If you had to describe members of the US military, the adjectives brave, selfless and strong probably come to mind. It’s no surprise that many who leave the service go on to equally as inspiring careers — including many who work in healthcare. This is certainly true of Leslie Rudin, a physical therapist at LIJ Valley Stream Hospital and proud US Navy veteran.
Stationed at the former Naval Air Station Miramar, widely known as the setting of the movie Top Gun, Leslie served as a plane captain, launching and landing fighter jets. Honorably discharged as a YN3 Petty Officer 3rd Class, she returned to New York and completed a bachelor’s degree at Queen’s College before launching a career in advertising.
During this time, Leslie also married and started a family. When her middle son was diagnosed with autism, she found herself drawn to pursue a new career in healthcare. Goal-oriented and never afraid to tackle a challenge, she obtained her doctorate degree in physical therapy before being hired at LIJ Valley Stream.
Leslie finds that many of the skills and habits she learned while in the military have served her well as a physical therapist.
“It started from making beds in the military,” says Leslie. “It stays with you. I’m very thorough and time-efficient. In fact, I still use military time.”
Leslie also finds that being a veteran enables her to connect in a unique way with the patients she helps every day – especially those who also have served in the armed forces. She believes that it fosters a level of trust and connection that helps her excel in her role.
“I learned respect and dignity in the military,” says Leslie. “This has carried over to how I treat patients.”
When not focusing on helping Northwell patients regain their strength, balance and mobility, Leslie continues to advocate for her son while enjoying quality time with family and friends.
Northwell Health is sponsoring Side by Side: A Celebration of Service™, a special, first-of-its-kind event honoring our veterans, active duty military and their families. This two-part event, taking place on May 25 in New York City, will feature exciting musical performances, exhibits and inspirational stories from true heroes. Learn more.