Aldony’s journey to leadership at Northwell and in the Military Reserves
Growing up, Aldony “Al” Fernandez always dreamed of serving our country and being a soldier.
“I had the mindset that one day I would join the military and become an officer to not only serve our country, but also help guide, lead, and mentor others,” says Al.
This goal of helping to protect our country came true after Al had already started his Northwell career journey. After joining the organization in 2015 as a talent acquisition (TA) specialist, Al joined the US Army National Guard in 2016.
Today, Al has become a leader in the Reserves, and at Northwell as well. Along with his promotion to manager for the ambulatory region in 2018, Al has recently been promoted to a Lieutenant in the Army.
“Northwell is the most military friendly company that I know of,” says Al. “I have felt nothing but support and respect through my time at Northwell. Everyone has been not only understanding of my need to balance my work life, Army life and personal life, but also proud and thankful of my service.”
When he began his Northwell career, Al had the drive to keep learning. As a TA specialist, he worked on a number of projects both inside and outside of his department, took classes at Northwell’s Center for Learning and Innovation (CLI), and read self-development books. Since his promotion, Al has continued his CLI training with the Leadership Essentials Sessions.
But it was while training to become a Lieutenant where he found invaluable lessons in leadership.
“As I was attending the Army Officer Candidate School to become a Lieutenant, I took many leadership, counseling, and tactics classes. This plus the intense training helped me understand the value of leading rather than just managing,” shares Al. “It has truly defined what the word ‘team’ really means and the great accomplishments that working together as a unit can allow us to achieve.”
Northwell’s continued support of Al’s military leave has enabled him to continue to thrive both in the office and in the Army.
And serving in the Reserves has only made Al happier in his position at Northwell: “It has been a tough road, but definitely rewarding – today I am proud to call myself a Lieutenant in the US Army National Guard. It’s made me prouder of our organization and who we are, and it has helped me become selfless and a better leader here at Northwell.”
Meet Truly Compassionate Physician Assistant in Orthopedic Surgery Jose Cruz
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 Northwell Health value.
This month, we’re proud to introduce you to the Truly Compassionate, Jose Cruz who is currently a physician assistant in Orthopedic Surgery at North Shore University Hospital (NSUH) in Manhasset, New York. Read below to learn more about Jose and what it’s like to be an ACP at Northwell.
Jose began working in Orthopedics at NSUH in 2015, after completing several surgical rotations as a PA student within the Northwell Health system. His career has been a journey inspired by his interest in exercise science and sports medicine. He was introduced to the profession by a professor who was his mentor and he became motivated to pursue PA studies by shadowing a family friend who was already an orthopedic PA.
“I always knew I wanted to work in a hospital setting, especially in a trauma center,” says Jose. “I knew that working at NSUH would provide me an opportunity to see a broad variety of patient issues, and that this would keep me on my toes and continuously learning.”
Jose credits his colleagues among the Northwell clinical team for making every day engaging and fun. He enjoys the innovation and diversity at Northwell, and working for this health system makes him feel part of the evolution of health care.
“I have grown a lot since I first started here. I feel I am constantly changing, growing and learning from interacting with patients. I would definitely recommend other PA’s considering a career in this geographic region to work for Northwell. It is not only a very strong and stable health system, but they’re also progressive.”
The reason that Jose has been recognized for his compassion is simple. As he says, “I treat all of my patients as if they were family. I have a lot of very positive patient experiences and memories.”
Northwell’s culinary tuition forgiveness program is the icing on the cake for Nicole’s career advancement
Northwell Health is now offering a tuition forgiveness program for aspiring chefs. Available to eligible new Northwell culinary team members, this new program offers up to $10,000 in student loan repayment for Culinary Arts degree graduates over a period of two years. Nicole Feliz, a chef at North Shore University Hospital, is the first to receive this exciting opportunity.
“It was very humbling to find out that I would be the first to receive tuition forgiveness as a culinary member at Northwell Health,” says Nicole, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America (CIA).
By introducing a tuition forgiveness program, Northwell aims to educate and attract innovative culinary students and recent graduates to culinary careers in healthcare. In addition to the forgiveness program, eligible employees can receive tuition reimbursement to further their education starting after one year of employment.
Nicole’s interest in cooking was sparked at a young age as she cooked with her mother and experienced how the power of food can bring people together. But it wasn’t until Nicole read an article in a newspaper featuring Chef Bruno Tison, VP of system food services and corporate chef at Northwell that she thought about following her culinary career dreams in a healthcare setting.
“Reading about him saying that his vision and duty was to put restaurant-quality food in the healthcare industry inspired me,” says Nicole. “I have always looked up to him and his culinary career, and I can’t think of another industry outside of healthcare that would be as self-gratifying for me to contribute to.”
With a new mission in mind, Nicole joined the Northwell culinary team as a second cook through FlexStaff, Northwell’s internal temporary staffing agency. Less than a year later, she was promoted to a full-time tournant chef at North Shore University Hospital. Now, through her work at Northwell, she can leverage her skills to provide nutritious food that brings people together, and helps them throughout their healing process.
“I love working at Northwell because everyone shares the same vision and is dedicated to the mission. My team and our collaboration makes the job seamless.”
Faces of Oncology Care: Northwell Health Cancer Institute Research Nurses
As one of the largest cancer programs in the New York metropolitan area, the Northwell Health Cancer Institute treats more New Yorkers for cancer than any other health care provider. With the trust of so many, our oncology team members work passionately to help patients thrive.
Unique partnerships such as with the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, help this goal as Northwell’s research nurses have the opportunity to work on innovative clinical trials that provide patients with the most promising treatments. And beyond just providing care, their compassion is changing the lives of our patients and their families.
Meet some of our inspiring research nurses below and hear what makes them passionate about oncology research.
Having worked at Northwell Health since 1987, Diane has been a registered nurse in various specialties including post-partum, nursery, medical/surgical, telemetry, and cardiovascular.
But Diane’s interest in clinical research was always in oncology research. “I lost my oldest sister to cancer when I was 12 years old. I witnessed firsthand the impact a cancer diagnosis can have on an entire family. The respect and dignity that was shown to my sister and our family still resonates within me to this day,” says Diane. “That is what inspired me to become a nurse and Northwell Health enabled me to fulfill my dream including earning my bachelor’s degree in 2016.”
This passion for oncology care has only strengthened since she’s become a research nurse “I love working in oncology because each day I have the opportunity to make a difference in someone’s life. I come to work knowing that inside this building we have the ability to change lives forever through clinical research. Clinical research is important because it works to find better ways to prevent, detect, or treat cancer and learn new approaches to therapy.”
Beyond just the clinical trials that Diane works on every day to help improve the lives of patients with cancer, she is also a leadership committee member for the Long Island chapter of the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition (NOCC). Through her volunteering, Diane is very active in helping spread awareness of the signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer with the hope to empower women to advocate for their own health.
Her commitment to research, care and education have not gone unnoticed. In 2017 she was recognized as an NOCC Nurse Honoree as well as being recognized as the Northwell Health Clinical Research Nurse of the Year in 2018. But for Diane, it’s very rewarding seeing the impact her work has on patients.
“I look forward to seeing my patients and their families share their life stories. Seeing them celebrate milestones in their lives and knowing it is because they are in a clinical trial is a gift to me.”
Julia started her Northwell nursing career at Monter Cancer Center where she worked as an oncology research nurse on the solid tumor team. In 2017, she transitioned into a new role as a phase 1 research nurse where she cares for patients that are being treated for the first time in their trials.
Julia started as a rehabilitation nurse caring for a large number of oncology patients, and thought her skills could transition into another area of nursing. “I felt that there was something larger out there to fulfill my curiosity and desire in healthcare. Oncology is continuously changing with respect to knowledge, learning, research, treatments and opportunities,” says Julia. “I felt that this field could feed my curiosity and at the same time satisfy my desire to help my patients.”
As an oncology research nurse, Julia is always looking for new and improved treatments with a commitment to helping enhance her patient’s quality of life. In her position, Julia is able to work with innovative treatment modalities and drug combinations that have not been tried yet. “It’s very exciting and rewarding knowing that I am part of creating history.”
And her passion extends beyond research – just a few short months after starting at Northwell, she was awarded with the Patient Recognition Star. “This recognition demonstrated that even the smallest thing we do for our patients means a lot to them,” says Julia.
After receiving her Master of Science in Nursing, Shirley started her clinical research career at Northwell in 2003 initially, as a clinical research nurse practitioner in pulmonary medicine.
In 2015 Shirley returned to research and today is a clinical research nurse for the Breast/GYN Research team at Monter Cancer Center (MCC). “My mother was a breast cancer survivor and I felt this position would allow me to add a very personal touch to the clinical aspect of my job when working with and caring for patients and families,” says Shirley. “Having the privilege to participate in another person’s healthcare journey motivates me to deliver the best patient care. My mother’s journey with breast cancer reminds me that my actions can have a powerful impact on the lives of a patient and their family during an emotionally stressful time.”
Her dedication, ability to establish deep therapeutic bonds and empathize with patients was recognized when Shirley was awarded the 2017 Northwell Care Award during MCC’s patient experience week. Shirley was also invited to be a mentor in the Northwell Health Clinical Research Professional Mentorship program.
Shirley enjoys working as a clinical research nurse and because of the role’s versatility, she is able to represent Northwell Health as a member of the Symptom Intervention Committee for the Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology national group and also conducts breast cancer awareness information sessions in the community.
When she first started in oncology, Shirley met a patient who changed her life: “When I met the patient and her husband, she shared her personal wish, which made me feel honored to be taking part in her care. She was determined to live long enough to see her son go to his prom.” This instant connection Shirley had with her patient strengthened her passion and with each study visit, Shirley and her patient became closer and developed a bond.
“The most memorable part of her treatment was when she came in and showed me the pictures of her son’s prom,” says Shirley. “She beamed with delight as she told me how she helped her son get ready for the big night. I was overcome with a sense of joy and satisfaction knowing I had been a part of helping her achieve this goal. My role in clinical trials research had given this patient hope. I will never forget her and can never thank her enough because this patient and my mother represent that even just one moment can matter.”
Shirley says “the possibilities are endless as a clinical research nurse” and looks forward to what the future has to offer at Northwell.
Explore clinical laboratory careers at Northwell Health
Clinical Laboratory Careers at Northwell’s Automated Lab
Watch the video below to discover why our laboratory technologists love working in our innovative automated laboratory; home of the largest Roche automated line of its kind in the U.S. and one of the largest labs in the world.
Take a tour of Northwell’s brand-new automated lab in Lake Success, NY. The 101,000 square-foot facility has 84,000 square feet of clinical space, including the largest chemistry and hematology automated line of its kind in North America.
Clinical Laboratory Careers in Microbiology
Hear from Ebru, a clinical laboratory technologist, about working at the brand new Microbiology Laboratory at Northwell Health Labs in the video below.
Northwell’s Brand-New Microbiology Laboratory
Tour our brand new Microbiology lab in Little Neck, NY which primarily performs microbiology tests, including molecular diagnostics, from local hospitals, clinics and physician offices, incorporating the latest technology and advanced robotic testing systems.
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