter moves the specimen
After the blood is taken, the specimen has to travel from one of Northwell’s centers to our Core Lab. That’s where staff professionals who are transporters come in. Picking up the samples, they’re able to make sure that the specimens are delivered in a timely and safe manner. “It goes beyond driving and transporting specimens,” says Gavendra Kuarlall, route service representative, “we’re part of helping patients at the onset of their medical needs.”
Lab Accessioner processes the specimen
Now that the specimen has been delivered, it’s time for processing. Lab accessioners have the important job of entering the specimen’s information, verifying the information to ensure accuracy, and sorting it into the right department. “Making sure the samples are correct and accurate impacts the patient care,” says Claudia Coronado, a senior accessioner who has worked at Northwell for more than 11 years, “and we take pride in what we do.”
Once the specimen has been processed and sorted, runners get the specimens where they need to go. A runner at the Core Lab, however, won’t have much need to actually run. This state-of-the-art facility has two parallel automatic testing lines to efficiently transport specimens for the laboratory’s chemistry and hematology testing.
Clinical Laboratory Scientists analyze the specimen
Advanced robotics testing systems and automatic testing lines within departments like Hematology allow clinical laboratory scientists to focus on monitoring accuracy and quality. “I’ve always wanted to be in the medical field using my scientific knowledge,” says Kelly Kim, a technical specialist in Hematology, Coagulation and Analysis. “This field is perfect for putting both together.”
Blood Bank Technologists analyze the specimen
Certain testing may require interaction with a blood bank technologist, like Trisha Jaikaran, who tests the sample for blood type, blood screens, and antibody screens. At the Core Lab, they test mainly the OB-GYN patient population and work with the doctors and Client Services to deliver patients their results.
“Being part of the Core Lab, you have the opportunity to learn about the other side of patient care,” says Trisha who has worked at Northwell for nearly three years, “The knowledge you gain from the more experienced technologists is great. There’s a lot of theoretical work beyond just the automated tests – you’re learning something new every day. It keeps you on your toes.”
Lab Client Services team provides specimen testing updates
When the specimen is done with testing, it’s time for the patients to get their results. That’s where Client Services come in. This team acts as a liaison between the clinical laboratory and the doctors. Handling around 2,000 inbound calls a day, Client Services helps doctors who are looking for results, status updates, pick-ups, or additional information. Suzana Mathew, an educator who has worked in Client Services for six years, likens it to being a detective, “There can be a lot of mystery solving to get the right answers for the doctors. I enjoy the technical side where I can help doctors understand their results, track down the answers they need and assist with next steps.”
As an educator, Suzana works with new employees through their six months of training and offers support beyond that period. “Working in Client Services is a great place to start because as you grow, you learn about every part of the lab. It trains you to be a well-rounded professional.”
While getting blood results may seem simple, there are a lot of clinical laboratory team members working behind the scenes to ensure results are delivered accurately, timely, and safely. From sample to results, our laboratory professionals work together to deliver the best patient care possible.
Day in the life: Lab Technologist at Southside Hospital
Working as a laboratory technologist at Southside Hospital for 40 years, Emilie Moyse considers herself part of the evolution of lab. Emilie, or as her coworkers affectionately call her, Emmy, works 8am-4pm at Southside every Monday through Friday where her expertise and positive attitude have made her a staple to the clinical laboratory team.
To keep their skills sharp, Southside’s lab technologists rotate through the different departments on a weekly basis. This week, Emmy is working in Hematology where she’ll analyze blood samples and deliver lab results that will help doctors determine patient care. We followed her to see a day in a life as a Medical Laboratory Technologist (MLT) also known as a Clinical Laboratory Scientist (CLS) at Southside Hospital.
Arriving to the lab, Emmy likes to start each day by greeting each of her coworkers to set the mood for a good day. After putting on her lab coat, Emmy’s ready for the morning rounds.
Morning rounds for our doctors mean morning rounds for our lab! Specimens come in and are received by lab processors like Michelle Zambrano. Michelle processes and distributes the specimens from the floor and operating room to the laboratory technologists in different departments, such as Emmy in Hematology.
Differential slide means Emmy uses the microscope to identify white and red blood cell counts to help doctors deliver the right diagnoses to patients. “I love working in Hematology and learning more and more. It’s very manual and detail-oriented. I get excited to come to work and help the patients. I get to make sure the patients aren’t waiting for the results they need.”
Emmy relies on coworkers like fellow MLT, Geolina Turkonje, as much as she supports them. “Working together, we can accomplish a lot and I care for all of my coworkers like a big family. Southside has become my second home. I would encourage anyone to come here.” Emmy’s worked alongside Geolina for eight years – a friendship that’s helped the days pass quickly.
With the lab inside the hospital, it means that sometimes results are needed quickly. When a patient’s specimen comes in labeled “special handling” or “stat” the laboratory technologists know that they need to analyze the samples as quickly as possible. Doctors wait for critical lab results so that they can treat the patients. “Patients cannot wait,” says Emmy.
Luckily, Southside Hospital has a lot of innovative technology to help lab technologists get the quick results they need. “The most amazing thing here are our analyzers,” says Emmy, “I’m very proud and fortunate to see all the changes in technology we have. It’s good for the laboratory and patients – and it’s good for us too. We’re faster and more accurate. What used to take us a half hour now takes us five or ten minutes.”
Given her extensive experience, Emmy also spends a lot of time training within the lab. Here she oversees a new lab technologist, Stefani Gomez, as she prepares blood samples on slides. “Working here is a great opportunity,” says Emmy, “You have so much to learn and there are technologists who have been here a long time and are willing to help you.”
In between analyzing specimens, Emmy stops to pick up a ringing phone. “When everyone is so busy, you have to help each other out,” she explains. “Answering the phone when a clerk is busy not only helps them, but it’s important. The calls could be impacting patient care.”
“I’ve been here a long time and have seen a lot of change for the better,” says Emmy. “I feel very privileged to be here and be part of that evolution. Our leadership has made a big difference in the lab.” Leadership like Laurie Birnbaum, admin director of the Clinical Laboratory at Southside Hospital who Emmy stops to review metrics with before heading out for the day. “If you have a problem, you can tell Laurie and she will always help you. She’s always looking out for her employees and for the lab. She’s very considerate, caring and loving. We’re very lucky to have her as our director here.”
Join Emmy and the whole Clinical Laboratory team at Southside Hospital. Apply today!
This post is part of a blog series highlighting Northwell Health’s Advanced Clinical Providers (ACP). Each Northwell Health employee was nominated by their manager as an individual who exemplifies a central Northwell Health value. This month, we’re proud to introduce you to Jennifer Meagle, Supervising Physician Assistant in the Department of Surgery/Surgical Critical Care/Otolaryngology at North Shore University Hospital (NSUH), who is a “Truly Ambitious” member of our team. Read below to learn why and explore ACP job opportunities at Northwell Health here:
Jennifer Megale, dog lover, athlete, and world traveler, loves an adventure. When she’s not addressing critical care needs as PA Supervisor at NSUH, she spends her time with her Rhodesian Ridgeback Penny, scuba diving and snowboarding all over the world.
Her adventure in health care began in 2011, following her college graduation and the start of her career as a per diem Surgery PA and soon full-time at NSUH where she worked for several years.
Jennifer returned to Northwell as Surgery PA Supervisor in 2018 and says it’s where her heart belongs. “What I have always loved about NSUH is the sense of family. Even though we are a large hospital everyone has always been so welcoming and transparent, including administration. You don’t see this very often at other large health systems. The organization is always looking for ways to help their employees grow and succeed,” says Jennifer.
As a Surgery PA Supervisor, she has been responsible for building a new total parenteral nutrition service, setting up a bioskills surgical course for PAs, and working on a robotics training course. Jennifer is continuously looking for ways to improve patient care, encouraging PAs to take on a more proactive role in their education and skills development. Jennifer says, “This past year, I arranged for a surgical physician assistant’s Bioskills lab, where PAs are learning to build on their operative and suturing skills. Making PAs more confident in their own ability truly helps them to adequately care and address all of the concerns of our patients.”
Surgical PAs at NSUH assist in minimally invasive robotic surgery. During robotic surgeries, PAs function as the bedside assist. Jennifer explains, “we are needed to change instruments, troubleshoot and use an assist port to help with the operation. Robotic surgery provides a number of benefits to the patient including less trauma to the body, minimal scarring, and faster recovery.”
Jennifer’s great adventure isn’t only in the OR. She’s an avid traveler with the intention of visiting every continent over the next five years, and with only three left to go, she’s almost reached her goal! She says, “I’m an intense snowboarder and I checked heliboarding off my bucket list two years ago at Whistler Mountain in Canada. To be dropped off at the top of a mountain by helicopter was exhilarating, to say the least!”
For Jennifer, providing Truly Ambitious care is her next great adventure. Are you Made for working with exceptional Advanced Clinical Providers like Jennifer? Explore your career opportunities at Northwell Health.
2019 Spark! Challenge Awards Ceremony. And the winners are…
Last week, more than 900 people including Northwell team members, faculty and 11th and 12th grade high school students from Long Island, Staten Island, Westchester and New York City gathered to participate in the 5th annual Spark! Challenge Awards Ceremony.
The Spark! Challenge offers high school students a unique opportunity to join one of the 74 participating Northwell departments for a day in the fall and learn hands-on about clinical and non-clinical healthcare careers from our team members. After the students’ Spark! visit, they were asked to design a poster that represents the career they learned about. This year students learned about careers such as:
Clinical Laboratory Specialist
Construction Project Manager
Hospital Executive Chef
Medical Simulation Tech
Patient Experience Director
Talent Sourcing Specialist
And so much more!
During the spring Awards Ceremony, students gave a two-minute presentation to Northwell’s senior executives and answered questions on one career they learned about during their site visit. Students were also able to test out their surgical skills with the da Vinci Xi Surgical System Robot, which is used in Northwell’s operating rooms for minimally invasive surgeries, play with therapy dogs and try their hand in a life-size Operation game.
After presentations, judges deliberated and more than $30,000 in prizes were awarded to the winners for student posters and presentations. We’re proud to announce that the winners of this year’s Spark! Challenge are….
Poster Awards (picked prior to the Awards Ceremony)
First Place: John F. Kennedy – Bellmore-Merrick- Glen Cove Hospital – Operating Room
Second Place: General Douglas MacArthur High School- Corporate Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO)
Third Place: Valley Stream Central High School- Orzac Center for Rehabilitation
Facebook Favorite Poster voted on by thousands of Northwell team members: Baldwin High School – LIJ Valley Stream – Operating Room
The need for students to pursue STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) careers is greater than ever and for good reason. Between 2000 and 2010, STEM-related jobs grew three times as fast as non-STEM jobs – a rate projected to increase.
You may be left wondering what STEM jobs you can pursue. STEM careers go beyond just being a doctor or an engineer – the opportunities are endless! So what are some of the major STEM careers you should be exploring?
Imaging technologists are Allied Health professionals that complete a two or four year program from accredited college. Graduates are licensed by the NYS Department Of Health or registered or certified in a sub-specialty area to perform diagnostic imaging examinations. Using the most advanced imaging equipment, imaging professionals are trained to produce high-quality images that enable the Radiologist (physician) to make a critical diagnosis. Without their expertise, care teams wouldn’t be able to diagnose and treat patients effectively.
You can enjoy the flexibility to choose additional specializations such as computed tomography (CT), ultrasound, nuclear medicine, mammography and more. And as an imaging professional, you’d have the ability to work in a variety of settings such as hospitals, diagnostic labs, and ambulatory centers.
Careers to consider:
Nuclear Medicine Technologist
Special Procedures Technologist
2. Certified Surgical Technologist
Surgical technologists have the important task of prepping patients for surgery and ensuring the operating room’s equipment has been sterilized and properly stocked with supplies. Your job as a surgical technologist doesn’t end there – you’d remain in the OR to assist surgeons throughout the surgery and then help to dress wounds. At Northwell, Registered Nurses and the Certified Surgical Technologist function as a subunit within a team, interacting through a unique, dynamic relationship—one sterile role and one nonsterile role, working in collaboration.
Job opportunities for surgical technologists are on the rise as the growth in population and technology leads to an increase in the frequency of surgical procedures. Completing a surgical technologist certification program usually takes around two years, allowing you the unique chance to quickly scrub into your first surgery after school.
Becoming a doctor or nurse isn’t the only option for science majors to join the healthcare industry! Research careers enable professionals to work in programs and partnerships that help study, test and improve clinical breakthroughs. Medical research also includes working on some of the most exciting technology to treat disease and injury, such as Bioelectronic Medicine (BEM). Not all research careers are clinical either – as a medical researcher you can work in engineering, statistics, and more.
Join together research and technology as part of a team working on cutting-edge discoveries in areas such as health outcomes research, translational science, behavioral science and more. As a member of the research team, you’d also have the ability to work on breakthroughs in major diseases from cancer to lupus to sepsis. Your work could help discover new treatments, therapies and technologies for patients to live a healthier life.
Careers to consider:
Associate Research Statistician
Post Doc Research Trainees
4. Telemetry Technicians
Telemetry technicians, also called monitoring technicians or electrocardiograph technicians (EKG or ECG), are important allied health professionals. These technicians use non-invasive electrocardiographic equipment to monitor patients’ heart rhythms and alert nurses and physicians to changes in the patient’s rate, rhythm and the occurrence of dysrhythmias while on the Telemetry Unit.
Working as a telemetry technician allows you to work within a hospital using advanced technology. There are also increasing opportunities for you to deliver compassionate care to patients within a hospital or ambulatory setting. And training programs prepare you for entering the healthcare industry in just a few months!
5. Clinical Laboratory Scientist
To become a clinical laboratory scientist you must obtain your bachelor’s degree from an accredited clinical laboratory science program, pass your ASCP national certification exam and then become licensed by New York State Education Department (NYSED) to practice. As a clinical laboratory scientist, you can work in exciting fields such as:
Fun fact, Northwell has two brand new, state-of-the-art labs. Our Core Lab/Automated Lab is the largest health system-based lab in the region with the largest Roche automated line of its kind in North America, and one of the largest in the world. Our new Microbiology Lab that has the largest Kiestra Micro automated line in the U.S!
18 ways LIJ Forest Hills Hospital is Made for this
Located in Queens, LIJ Forest Hills Hospital offers a unique place to work within Northwell Health. This fast-paced hospital is deeply connected with its community. With exciting growth in clinical and non-clinical areas and a passionate team serving our diverse community, there’s never been a better time to work there.
We talked to the close-knit team to hear why they love working at LIJ Forest Hills and what makes them Made for Northwell Health.
Find out what our LIJ Forest Hills team members are Made for:
Nurse Practitioner, Gastrointestinal
"I‘m Made for making a difference. It’s very rewarding to me to help someone and see the positive changes in their lives."
"I‘m Made for teamwork. Any department or any position that needs my assistance, I don’t mind going out and helping because we are a team here at Northwell."
Registered Nurse, Med/Surg and Hospice
"I‘m Made for laughs because I like to see my patients smile even when they’re in tough situations."
PCA, Emergency Department
"I‘m Made for smiling because I want to ensure that when the patient comes in, they’re always greeted with a smile. A smile goes a long way. It gives patients hope and comfort."
"I’m Made for helping people. I love for patients to be comfortable and to learn from me and the other staff on how to care for their new babies."
"I‘m Made for resiliency. Being in the operating room is an adventure every day. It’s a stressful place to be but at the same time, it‘s rewarding. You’re able to help the surgeon accomplish their mission.
Registered Nurse, Critical Care
"I’m Made for being a team player. I like to boost the morale of my coworkers and push them to the max of their capabilities."
Turnover Tech, OB
"I’m Made for helping people at Forest Hills Hospital."
Nurse Practitioner, Internal Medicine
"I‘m Made for patient centered care. Every patient is unique and if you don’t look at patients as individuals, you won’t be able to do the best job you can in treating the patient as a whole."
PCA, Med/Surg and Telemetry
"I‘m Made for helping. Helping is so much more than it sounds - it’s a skill. It’s seeing the big picture and filling in where needed.You have to know when to help, where to help, and how to help."
Registered Nurse, Emergency Department
"I’m Made for advocating for my patients. A lot of the patients we see in New York might not have family with them and need someone to advocate for them."
Registered Nurse, Labor and Delivery
"I‘m Made for preparing new moms. My job is to welcome mom into Labor and Delivery and explain to her all of the benefits of the care she’s going to receive while she’s in her labor process."
Registered Nurse, ICU
"I’m Made for communication. Communication is one of the most important aspects of working at a hospital.
"I‘m Made for staff development. Staff development is important to me because it’s essential for every nurse to do what they’re best at and what they love the most. I get to know all of my nurses and find out what their goals are because I love that collaboration in getting them to where they want and need to go."
Ludney Jean Baptiste
"I’m Made for happiness. Whenever I enter a room, I make sure the patient has a smile on their face."
Registered Nurse, ICU
"I‘m Made for compassion. My compassion makes me able to put myself in the shoes of my patients and their family’s. This truly lets me provide the best care I can."
Assistant Nurse Manager, Cardiac
"I’m Made for teamwork. I want to ensure all my staff work as a team in taking care of patients to give the best quality care."
"I‘m Made for love and respect. I love people and respect people’s opinions and that is what LIJ Forest Hills Hospital is all about."
The Spark! Challenge: Educating high school students for future healthcare careers
The 5th annual Spark! Challenge was larger than ever with 74 Northwell teams, and 900 students participating throughout the year! Students from high schools across Long Island, Staten Island, Westchester and New York City were able to directly experience and explore the wide variety of careers available in healthcare. By connecting students, educators, and Northwell Health professionals, the Spark! Challenge is helping to reach, engage and inspire students to consider some traditional and non-traditional healthcare careers.
We talked to Northwell team members who hosted students at their sites, as well as the teachers of the visiting schools to hear how the Spark! Challenge makes an impact on our students.
Staten Island University Hospital (SIUH) – North Campus
At Staten Island University Hospital’s (SIUH) North Campus, students from St. Joseph Hill Academy participated in a mock trauma with life-like mannequins. After exciting tours of the OR and ICU, students also had the opportunity to meet and talk with the surgical team.
Jennifer Pla, St. Joseph Hill Academy teacher, was impressed by the engagement the students had with the doctors and nurses, “It gave students insight into the ongoing education that is necessary for healthcare practitioners to keep their skills sharp and improve patient care. The hands-on activities in the simulation lab allowed students to learn firsthand how difficult and technical these life-saving skills are to perform correctly.”
“The mock trauma scenario provides the ED staff with necessary simulation drills and the students love the realness of the mannequin,” says Anne Marie McDonough, senior director of Rehab Services at SIUH, “Students had an in-depth opportunity to talk with the trauma surgery staff, and they asked some fabulous questions!”
Students from Mepham High School partnered with local EMS services for a demonstration of a distracted driver with an overturned vehicle. With help from the EMS team and Syosset staff, students extracted “patients” in a hands-on scenario, then toured the emergency department and ambulance.
“We had an amazing experience that started with a simulated car accident. The fire department actually cut a ‘driver’ out of the car and followed him through the emergency department,” says Peter Steckle, Mepham High School teacher. “Students got a chance to interact with doctors and healthcare professionals to perform tasks like casting and a laparoscopic procedure. It was an experience they will never forget.”
Debra Clifford, BSN, RN, MHA, director of Patient Care Services has participated in the Spark! Challenge at Syosset Hospital for the past three years, “The Spark! Challenge provides students an opportunity through hands-on simulation to learn about careers in healthcare and has opened pathways for students to volunteer with healthcare professionals, and pursue fields that they may not have previously considered.”
Plainview Hospital’s Spark! Challenge visit gave Bellmore-Merrick CHSD students an interactive experience in the Food & Nutrition Department. From culinary arts and menu design to clinical nutrition and planning, students received an introduction to the culinary world in healthcare before ending the day with a cooking competition.
“Nothing ever becomes real until it is experienced,” says Michael DiGiovanni, CTE teacher and chef instructor at the Culinary Hospitality Applied Management Program (CHAMP) at Bellmore-Merrick CHSD, “The lessons that our students learned from the chef, cooks, and nutritionists at Northwell made their knowledge of culinary arts real and enticing. The Spark! Challenge experience demonstrated the enjoyment and sensibility of this ever-growing industry.”
Eric Sieden, director of Nutrition and Food Services at Glen Cove, Plainview and Syosset Hospitals agreed, “Our Food & Nutrition team was so excited to be able to host and share their experiences with the culinary students. Through their interactions with the cooking staff, students were able to see how Northwell is providing nutritious-restaurant quality meals to a population that deserves and appreciates it. When I was their age, the Spark! Challenge is something I would have loved and definitely benefited from.”
North Shore University Hospital
At North Shore University Hospital, students from Baldwin High School learned about all of the different career opportunities that exist within nutrition and culinary. Team members led them in a tour of the department before challenging them to cook a healthy meal.
Donna Prager, the Family and Consumer Science teacher at Baldwin High School says, “The Spark! Challenge provides an amazing opportunity to gain hands-on experience in a hospital atmosphere. Students have benefited from interacting with professionals in the culinary and nutrition fields and has helped many students solidify their anticipated career path.”
“The Spark! Challenge is always a great day for our team and the students. We all look forward each year to see the future of healthcare in these passionate students. They get so invested in the cook-off that we host each year,” says Michael Kiley, director of Nutrition and Dining Services at North Shore University Hospital, “It is so gratifying to hear a student determine their career by this program, and we have been fortunate enough to have students tell us that because of the Spark! program they made the decision to go to culinary school. What more can you ask for?”
Hear from our students on why they love the Spark! Challenge:
“The Spark! Challenge allowed me to see how medicine is progressing as new technologies are created. I now know that there are various fields throughout the medical profession which are necessary to be able to take care of patients including medical simulation technicians.”
Cayla CruzSt Joseph Hill Academy Student
“The Spark! Challenge was an eye opening experience that allowed me to expand my knowledge of the different aspects of the culinary field that I wish to pursue.”
Timothy SimsBaldwin High School Student
“The Spark! Challenge has taught me valuable lessons about not only the medical field but also teamwork. Every department comes together like a puzzle in order to create a perfect picture of healthcare. Without teams such as the sterilization unit, the scrub nurse would not be able to provide the proper instruments, which ultimately affects the surgeon. With this information, I do not only feel more prepared for the medical field, but also I am more eager to become a part of such an exciting and successful career.”
Megan PoserTottenville High School Student
“The Spark! Challenge at Staten Island University Hospital offered great exposure to students like myself who were not familiar with the field of medical simulation technology. My eyes have been opened to a new facet of medicine I would not have been introduced to otherwise and a new appreciation for professionals in this field.”
Hanna JonathanSt. Joseph Hill Academy Student
“My overall experience with Spark! has immensely impacted my future and specifically influenced my future career decision in surgery. Watching the entire OR staff contributing to the health of the patients made me realize that in the future, I would like to use my individual skills such as leadership and multitasking to contribute into saving my patients life”
Veronica RzeszutkoTottenville High School Students
“Scrubbing in and seeing a surgery was definitely a highlight of all the trips I have been to throughout the med tech program. This reinforced my motivation to be a member of the medical field and even caused me to consider a career as a CRNA. Also, touring the different departments was a great insight on how medical professionals work daily and utilize different technology. All in all I felt very privileged to be part of such a great opportunity.”
Sarah QuraishiTottenville High School Student
“Spending the day at Staten Island University Hospital was truly a great experience! From seeing the residents in action during their trauma rounds to intubating simulated patients, overall I enjoyed gaining knowledge and learning about the various specialties of the hospital.”
Gabrielle Garcia St. Joseph Hill Academy Student
“During the tour and workshop at the hospital, we were able to observe surgeries and shadow a variety of workers in the medical field and pay close attention to the responsibilities of different professions. This left a huge impact on me personally since it showed me that there’s more to the medical field than just being a doctor. There are vital roles in the medical field that most people don’t hear about and this challenge led me to discover such roles and research them. This helps me better understand the choices I make in my future in the medical field.”
Barthina GebrilTottenville High School Student
“I am extremely grateful to have been able to participate in the Spark! Challenge at Staten Island University Hospital. I was able to observe a trauma simulation conducted by the trauma team, as well as hear about different medical careers. I also got to work in the stimulation lab and practice intubating a patient, drilling for a vein, and putting a tourniquet on a patient.”
Chase CohenSt. Joseph Hill Academy Student
“I am very thankful for and enjoyed the experiences I have gained and the connections that I have made through the Spark! Challenge that I never would have made otherwise.”
Justin Brafman Baldwin High School Student
“My visit to Staten Island University Hospital was truly an eye-opening experience. Gaining insight from the different hospital perspectives, such as Simulation Technicians and Surgeons, broadened my knowledge about the many parts involved in running a medical center.”
Conducting more than 550,000 visits each year across Long Island, Queens, Manhattan, and Staten Island, our home care nurses at Northwell Health At Home are committed to bringing outstanding, innovative and award-winning care Northwell is known for right to the patient’s home. A commitment that has led our home care services to be recognized among the top 500 providers nationwide three years in a row by Homecare Elite and earning the Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval for Heart Failure Certification – one of only a handful of organizations in New York State to achieve this distinction.
Serving as the link between patients with their physicians to ensure continuity of care, home care registered nurses help patients in the comfort of their own homes. Traveling to see their patients helps build a close bond between the nurse and patient while awarding greater flexibility and autonomy outside of the hospital setting.
Meet two of our team members and hear why they love being home care nurses at Northwell Health At Home.
What do you love about being a home care registered nurse?
Working as a Home Care nurse has given me the opportunity to see “behind the scenes” in my patient’s life. Many times, there are challenges at home that contribute toward a patient’s illness and access to healthcare, such as lack of transportation or the inability to read small print on medication bottles. Working in home care gives me the ability to prioritize my patients’ needs and provides flexibility in my day.
Why is the work of home care nurses so important?
As a home care nurse for Northwell Health at Home, I have the opportunity to help my patients transition easier from hospital to home. Many patients have been away from home for weeks, sometimes months, and they are overwhelmed when they arrive home. Often, they have new medications or changes they don’t understand, wounds that have not healed and different types of equipment that are required. Returning home doesn’t always mean their skilled needs have ended. Patients and their families require support and education. I can help the patient prevent another hospitalization and have the best possible outcome.
What advice do you have for people looking to become home care nurses?
When considering a career in home care, you must have flexibility as well as good communication and organizational skills. The home care nurse is responsible with coordinating all services the patient requires at home including physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, home health aide services and social work in conjunction with the patient’s physician. Timely follow up when changes are made in the patient’s plan of care, treatment or medications is crucial. The nurse is responsible for coordination with the multidisciplinary team on a regular basis to best meet the patient needs.
What do you love about being a home care registered nurse?
I’ve worked in a lot of different areas of nursing and for me, I feel that home care gives me the opportunity to really build a relationship with my patient and their families. It encompasses the whole picture which allows us as nurses to treat and help our patient heal better.
Why is the work of home care nurses so important?
Patients heal better at home. Home care nurses provide the proper one-on-one education, therapy, and overall care to help patients remain home and more independent.
What advice do you have for people looking to become home care nurses?
The beauty of nursing are the opportunities we are able to have in caring for patients, whether in a hospital or at home. Home care nursing is more than just medicine and diagnoses, it’s helping the patient live their best life in the place they feel the safest – home. If you enjoy a more personal relationship with your patients, it’s a great avenue.
An Appointment With: Karen Gleason, Vice President, Cancer Service Line
Nurse. Nursing Director. Assistant Vice President. These are all titles that Karen Gleason, RN, BSN, OCN has held since starting her career at Northwell Health. Today, Karen is the vice president of the Cancer Service Line. Each step in her career has helped her develop a broader perspective of nursing and healthcare administration and has also inspired Karen to receive her oncology certification from the National Oncology Society, as well as a certification in patient experience.
Karen’s drive for continuing her education and development is one that is reflected in how she leads and encourages the oncology team to further their own professional development. In fact, the Monter Cancer Center received the 2019 Employer Recognition Award from the Oncology Nursing Society thanks to Monter’s initiatives that support professional development and provide educational opportunities for its oncology nurses.
We sat down to talk to Karen about growth in oncology care and career options at Northwell’s Cancer Institute.
How has oncology care grown and how is it continuing to grow at Northwell Health?
Over the past several years there has been a significant shift in oncology care driven by more targeted diagnostic techniques and development of new immunotherapies and supportive care drugs. Northwell Health has always had a very strong commitment to the care of oncology patients and has continued to support the growth of the program by building state-of-the-art treatment centers in our communities. In 2016, the Imbert Cancer Center opened in Bayshore, Long Island and brought multidisciplinary physician practice, radiation medicine, medical oncology and imaging under one roof. In 2017, the Cancer Center at Phelps Hospital opened bringing state-of-the-art services to the community. In 2018, Dr. Richard Barakat joined as the physician-in-chief and director of the Cancer Institute, as well as senior vice president of Northwell’s Cancer Service Line.
What innovative procedures or technologies are being used by our oncology team?
The health system continues to be at the forefront of new diagnostic techniques, treatments and services. There is continuous use of new state-of-the-art oral and infusion drug therapies and we continue to develop our clinical research programs to bring available, cutting-edge clinical trials to our patients. We have established a transformative relationship with Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory to speed the development of new cancer therapies.
We have new and exciting programs for 2019 that include a pancreatic cancer program where Northwell is collaborating to develop pancreatic cancer organoid models from patient tumors. Organoids allow scientists to examine a patient’s tumor outside the body and identify drugs that are effective in the treatment of cancer.
Can you talk about the new Center for Pregnancy and Cancer?
The Center for Pregnancy and Cancer is a specialty program that focuses on the treatment of cancer during pregnancy. Approximately 1 in 1,000 pregnant women are diagnosed with cancer while pregnant in the U.S. each year. That’s why we’ve created a program that includes highly specialized experts in the fields of maternal fetal medicine, gynecologic oncology, hematology/medical oncology, neonatology, and reproductive endocrinology. Each specialist brings their own perspective and experience to help create a truly individualized treatment plan for both mother and baby. A dedicated nurse navigator seamlessly guides patients through their treatment plan.
What types of jobs are available in oncology?
The care and treatment of cancer patients take the efforts of a dedicated, diverse and focused team comprised of various roles
Career opportunities within the Cancer Service Line include:
Nurse navigator — their clinical expertise and training guides patients and their caregivers, and ensures they are scheduled timely and appropriately with the best clinical care team for their disease
Practice nurses – partner with the patient throughout their treatment and serve as an ongoing source of support and education and are available to answer any ongoing questions.
Infusion nurses – administer, monitor, and educate our patients in complex chemotherapy and immunotherapy treatments.
Research nurses — coordinate, evaluate and follow a patient’s participation in clinical trials.
Advanced care practitioners — who create individualized plans of care and guide cancer patients throughout the cancer journey from diagnosis to treatment and into survivorship.
Administrative professionals — drive the operations and program development in the Cancer Service Line.
Financial staff — assist patients through the complex insurance and reimbursement processes.
The team also includes social workers, nutritionists and genetic counselors, as well as highly specialized and skilled oncology pharmacists and laboratory professionals.
What is your best piece of career advice?
Embrace every challenge as an opportunity.
We ensure that the oncology patient and their family receive a dedicated team that provides intense care, guidance, patience, empathy and clear explanations and management of expectations throughout their journey. A career in oncology can be demanding but it is incredibly rewarding work. You can really make a difference in the life of patients who are undergoing one of the most challenging circumstances a person can face in their lifetime. Our team has an overwhelming sense of pride in everything we do. At Northwell we incorporate the voices of our team members into our decisions which helps cement our culture and make Northwell an engaging and rewarding place to work.
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.