When Marybeth McManus, MPA, BSN, RN-BC started her career at Northwell Health it was a staff nurse at Zucker Hillside Hospital (ZHH). As her career at ZHH grew, Marybeth played an active role in the American Psychiatric Nurses Association where she is currently president of the New York Chapter. Her experiences at ZHH and beyond serve her well in her current role as chief nursing officer (CNO) of ZHH.
Throughout her career, Marybeth’s focus has always been on the destigmatization of mental illness and the development of a therapeutic healing environment for our patients and a healthy working environment for staff.
“The Zucker Hillside Hospital nursing staff is making a positive difference in advancing the mental health of our community,” she says. “To that end it is my priority to support our staff in providing the highest quality care with respect, kindness, and compassion.”
Read more from our CNO Corner interview with Marybeth.
What is one thing you wish people knew about being a behavioral health nurse?
Behavioral health nursing is a profession of the heart. Behavioral health nurses care for patients who have faced trauma and stigma, who are struggling to have their own voice and are particularly vulnerable. ZHH nurses care for the whole patient; their assessments include not just patients’ mental disorders, emotions and social interactions, but also their medical needs. Behavioral health nurses must have particularly astute assessment and critical thinking skills to observe and intervene in the early stages of a crisis and help patients who are struggling to stay in control. They must also use those same skills to identify changes in a patient’s presentation or mental status, which are often subtle signs and symptoms that are indicative of an evolving medical complication. Behavioral health nurses need to manage not just individual patients, but also the therapeutic milieu. ZHH nurses excel on person-to-person connections and instilling hope for patients on their journey to recovery. Patients and their families’ lives are better because of psychiatric nurses.
What exciting nursing initiatives are happening at Zucker Hillside Hospital?
Nursing at ZHH is trauma-informed, evidence-based and collaborative with many disciplines. Our nurses have participated in educational efforts to better care for their particular population. For example, our nurses on the Women’s Unit trained at LIJ Medical Center’s Labor & Deliveryunit to learn more about the signs and symptoms of labor and impending birth, as well as post-partum care. Many were trained as childbirth educators and lactation nurses as well to support our perinatal patients. ZHH is the only psychiatric free-standing NICHE designated hospital. Our two geriatric units have embraced the NICHE program, and many of the nurses are certified in gerontology by the ANCC and are NICHE geriatric resource nurses.
Our nurses on the adolescent and college units have been trained in Dialectical Behavior Therapy and our nurses on an adult unit are being trained in Cognitive Behavior Therapy-Recovery Based. In an effort to advance the patient experience, nurses have taken the lead on self-care initiatives including hiring a cosmetologist to help our patients feel better about their personal appearance. Other patient experience initiatives include the development of a spirituality program for patients and staff under the direction of our newly hired chaplain, coordination with the dietary department to improve the quality and choice of meals for our patients, pet therapy, art therapy, music therapy, as well as the initiation of Alcoholics Anonymous meetings on the inpatient service.
In addition to improving the experience of patients at ZHH, the Patient Experience Committee also addresses the needs of the staff in order to promote wellness and avoid burn out. Staff wellness programs offer holistic opportunities including reiki, healing crystals and essential oils, as well as their very own “Puppy Love” pet therapy day.
What makes working at Zucker Hillside Hospital unique?
The staff at ZHH are truly “Made for this.” It’s a calling to dedicate your life to the care of the mentally ill, and throughout the hospital you can feel the spirit of dedication, empathy, professionalism and love for our patients and their families. Workforce engagement scores are among the highest in Northwell, and the nursing score of 4.21 is above the national average. Our nursing satisfaction scores on the National Database of Nursing Quality Indicators showed that the majority of our units outperform the national average most times and all of our nursing units are either a Tier 1 or 2. Safety is paramount at ZHH; our quality measures improve annually and in 2019 we were very proud to report a 22% decrease in falls compared to 2018. Our falls with injury rate decreased by 78%, patient-to-patient and patient-to-staff aggression both decreased by 32%, and our seclusion minutes were reduced by 27%. These metrics speak for themselves; our staff is engaged, skilled and making a positive impact on our patients and their families.
What makes Northwell a great place to work?
Northwell provides outstanding opportunities for professional growth and advancement, including the Center for Learning and Innovation, encouragement for advanced degrees, leadership development programs, and the Nursing Mentorship Program and the Nurse Residency Program. I have benefited from numerous strong leaders and mentors at Northwell and am so proud to work for a health system that prioritizes the care of patients with mental illnesses!