2019 President’s Award Finalist: Leader of the Year
Each year, Northwell’s President’s Awards recognize team members who not only surpass our expectations and standards of excellence, but also those who drive innovative business outcomes.
The Leader of the Year award recognizes an individual who is made for Northwell Health because Northwell was not made for just anyone. It’s their spark and instinct to care that changes lives. This leader always acts with intent, with heart and with passion. They communicate openly while providing empathy and support, gains and shares expertise with others, acts honestly, professionally, and consistently achieves high-level results. Meet this year’s finalists.
Mary Brennan, RN
Associate Director, Nursing Education, North Shore University Hospital
Mary Brennan’s dedication to improving the lives of patients inspires colleagues and many well beyond Northwell. She is a worldwide thought leader on wound and ostomy care, improving on the prevention and treatment of skin wounds, and teaching others how to help patients and their families avoid suffering.
Her work combating pressure wounds has led to the naming of a medical condition in her honor . Working with Nurse Manager Kathy Trombley, the pair identified the differences between pressure injuries and terminal tissue injury. This research has yielded a tool that assists nurses in identifying patients who are in the last hours of life, which allows team members to empathetically communicate with family members.
A Wound Care Symposium first proposed by Mary has turned into an interdisciplinary two-day conference at Hofstra University that attracts both physicians and nurses. Her leadership includes publishing papers on wound care, as well as building and overseeing a North Shore University Hospital team of more than 100 skin care champions. Her creative strategies have contributed to the success of this program, keeping others engaged and involved in identifying best practices to reduce incidents of pressure injuries. Thanks to her efforts, hundreds of team members at Northwell and thousands of others around the world know how to prevent and treat thiscomplex clinical problem.
Ryan J. Guda, RN
Nurse Manager, Dialysis Services, Ambulatory
Building on his array of experiences in different fields, Ryan Guda has rebuilt a workplace that adapts to change and established a culture of respect with dramatic effects on the quality of care.
Shortly after joining Northwell in 2015, Ryan met with each team member to hear their opinions about their work environment. By listening and acknowledging his team’s feelings, he was able to re-direct negative behavior in a nonjudgmental manner and win their trust. Even his adept computer skills helped during a transition to electronic record-keeping.
Ryan quickly became an agent of change that has improved the work environment and directly affected the quality of services delivered to patients living with end-stage renal failure. He was successful in turning the team members’ fear of change into hope.
Marcia Hall, RN
Director, Patient Services, Northwell Health At Home
Marcia Hall is known for her enthusiastic, even disposition and willingness to step up to assist team members. She has a talent for connecting with patients and staff alike. As a leader in a busy business unit, Marcia sees her role as the person who supports, teaches and always tries to lighten the load of those in the office and out in the field. By making herself available to patients and team members alike, she is able to allay concerns and offer encouragement to those who need it.
Marcia was an early adopter of “Leader Rounds,” an innovative approach more difficult to accomplish with patients in the community, and advises supervisors to take time each day to assess what they are seeing in patient care, to spot trends or potential problems.
As a leader determined to spread positivity, Marcia looks to motivate people to be their best, whatever the challenge. She stands by team members who might feel overwhelmed by the responsibilities of caring for patients in the field. Reducing unnecessary hospitalizations is a key part of the Health At Home program and requires attention to detail. Above all, she demonstrates a strong ability to connect with patients and their families, a calming force to those facing a difficult situation.
Robert Kerner Jr., JD, EdD, RN, EMT-P, CHSE
Assistant Vice President, Patient Safety Institute, Assistant Professor, Hofstra Northwell School of Graduate Nursing and Physician Assistant Studies
Dr. Robert Kerner engages his team through reflective questions, allowing team members to self-direct on projects and listening to them in a style that makes everyone feel that they’re a valuable part of the team. He demonstrates concern for his colleagues, both personally and professionally, strengthening their connection to their profession and their colleagues. Dr. Kerner is committed to educational and clinical innovation and regularly puts forth new methods to meet the needs of our customers.
His ability to bring innovation in education from PSI to the units has been instrumental in allowing team members from Northwell to benefit from these efforts. Dr. Kerner has and continues to nurture relationships with both new and seasoned customers, as well as serve outside communities. Leaders from across Northwell reach out to Dr. Kerner to assist with projects that will enhance communication, situational awareness and competency skill sets in a variety of venues.
Senior Administrative Director, Hospice and Palliative Care, University Hospice, Staten Island University Hospital
Compassion and a set of values that includes connectedness, awareness, respect and empathy guide the work of Paula McAvoy. She is 100 percent committed to caring for those facing the end of their lives. She ensures that her team members feel valued and engaged as they apply those beliefs to their patients and each other. Paula believes in an open-door policy to make sure open lines of communication are maintained.
Despite her heavy workload, she sets an example for colleagues with her commitment to professional development. She leads a session “Building High Performance Teams” as part of Northwell’s Leadership Essentials program.
In nearly 30 years at Staten Island University Hospital, she has excelled in any number of roles, where she began as an on-call hospice nurse, and has become a recognized expert in the field of end-of-life care.
Nina Ng, RN
Assistant Director, Nursing, Syosset Hospital
A deeply held concern for the suffering of refugees, victims of war and poverty has stirred Nina Ng to travel the world to deliver compassionate care to those in need. Nursing was the career she chose and for the first few years, she focused on learning all she could to develop her career. Then a trip to Haiti to care for orphans after a hurricane refocused her priorities and has nurtured a desire to take a leadership role in health care by helping the underserved, underprivileged, abused and forgotten people of war-torn and destroyed countries. After several trips abroad, including into a war zone, Nina has a desire to continue to expand her influence locally, regionally and globally, and continues to find new ways she can positively affect the lives of others.
Nina’s desire to lead isn’t limited to the world stage. She insists on accountability and recently published an article in the Journal for Emergency Nursing about workplace bullying.
Nina also has taken the initiative to reduce pressure wounds in patients with enhanced collaboration between the Emergency and Inpatient departments.
Northwell and Syosset Hospital benefit from Nina’s leadership and compassion, and her actions represent a total commitment to our values.
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