U.S. Marine continues to protect our communities as a registered nurse
For Brian Uster, a medical/surgical registered nurse at North Shore University Hospital (NSUH), nursing was the perfect next step after serving as a U.S. Marine.
“I always felt the urge to help others,” says Brian. “That is why I first joined the Marine Corps and volunteered with the Fire Department. Healthcare allows you the opportunity to directly affect other people in a good way.”
Brian served six years in the United States Marine Corps (USMC) as a foreign security force adviser where he helped train and educate foreign militaries while working through interpreters when necessary. He also served as an anti-tank missile-man before being honorably discharged as a Sergeant.
After his service with the Marines, Brian knew that nursing was the next way he could continue to help and protect his community. For Brian, Northwell Health was also the perfect place to pursue this next mission. “I chose Northwell because of the reputation this system has. Northwell has high standards and expects nothing but the best from their employees,” says Brian. “It’s also very veteran friendly. At Northwell, I’ve found a comfortable environment with many different career paths and opportunities.”
And Brian’s experience in the Marines taught him many lessons that he takes with him every day to the hospital. Beyond the reinforcement of the importance of teamwork and commitment, being responsible for creating, managing, and implementing training also provided Brian with leadership skills he uses today as a nurse. But for Brian, one of the most important abilities he gained was the knowledge of how to work in any situation, with anyone. “In the Marines, I learned to work under pressure and in extreme environments,” says Brian. “Working as a foreign security force adviser also taught me how to work with people with all different backgrounds.”
Today, the teamwork Brian experienced in the Marines is something he still feels within his team at NSUH. “I love the environment and the people I work with,” says Brian. “Whenever one of us falls behind, the other nurses help out right away.”
Pierre Mouawad’s career journey from lab technologist to lab director
Since starting his Northwell Health career journey as a blood bank technologist at Lenox Hill Hospital (LHH) in 2009, Pierre Mouawad MBA, MT, has been able to grow tremendously within the clinical laboratory team. His growth, from technologist to lab director, is a story that continues to inspire the laboratory team members he leads at LHH.
After starting as a blood bank technologist, Pierre was promoted to becoming a transfusion safety officer in 2013 and later became a performance improvement manager before his current title of director, all at LHH. Pierre’s ambition and drive for growth was supported by the health system through leadership training programs at the Center for Learning and Innovation and through mentorships with several leaders and team members. In 2017, Pierre was also able to earn his MBA with support from Northwell Health’s tuition reimbursement program.
Today as director of operations in Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Pierre oversees the laboratory services at LHH. The laboratory is comprised of 14 areas of specialization within Clinical Pathology, Anatomic Pathology, and Blood Bank. Pierre leads a team of 200 plus members including managers, supervisors, technologists, phlebotomists and administrative staff.
Pierre and the laboratory team recently had the honor of being recognized on a national level. This past year, LHH was named Medical Laboratory Observer’s 2020 Lab of the Year. “This recognition made my team and I very proud of our excellent strategic outlook, culture and education, training and quality.” Pierre himself has also been recognized by Healthcare Performance Insider for his laboratory leadership throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I love working with talented scientists and hard-working individuals who are knowledgeable professionals and want to come to work every day,” says Pierre. “The laboratory world has grown so much, and I believe that innovation and culture are the key drivers to be successful in this industry”
Pierre’s hope is that his story inspires both students and other young technologists. “My passion is to mentor students to pursue a career in the laboratory field. Seventy percent of clinical decisions are based on lab results, so laboratory professionals are essential to the healthcare industry – even more so during this pandemic with all the COVID testing,” says Pierre. “I hope to continue inspiring colleagues to grow in the field by learning and being the best versions of themselves through excellent work ethic, challenging themselves, practicing kindness, and being passionate, emotionally intelligent, and empathetic.”
Discover a career well cared for as a clinical laboratory professional at Northwell Health. Apply today!
Why our Phlebotomists love working at Northwell Health
Phlebotomists at Northwell Health play an important role by collecting blood samples from our patients. These blood samples can help identify a patient’s diagnosis and ultimately help doctors create a treatment plan for them. In February we are celebrating National Phlebotomists Recognition Week and we are proud to recognize the hard work and compassionate care that our phlebotomists deliver every day.
Meet some of our team members and learn why they love being a phlebotomist at Northwell:
Luz Puig, Phlebotomist, Glen Cove Hospital
“My favorite thing about being a phlebotomist at Northwell is meeting patients and learning from their life experiences. I truly enjoy when they share their stories and I have a desire to make them feel comfortable and loved. During these hard times of COVID, my heart breaks to know many of the patients are alone during this process. I believe my role plays an important part in the healing of each patient as it is the start of a treatment for our community members.”
Glenna McKenzie, Phlebotomist, Syosset Hospital
“I have been a phlebotomist at Syosset Hospital for 35 years. I love being with our patients and doing my best to get their blood drawn quickly and painlessly. I love interacting with them and being able to get to know them. We understand that being ill and being in the hospital is not a high point for our patients, so I try my very best to make our patients feel better about their experience at our hospital.”
Michelle Lyn Sambajon, Lead Phlebotomist, Northwell Health Labs
“I oversee the COVID collection site for pre-procedure and pre-surgical testing. My favorite thing about working as a phlebotomist is that I enjoy being out there and helping people from their COVID test to bloodwork. Being a Phlebotomist is a rewarding opportunity to give back and help the community. It is the best feeling knowing that you’re one of the frontline team members to become a part of a person’s diagnostic treatment.”
Amanda Salerno, Mobile Phlebotomy, Northwell Health Labs and LabFly
“I provide mobile services to patients to their personal residence for bloodwork and COVID swabs. The best part of my job is making people laugh and providing compassionate care. Anything to make someone’s heart feel a little lighter when I leave makes me happy. I go into every home the same, a smile, laughter, enlightenment when needed, compassion and with comfort in the experience I provide for them. A little goes a long way.”
Maria L. Pizarro, Phlebotomist, Glen Cove Hospital
“I’ve worked at Glen Cove Hospital for 14 years as a phlebotomist. My job consists of drawing blood samples from in-patients. Patients are my priority and I really love what I do for the organization and working with my team.”
Discover a career well cared for as a phlebotomist at Northwell Health. Apply today!
Cardiovascular professionals at Northwell Health never miss a beat
Cardiovascular professionals at Northwell Health work diligently every day to keep our patients’ hearts healthy and strong. Whether they are technologists, EKG or monitor technicians, supervisors, registered nurses or another role, their hard work provides outstanding patient care that creates a positive impact in our community.
As a nurse in a Cath Lab, Maryann assists in performing diagnostic and interventional procedures through continuous patient monitoring, and administration of medications, and patient education. “My absolute favorite aspect of working as a cardiovascular professional at Northwell is how we are as a team,” says Maryann. “We are cohesive, committed to one purpose with a bond that enables us to always optimize our patient outcomes. In addition, we serve our community by providing emergency care 24 hours a day, to prevent life-changing, long-lasting heart disease.”
Suvada Louthan, RN, CV-BC, Cardiac Catheterization Lab and Interventional Recovery Room, Long Island Jewish Medical Center
Suvada has grown into her role as a registered nurse in both the Cath Lab and the Recovery Suite for eight and a half years at Long Island Jewish Medical Center. In her role, she works in the lab for scheduled and emergent procedures and works in recovery for the pre- and post-patient experience. “Working in the lab can be very exciting,” says Suvada. “Professionally, there is instant gratification when we are in the lab, a vessel is opened, and the patient is no longer having severe chest pain. I am always learning and growing as a professional. It is so rewarding to contribute to the health and wellness of our patients both acutely in the lab and by teaching in the recovery room.”
Michael Kleinschmidt, Supervisor, Cardiac Services, North Shore University Hospital
As a supervisor in Cardiac Services, Michael’s role consists of the day-to-day operation and staffing of the technologists in the Cath Lab, along with scheduling, training, and maintaining equipment quality. “My favorite thing about working as a cardiovascular professional is being able to help people and make a difference in their lives,” says Michael. “Working in healthcare can be one of the most rewarding career choices there is. I consider myself very fortunate to work in a field that is always changing and growing with new technologies, capabilities and ideas.” Michael feels the impact of cardiovascular professionals on the community is indescribable. “The service we provide to the community is second to none. Not only do we help during their procedure, but we can often help post procedure.”
Leslie Pierre, Lead Invasive Cardiovascular Technologist, Adult Cardiac Cath Lab, Long Island Jewish Medical Center
As an invasive cardiovascular technologist, Leslie helps greet patients, set them up in the room and explain procedures. His role includes operating, maintaining, and troubleshooting a variety of diagnostic and invasive equipment. Cardiovascular technologists are tasked with maintaining a sterile field while preparing the table and equipment before and during procedures. “I feel the work we do in the Cath Lab can change our patients’ outlook on their health,” says Leslie. “We have seen patients take that mindset back to their family and friends and become the foundation for them to want to be aware of their cardiac health as well.”
Working as an invasive cardiovascular technologist in the Cath Lab, Kathi works closely with physicians to examine and treat patients with cardiac diseases. She circulates, supports, and assists all aspects of invasive cardiology. “My favorite thing about working as a CVT is being a part of a talented team of individuals who can literally fix a broken heart. The satisfaction that comes along with helping someone get through a nerve-wracking experience is immeasurable,” says Kathi.
Recently opening in September 2020, the Cardiac Cath/EP Lab in Northern Westchester Hospital is a great addition to Northwell. Patricia was initially tasked with opening the lab and developing all aspects related to operations. “The impact on our community has been significant in that our patients can now obtain this care closer to home,” says Patricia. “Additionally, with the implementation of our STEMI program, they can receive emergent treatment at their doorstep, saving time and cardiac muscle.” Patricia explained that her team’s favorite thing about working as a cardiovascular professional is the ability to deliver quality cardiac care utilizing advanced technology to patients and achieving great outcomes.
Northwell nurse newlyweds deliver heartfelt care to our community
When Vanessa Baral, BSN, RN, and Herwyn Silva, BSN, RN, CEN, first met over a decade ago, their shared nursing experience helped them to bond. Today, their love for nursing—now as Northwell employees—continues to complement their love for each other as they begin their married life together.
Though they work in separate Northwell hospitals and units, Vanessa in the ICU at LIJ Forest Hills and Herwyn in the Emergency Department at Lenox Hill Hospital, they appreciate how their shared profession helps them to understand each other on a different level. This unique insight became especially valued as they both cared for COVID-19 patients at their hospitals at the start of the pandemic last March.
“Both of us being RNs is very comforting, especially in these different times. In the ICU and ED, we work with some of the sickest patients and see things most people don’t see or go through,” says Herwyn. “Having that support person at home who knows what you go through at work is very comforting.” Vanessa agrees adding, “We can support each other whenever we have a rough day at work or at home knowing that we have been there and that we are doing it together.”
Hoda Kotb officiates Herwyn and Vanessa’s socially distant wedding live on the Today Show
And while they delivered care to our patients during this unprecedented time, Vanessa and Herwyn also made the difficult decision to put their wedding plans, originally scheduled for May 17, 2020, on hold to ensure the safety of their family and loved ones. Life, however, had other plans in store for them. In a celebration of their work as healthcare heroes on the front-lines, Vanessa and Herwyn were given the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to have their wedding ceremony live on the Today Show on June 25th, 2020, ordained by Hoda Kotb herself.
After their wedding, they continued to deliver compassionate patient care and today they also serve in another role as nurses: working at our vaccination sites. Distributing vaccines allows them to deliver hope to patients in the form of a brighter tomorrow while working side-by-side.
“Distributing vaccines is an upbeat and happy moment we share with the community and a break from the difficult situations we sometimes deal with in the ICU and ED,” says Herwyn. “We vaccinated people who were looking forward to finally being able to see grandchildren, to essential workers and group home residents. These moments, full with nerves for some, are also filled with moments of hope and happiness.”
“The past year has been rough for everyone but being a duo has made it easier,” says Vanessa. “From working the frontlines as nurses, getting married live on tv during a pandemic, and now vaccinating our communities, we are happy to share our story with people to just spread joy in times when it feels more needed than ever.”
Northwell nurses deliver care at Henry Ford Health System as part of strategic alliance to fight COVID-19
When the COVID-19 pandemic first hit New York, nurses from around the country came to New York to fight on the front-lines alongside our healthcare heroes. Now as the pandemic surges in other states, the nurses at Northwell are returning that same support.
Recently Northwell Health sent 12 intensive care and medical-surgical nurses to Michigan-based Henry Ford Health System to help the clinicians as they cared for a rising number of patients in their system suffering from COVID. This staff-sharing initiative occurred as part of a newly formed strategic alliance between the health systems. In addition to staff-sharing, this alliance allows for collaborative emergency planning and an exchange of best practices, all in an effort to strengthen our ability to fight the new coronavirus and support the health and well-being of our communities.
Northwell’s intensive care and medical-surgical nurses are the first to participate in staff-sharing under this alliance, volunteering for the program to share their knowledge, skills, and provide a boost of morale and support to the nurses currently delivering care during a resurgence of COVID-19.
Fritz-Gerald Lochard, executive program director with the HR Office of the Chief People Officer, first saw the benefits of staff-sharing when he became directly involved with the clinicians who came to support our health system last spring from University of Rochester Medical Center and Intermountain Health in Utah. When he was offered the opportunity to lead the group of nurses on deployment to Michigan, he accepted immediately.
“I felt it was my duty to ensure that our Northwell nurses would have everything they needed while they were leaving their own families behind for a couple of weeks to help save lives,” says Fritz-Gerald. “The entire experience for me personally was a remarkable one for a number of reasons. The individuals at Henry Ford were spectacular and made sure that the nurses and myself had everything we needed to be successful while we were there. The administrative team and staff we all encountered were welcoming and supportive.”
The importance of strategic alliances has only become more apparent throughout the pandemic. As the disease spread, many health systems were severely impacted by staff shortages to support their clinical needs. Staff-sharing not only provides a way to increase staffing in a crisis quickly and efficiently, but provides vital knowledge sharing in an unprecedented time and a boost of morale for both teams.
“Deploying to Henry Ford Health System was extremely rewarding,” says Gina Zinzi, BSN, RN-BC, an ICU nurse at Northern Westchester Hospital. “It felt great to assist a fellow healthcare team who needed an extra set of hands. I would do it again in a heartbeat.”
“I was so excited to be asked to go to Michigan and help out fellow nurses, knowing how much it meant to my ICU when we had nurses from out of state volunteer to come help us,” says Marisa Allen, a registered nurse in Interventional Radiology at Long Island Jewish Medical Center who was asked to deploy due to her ICU background. “The staff at Henry Ford Hospital was so welcoming and it was a great experience getting to work at their facility.”
To Fritz-Gerald, strategic alliances like this only serve as proof that our organization is willing to exhaust all options to ensure those on the front-lines had the support they needed day in and day out. “I think in the environment that we are in now with COVID, it can only assist us in how we deliver care to our respective communities while making our organizations innovative and agile,” says Fritz-Gerald. “I truly learned a lot and I would recommend anyone who has the opportunity to visit another health system to take it!”
Discover a career well cared for at Northwell Health. Apply today!
Meet Marina Gizzi, manager of operations in the Emergency Department at Long Island Jewish Medical Center (LIJMC). Starting at LIJMC as an A/R (accounts receivable) clerk, Marina didn’t just find a career opportunity here at Northwell, but a new confident outlook on her professional life.
“I always had a hard time in school, I struggled academically for many years and didn’t graduate college when all of my friends did. This affected my outlook on what the future would hold for me,” says Marina. “It wasn’t until I started working at Northwell that I was given the confidence I needed to continue pushing myself and my career goals.”
And push herself, she did. Since starting at LIJMC in 2013, Marina has gone on to earn her Bachelor of Science and Master in Business Administration, both with the help of Northwell’s tuition reimbursement program. It was something she only imagined for herself after gaining confidence in her own potential. “I have been so blessed, from day one, to be part of Northwell because I can genuinely say they have gotten me to where I am today – two degrees and now four job opportunities later. With Northwell’s wonderful tuition reimbursement program and with the support of my ED family, I learned that it’s never too late to achieve your goals.”
Marina continued to develop her skills not only through continued education but in each of her roles on her journey. Her career has grown from A/R clerk to senior secretary to admin support associate before finally becoming manager, all within the ED.
Today, Marina manages concierge, the discharge lounge, ED unit receptionists, and case management assistants among others. Additionally, Marina works with position control, our recruiters and helps manage appreciation celebrations for our team members. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Marina also helped organize the influx of generous donations our community members sent to the hospital, a memory she holds as one of the most rewarding parts of her job so far.
It’s a role that wouldn’t have been possible without the support of her leadership and her family – both her Northwell family and her immediate family. “My ED leadership team and mentors at LIJMC are always encouraging us to better ourselves. The message that they have instilled in me is: never settle for anything less than what you deserve,” says Marina. “The support and opportunities that this organization provides are unlike any other. I know I will continue to learn and push myself because my future at Northwell will continue to be bright.”
Find a career well cared for at Northwell Health. Apply today!
Photos (from left to right): Dr. Yves Duroseau; Kimorine Campbell; and Lorraine Chambers-Lewis, PA
Black History Month: Celebrating being Truly Ourselves
At Northwell, we stand united, celebrating our differences and respecting each other to be Truly Ourselves. Every February, in honor of Black History Month, we celebrate the culture, contributions and accomplishments made by people of color around the world and within our organization.
In partnership with the Center for Equity of Care, we spoke with with Dr. Yves Duroseau, Chairman of Emergency Medicine, Lenox Hill Hospital; Lorraine Chambers-Lewis, PA, Vice President, Employee Health Services; and Kimorine Campbell, Senior Manager, Operations, to learn about their background, leadership journey, and inspirations.
What is your ethnic background and family origin?
Yves: I am Haitian American and of Haitian descent.
Lorraine: My parents are from Jamaica and I am part of the first generation in the family who were born here in America. Years ago many of us in my generation used to affectionately call ourselves “Jamericans.” We adapted very well to living in two worlds. At home we were in our Jamaican culture and outside of the home we had our American culture.
Kimorine: I am Jamaican American. Both my parents were born in Jamaica and I was born and raised in Queens, NY.
Why is it important to support Black history?
Yves: As demonstrated in 2020, we still have societal racial inequities that need to be addressed. 2020 was also encouraging in terms of a more global recognition that significant changes still need to occur until true equity and equality can be achieved.
Lorraine: It allows us to honor those who changed the world, giving them their overdue praise. We also get inspired to push forward with excellence and grit despite the obstacles. However, I think it is most important to remind everyone that as a society, we must always give folks that don’t look like you or act like you a chance and the space to grow. They could be the next history maker who may need a bit of support from you as they evolve into greatness.
Kimorine: Black history is American history. Supporting Black history means recognizing the contributions African Americans have made to our culture and society. Recognition helps us to use the lessons of the past to create a better and brighter future. It also allows us to honor those who have opened doors and to draw inspiration for our own lives.
When did you know that you wanted to pursue a healthcare career?
Yves: I knew I wanted to become a doctor at the age of five. I joke that I was influenced into becoming a doctor by my parents, but fortunately I have no regrets and feel privileged to practice medicine.
Lorraine: In seventh grade, I had my first real exposure to biology. It was the most fascinating subject and I thought, “why would anyone want to study anything else?” While in high school my mother told me about these medical professionals that she saw at her job in a nursing home called Physician Assistants (PA). I did a little research and my decision was made. I knew this profession would be the perfect fit for me.
Kimorine: I always had a desire to help people and initially thought that I wanted to be a clinician. After working a part-time job as a scribe in an Emergency Department, I had an opportunity to experience the administrative side of healthcare and it truly impacted me and shifted my perspective. I knew then that I wanted to become an administrator and it was a great decision. I never looked back.
Is there a specific leader from history that inspires you?
Yves: Toussaint Louverture was a revolutionary leader who was very instrumental in achieving Haiti’s Independence from the French in 1803.
Lorraine: I have to say that I really am stunned by the black women in science. What they must have gone through to acquire an education, seek mentors and find meaningful opportunities. When I graduated from the Harlem Hospital’s Physician Assistant Program in 1993, I invited the first woman formally educated as a Physician Assistant to be our keynote speaker at our graduation. Her name was Joyce Nichols. She happened to be a black woman and her story inspired countless PAs to persevere and lead. I was in awe of her.
Kimorine: Michelle Obama is a recent notable leader that inspires me. I resonate with her humble beginnings and her perseverance, despite the challenges she had to overcome. She never lost herself and continues to work on the issues that are important to her such as public health, all while being a supportive wife and mother.
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