Meet Truly Ambitious Director of Physician Assistant Services Thomas Bily
This blog is part of a series highlighting Northwell Health’s Advanced Clinical Providers (ACP). Each Northwell Health employee was nominated by their leadership as an individual who exemplifies a Northwell Health value.
Throughout his career with Northwell, Thomas has participated in many ACP system initiatives and covered for other clinical services wherever there was a need. While working as a critical care PA at Long Island Jewish Medical Center (LIJMC), he began to volunteer for both clinical and non-clinical responsibilities including becoming a PA clinical preceptor. This was his first opportunity to have an administrative role within the department and it provided him with skills he needed to help him succeed such as coordination, effective communication and organization.
Along with being a PA clinical preceptor, Thomas participated in a critical care microsystem workgroup at LIJMC. These workgroups help improve quality of patient care alongside collaborative workflow. The opportunity helped him further mold his communication skills while building on his ability to take ownership of group projects.
Most recently he’s led the re-design of the Northwell Health ACP Surgical System Orientation. The new orientation was designed to provide a surgical ACP or registered nurse first assistant with the skills and knowledge needed to enter the periOperative environment. “Leading this redesign gave me my first opportunity to lead and collaborate with other ACP leaders in the health system outside my building,” says Thomas.
As Director, Thomas was proud to work with the surgical PAs to develop a 24/7 surgical PA service at Plainview Hospital. “This was a measurable change in culture within the department of surgery at Plainview Hospital. There is more collaboration and education within the department as well as improvement in the quality of care we bring to our patients.”
Alongside his work at Plainview, he has the opportunity to be a part of an excellent surgical and orthopedic team at Syosset Hospital. He enjoys working with each ACP individually to lead them through their careers in any way possible, believing it’s an essential leadership trait to mentor and support your team.
The advice he gives them? “There was a quote that was told to me once that I truly believe in, ‘if you’re always comfortable in what you are doing you will never grow.’ This is what I live my career by and share it with others whenever I can.”
An avid gym go-er, and photographer, Thomas stays just as active and well-rounded in his life outside of Northwell. For him, success is all about finding new ways to inspire himself and others to achieve their best. “Northwell Health has provided me and many other ACPs with opportunities for growth in our careers. Work hard, never be complacent, place yourself in unfamiliar situations, and look for opportunities to be visible throughout Northwell. Believe in yourself and the opportunities will follow.”
If you’re Made for working with a team of exceptional ACPs, explore our opportunities here.
My name is Melissa Black and I have worked in Oncology since I started working at Northwell’s Huntington Hospital in 2008.
When I was 15 years old, my mother lost her battle with lung cancer. Since then, becoming a nurse had always been my mission. I was truly touched by how much my mom loved and cherished her nurses – nurses who cared for her when she was a patient on the same Oncology unit where I now work all these years later. It’s like my life came full circle and I ended up exactly where I was meant to be.
My career journey with Northwell started when I was hired as a CNA. I became a unit secretary in 2010, a position I held for seven years up until I became an Oncology RN in March 2018. I consider myself so lucky to have been able to spend all 12 years growing my skills on the same unit at Huntington Hospital. Being surrounded by the Oncology teammates and managers who have been with me from the start has made my career transitions that much easier. Northwell’s tuition reimbursement program helped to lighten the financial burden as I obtained my nursing degree. The support of my colleagues and leaders throughout school was a tremendous part of my success.
I feel my experiences give me insight when I’m caring for our cancer patients since I can relate to what they are going through. By helping my patients and their families heal and cope with how cancer has affected their lives, I’ve been simultaneously helping heal myself as well.
I became a nurse because I wanted to be that sunshine in a patient’s life while they are in the hospital dealing with some of their darkest days. I wanted to be that someone the patient looked forward to seeing walk through their door, because they know I will try my best to support them through their pain, their sadness, and their fears. This has to be one of my favorite things about my job, knowing that sometimes just my mere presence plays a part in a patient’s healing. I feel lucky to be a part of a patient’s journey.
Becoming a nurse and caring for patients with cancer has made me better able to appreciate how beautiful and fragile life is. It’s a career I chose because I wanted to make a positive impact on the lives of my patients, but it’s the impact they make on MY LIFE that truly reinforces that I am exactly who I am meant to be – a nurse!
Nursing Students get a Golden Ticket to Northwell’s Nursing Showcase
The future of nursing is golden at the Northwell’s Golden Ticket Nursing Showcase! This year, more than 630 junior and senior nursing students from 50+ colleges attended to learn about Northwell’s nursing careers and culture. Our invitation-only event at the Crest Hollow Country Club in Woodbury, NY is an important way to identify and engage with nursing students for New York State’s largest health system.
At the Golden Ticket Nursing Showcase, students attended presentations from Northwell’s nursing leadership to hear about our careers including our externships and fellowships, advanced careers such as becoming a nurse practitioner and the future of nursing at Northwell . Panel sessions were also held featuring previous nurse externs and current team members to allow students to ask questions and hear about their experiences.
In addition to the panels and presentations, students explored the Nursing Careers Expo and Culture Center where they could meet and interact with our registered nurses and nursing leaders and learn what makes Northwell’s culture and careers so unique. Here students also had the chance to learn about more than 23 specialties in nursing such as PeriOperative, Emergency, Critical Care, Pediatrics, Home Care, Case Management, TeleHealth, Mother/Baby and many more.
Don’t miss this inside look at what it’s like to attend the Northwell Golden Ticket Nursing Showcase in our video recap:
Combining clinical and business skills as an RN case manager
Comprehensive. Complex. Holistic. Empathetic. These are some of the words that best capture how RN case managers approach their roles as care providers at Northwell Health. As an RN case manager your responsibility is to understand and create a care plan for patients from admission through discharge that best accounts for their clinical and psychological needs.
Get to know the thoughts and experiences of two of our case managers who exemplify the kinds of career journey our clinicians can pursue here at Northwell Health. Jennifer Taglich, RN MSN MPH CPN, is an RN Case Manager at Cohen Children’s Medical Center. Initially hired as a bedside nurse, Jennifer was attracted to her current role for its diversity and cross discipline impact.
Heather Gordon, RN BSN CCM, serves as the Director of the Case Management Department at Staten Island University Hospital. Her career here began at North Shore University Hospital as a neonatal ICU nurse and, then she went on to work in pediatric oncology. When she was offered the position as a pediatric home care discharge planner, she embraced it for the autonomy it provided her in coordinating complex discharge activities for the pediatric specialty population.
Both Jennifer and Heather place a high value on the way that their roles helped them broaden and develop their knowledge by introducing them to new business planning, communications and patient management responsibilities.
Heather says, “I chose to work in case management because it required nursing skills along with incorporating business process into discharge planning. I had to develop business management skills and learn to strategize plans for my unique case load.”
The same was true for Jennifer who told us, “I compare it to learning a new language. While the patients remained the same, my role was completely different. It’s given me the opportunity to learn about more aspects of nursing and grow as a nurse, as well as work with intelligent and passionate nurses who I view as role models.”
Both feel that the ability to communicate and lead a team effort is essential as they collaborate care with other disciplines, remove unpredictable barriers and help the patient be ready for discharge once they receive medical clearance. Heather says “In my role I am responsible for creating plans that involve an interdisciplinary team to support our pediatric patients. It gave me the incentive to expand my knowledge, take on more challenges and complexities, and also work with a great team.”
“This role has given me the opportunity to improve my communication and teamwork skills,” says Jennifer. “You see the big picture, including how every member of the healthcare team plays a role in helping the patients feel better so that they can go home.”
Photo: Mark Compas and Child Life team members with some Cohen Children’s patients.
Something about child’s play
Mark Compas brings a distinctive mix of technical skills, a child psychology background and passion for both fields to his work as a per diem certified Child Life Specialist (CCLS). “It’s like I dreamed this job up and then it found me,” he said.
Mark divides his time between North Shore University Hospital (NSUH), including its Dorothy and Alvin Schwartz Ambulatory Surgery Center, and Cohen Children’s Medical Center (CCMC). As a CCLS, he educates patients about procedures and helps them to have a positive experience in the hospital setting. “In simple terms,” he says about his Child Life team, “we are basically teachers, coaches, and companions that help patients and families have an easier time at the hospital.”
How Mark came to be at Northwell is a roundabout story, where every twist has led him to exactly where he is thrilled to be. “Every day, I can’t believe how lucky I am,” he said.
He began his studies in electrical engineering and computer science, always honing his skills with hobbies like building computers and websites. He learned graphic design and video editing to promote a band he performed in. While attending college, Mark also taught swimming part-time, and that changed everything. “As much as I like building things, I realized that I love working with kids. It never felt like work and helping kids overcome obstacles and succeed was so meaningful to me.”
Mark finished his Bachelor of Science degree at Stonybrook University, pivoting from electrical engineering to psychology with a focus on child studies. He learned of the Child Life field, began volunteering at a hospital and attained his certification. Now he spends his days managing the technical needs of the Child Life and Creative Arts team. Among his projects is MeTV, a closed-circuit TV channel hosted by Child Life team members that children who are patients at CCMC can watch and play along, live. Games are aimed to teach children about hospitals and procedures, and Pictionary, which is purely for fun. Children can also co-host on MeTV. “It empowers them to be able to speak to other children and educate them about being in the hospital,” Mark said.
One of Mark’s favorite activities during his two years at Northwell has been the WeCraft event. Combining forces with Microsoft and the Extra Life Gaming Guild of NYC, Mark’s team hosted the WeCraft event that allowed all hospital-wide patients to play MineCraft together. He also loves to share his knowledge with children who are interested in technology. “Kids might be stuck in a room all day and I can drop in and show them a cool project I’m working on.”
Mark is always dreaming up new projects for the children at NSUH and CCMC and says that his colleagues’ dedication fuels his inspiration. Currently he is working on a virtual reality headset called Smileyscope for children to use during procedures like IV starts or injections. Smileyscope was developed in Australia and brought to CCMC for trial and research. CCMC is one of the first facilities in the United States to implement it and training is underway.
Mark networks with Child Life Specialists in similar roles as his, collaborates with children’s charities and keeps his ear to the ground for new opportunities. After his telephone interview, he followed up with a long email outlining novel ways that technology can help children cope with their hospital experiences. He hopes to create apps and video games to educate children and connect them socially, so that they can support each other. He sees great potential in using video games therapeutically and has been in touch with clinical psychologists who use games in their practices. Mark plans to study game design, play therapy and, eventually, to obtain a PhD in neuropsychology to further these goals. He has bigger ideas for MeTV and WeCraft, as well, and would also like to host regular classes and events for patients who are interested in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields.
Using technology to help children is a job that fits Mark Compas as if it were designed for him.
#EachforEqual: Northwell Health celebrates International Women’s Day 2020
March 8th marks International Women’s Day, a day to celebrate women while also reinforcing equality everywhere. At Northwell Health, we’re committed to championing our team members regardless of gender or gender identity by celebrating women’s achievements, raising awareness against bias, and taking action for equality.
In celebration, hear from some of Northwell’s amazing women on how they are helping empower women.
From delivering care in the US Army to Zucker Hillside Hospital
Before Laren Lamonaca delivered care as an assistant nurse manager at Zucker Hillside Hospital (ZHH), he delivered care in the U.S. Army.
In the U.S. Army, Laren served as a combat medic with an LPN identifier from 2005 until 2011. It was there where his medical skills grew, exposing him to experience in the ICU/CCU. As part of the 1 First Surgical Team, Laren worked under the leadership of two doctors who work at Northwell Health.
But his time in the Army provided Laren with much more than just technical skills. “The Army taught me leadership and the importance of duty to my country, my unit and my peers,” says Laren. “It taught me that giving respect is as important as getting respect.”
After he returned from deployment, Laren went back to school to become a registered nurse to further his healthcare career. Upon graduation, he accepted a nursing position that was a mixture of emergency and behavioral health nursing.
“Behavioral health nursing found me,” says Laren. “I fell in love with the behavioral health portion of my job and was then offered a job at Zucker Hillside Hospital. The rest is history.”
Laren started his ZHH career as a staff nurse in the acute geriatric psych unit and it’s a population he still loves working with today. “The stories they share of their lives are amazing. It’s very rewarding work,” he says. “Seeing a patient go from depression back to themselves after treatment is very heart warming.”
It was while he was working as a registered nurse at ZHH that Laren’s leadership saw his potential. He was promoted to an assistant nurse manager position where he continues to deliver compassionate care while helping lead his unit, a position he’s comfortable in after being in charge of new recruits in the army.
“I would highly recommend other veterans look for positions at Northwell,” says Laren. “I love working here, the environment is great. My coworkers really care for the patients we see on a day-to-day basis and the administration team is very supportive and engaging. I cannot say enough great things about working for Northwell.”
Northwell Health Labs provides career growth for lab technologists
When Nathan Howell first started working at Northwell Health Labs in 2016, he accepted a position as a lab support associate after graduating college. Since then he’s grown his career working in our automated lab, becoming a lab technologist and specializing in Chemistry, Special Chemistry, and Serology.
For Nathan, Northwell Health Labs was the perfect start to his career to get the well-rounded experience he needed to grow as a lab technologist. “I’m glad that I made the leap to work in the automated lab straight from school because it’s an opportunity to work alongside an incredibly skilled and knowledgeable staff and to grow exponentially as a younger technologist,” says Nathan.
And working in the automated lab, Nathan enjoyed being able to continue learning thanks to the diversity of departments there. “I’ve had the opportunity to gain experience in everything from specimen processing and accessioning, to quality control validation and assay correlation, as well as extensive instrument maintenance and troubleshooting,” says Nathan. “The scale and depth of which I have learned these skills is something that can only be obtained here at Northwell.”
Northwell’s automated laboratory is a 101,000 square-foot facility with the largest Roche automated line of its kind in the U.S. and one of the largest in the world. This provides our clinical laboratory team access to the state-of-the-art equipment they need to help physicians deliver life-saving results to our patients.
With over 30 million tests performed at our 23 hospital-based labs and centralized laboratories, Nathan is able to gain experience with a variety of cases he might not see anywhere else. “Abnormalities or diseases that are typically very rare – such as 1 in 100,000 or 1 in 500,000 to even 1 in 1,000,000 – become more common. There’s something new to be seen and to learn on an almost day-to-day basis working at Northwell.”
Beyond developing his own career, working behind the scenes as one of healthcare’s “unsung heroes” is also extremely rewarding. “I take a lot of pride in knowing the work that I do and the care I put into the instruments that run our specimens has a direct impact on this lab’s ability to provide quick and accurate patient care,” says Nathan. “The level of detail and care that goes into our process to ensure we’re providing the best patient care possible is something that is unmatched anywhere else.”
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