Faces of Oncology Care: Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants
The oncology team members at the Northwell Health Cancer Institute provide cancer care to more New Yorkers than any other health care provider. And with so many patients trusting the Northwell Health Cancer Institute for their treatments, our advanced clinical providers are helping make a difference on a large scale. Our nurse practitioners and physician assistants aren’t just helping our patients survive, they’re helping them thrive.
Meet some of our advanced clinical providers below and hear what makes them passionate about working in oncology care.
Working at Northwell for more than 20 years, Keara has dedicated more than half of those to oncology care. As a PA, she embraces the fact that she has the opportunity to change lives of those facing a cancer diagnosis.
“I’m no different from everyone else,” she says. “Cancer touched my life at a young age when my grandfather battled and eventually lost his life due to metastatic colon cancer. That experience changed me in a way that would shape my life.”
Being a PA allows Keara to not only deliver care to her patients, but to be there for them: “In addition to being a part of fascinating scientific discoveries, I am able to ease a patient’s fear and give them hope. I bring smiles, comfort, compassion, hugs and even laughter back into their world. We treat cancer like a chronic illness, not a terminal illness.”
Having worked in oncology outside of Northwell, Keara knows there’s no place like Northwell. “I saw firsthand how differently we care for our patients and their families through unparalleled compassion, empathy and genuine concern. I have had the opportunity to work alongside some of the most wonderful nurses, doctors, and support staff I could have ever hoped for.”
Jennie Hernandez has worked at Northwell for four years at the Monter Cancer Center where she specializes in gynecologic medical oncology.
For Jennie, choosing oncology as her specialty was clear. “I always knew I would end up working in oncology,” she says. “There are a lot of exciting advancements being made and I want to be part of finding a cure for cancer.”
At Northwell, Jennie feels empowered as part of a close team that is always researching and going the extra mile to provide patients with the best care and treatment options. “Working here has helped me develop into the PA I have always wanted to be. The opportunities to help patients with the resources we have are endless and we continue to do more.”
It’s not just innovative treatments and research that makes her job worth it, but the people. In a specialty that can be emotionally difficult, Jennie finds the relationships she develops with her patients are what makes her job so special. “I could not imagine doing anything else because of the relationships I get to create with my patients and their families,” she says. “I feel like they are my family. It’s a close relationship that helps us both get through every day to make the next day an even better one.”
Starting her Northwell career as a nurse in the MICU at North Shore University Hospital (NSUH) in 2011, Eva McLoughlin made the decision to return to school to become an NP.
The intricacy of bone marrow transplants piqued her interest in oncology and brought her to Monter Cancer Center after she graduated. There she works delivering care on the bone marrow transplant team: “As an NP on the bone marrow transplant team, I am able to help ensure patients have the best quality of life in their time of need.”
Eva takes pride in the fact that her actions are able to change not only a patient’s condition but their outlook. “Every day I have the opportunity to influence a patient’s life in a positive way,” she says.
With 11 years of nursing experience in breast and gynecologic cancer, Elena Palau knows the difference advanced clinical providers can make for their patients. Starting her career as a registered nurse, Elena is now the supervising nurse practitioner at Monter.
“Oncology is a dynamic practice,” says Elena. “It is difficult for the family and patient undergoing treatment and its related side effects but what is gratifying is that with excellent treatments, you may see the patient’s disease respond.”
At Monter, she finds it rewarding to work with the entire oncology care team: “I work with excellent oncologists, nurses and administrative leaders who value my work, opinion, and leadership commitment. To her the most important part of oncology care is, of course, her patients. “It’s important to make the patients understand that you care and to hear what they are saying. As an NP, I can offer clinical help and it’s very rewarding when treatment is successful.”
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.”
Meet Truly Ambitious Plastic Surgery Nurse Practitioner Nicole Sweeney
This post is a 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 the Northwell Health values.
Nicole is approaching her first year as a nurse practitioner at Northwell. However, she brings a breadth of knowledge and years of experience to the workplace every day. After receiving her master’s degree and becoming a nurse practitioner, she went back to become a registered nurse first assistant. It was this move that provided her with a variety of experience and helped develop her passion for working in the operating room. “I loved being in the OR and wanted to continue that aspect of my career as an advanced clinical provider,” Nicole says. Assisting in the operating room provided Nicole with a fresh and unique perspective, one that she would eventually carry over into every room she’d enter.
Years later, the triathlete and busy mom of a 5-year old finds her home at Northwell. She made the decision for a number of reasons but notes, “It was time for an institutional change for me in order to work closer to home.” Northwell Health offered her the flexibility she needed after realizing long commutes to the city were taking precious time away from her family.
And though there are many health systems on Long Island, Nicole felt the direction Northwell was taking its organization was one that was innovative and forward-thinking, and she wanted to be a part of it. “I feel that Northwell Health exemplifies the values I find to be vital – delivery of exceptional patient care, innovation through research and education, and dedication to the staff who make Northwell great,” she says.
Now, 8-months into her practice, she absolutely loves working as an NP in plastic surgery because of how her role is and how versatile her role asks her to be. She says, “Plastic surgery is one of the only specialties that treat many areas of the body from head to toe.” Which means, no two days can ever truly be the same.
Northwell offers unique opportunities for each employee to learn and grow, and for someone as ambitious as Nicole, it’s the perfect situation. Nicole says, “As an NP new to Northwell I look forward to utilizing all the health system has to offer including wellness programs and continuing education opportunities,” adding, “There are so many resources available for staff to grow and flourish!” We know Nicole’s future is bright at Northwell and can’t wait to see how she advances her career here.
Explore Nurse Practitioner and Physician Assistant Careers at Northwell Health
Whether you’re a physician assistant or nurse practitioner, you’ll enjoy tremendous professional autonomy, extensive resources and nearly limitless opportunities at Northwell Health. Watch the video below to hear from some of our Advanced Clinical Provider (ACP) team members about careers and why you should join our team.
Meet Truly Together Cardiology Nurse Practitioner Kareem Nugdalla
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 Together, Kareem Nugdalla, who is currently a cardiology Nurse Practitioner at Southside Hospital in Bay Shore, New York. Read below to learn more about Kareem and what it’s like to be an ACP at Northwell.
Kareem started his career with Northwell in 2013 as a registered nurse on the telemetry unit at North Shore University Hospital. From there, he became certified as a cardiac vascular nurse and then took the next step in his career by accepting a full scholarship as part of the inaugural class of the Hofstra Northwell School of Graduate Nursing and Physician Assistant Studies. “My managers encouraged me to become a nurse practitioner and my co-workers supported my dream,” he notes. “Team members have come up to me and said I was their inspiration for going back to school. There was never a roadblock, everyone embodied the ‘Truly Together’ spirit.”
Upon graduating, Kareem became an adult gerontology acute care nurse practitioner and works as a key member of a highly collaborative, interdisciplinary team at Southside Hospital.
What Kareem likes most about working at Southside is the high level of respect and trust that encourages collaboration between all members of the healthcare team, particularly in his relationships with his physician and physician assistant counterparts. Kareem feels that Truly Together collaborative care creates an environment where ideas can be shared and his input is valued. “When everyone works as a team, you can tackle problems by coming up with solutions together. If there is a challenge, I never leave a team member to face it alone. Even if I don’t have the answer, I look for the answer with them.”
Kareem is also proud that his role significantly impacts his local community in a positive way. To him, being part of Northwell is about delivering more than just healthcare; it’s taking care of his own community. “There is a moral compass and a culture of care that drives us to excellence,” says Kareem.
Meet Truly Ambitious Neurology Practice Nurse Practitioner Nichole Lopez
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 central Northwell Health value. This month, we’re proud to introduce you to the Truly Ambitious Nichole Lopez, a nurse practitioner (NP) in one of Northwell Health’s neurology practices, who recently earned her Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP). Read below to learn more about Nichole and what it’s like to be an ACP at Northwell.
Nichole Lopez started her healthcare career working as a hospital volunteer at age 16. By 18, she’d become an LPN. From there, she continued to invest in herself and her education, earning her Family Nurse Practitioner degree. It was then that Nichole first joined Northwell as a neurology pain and headache NP.
What Nichole likes best about being a nurse practitioner at Northwell is having the autonomy to provide patient-centered care that treats a patient holistically. Her desire to provide the best quality and access to care is what inspired her to earn her DNP degree.
A degree Nichole says wouldn’t have been possible without the growth and career development opportunities at Northwell. “Not only did Northwell provide financial support through their tuition assistance program, my colleagues supported me as well,” says Nichole. Throughout her DNP program, physicians, administrators and nurse practitioners alike provided encouragement and helped her reach project goals.
“With healthcare continuously changing it is extremely important for nurses who possess critical knowledge, to continue their education in order to ensure the best outcomes for patients,” advises Nichole. “It makes me feel terrific when I can inspire others to continue their education with the support provided by Northwell.” And that includes her own family!
Nichole’s oldest daughter is currently following in her footsteps and is entering her second year of her nursing education. “At my graduation ceremony, my daughter made a statement,” shares Nichole. “She said ‘Mom, watching all of your hard work and determination both academically and clinically is what inspires me to work hard and strive for greatness.’”
We know Nichole is proud of her daughter … and we are equally proud of Nichole, a Truly Ambitious ACP! If you’re Made for working with a team of exceptional advanced clinical providers, explore our opportunities at Northwell Health.
Meet our New ACP Fellowship Graduates: Krystal, Christine & Sean
This post is part of a blog series highlighting Northwell Health’s Advanced Clinical Providers (ACP).This month, we’re highlighting three “Truly Ambitious” PAs who recently graduated from our inaugural Emergency Medicine and Cardiothoracic Surgery ACP Fellowship Program class. Currently we offer four specialties for our ACP Fellowship Program: Emergency Medicine, Cardiothoracic Surgery, Orthopedics, and Radiation Medicine.
Our Advanced Clinical Providers (ACP) are some of our most ambitious team members, and these new graduates of our Fellowship Program are no exception!
Recent fellowship graduate Krystal Garcia, MS, PA-C fell in love with the fast pace and high pressure of emergency medicine during her clinical rotations as a Physician Assistant (PA) student.
“Once I graduated, I was determined to start my career in emergency medicine,” she said. “But I also wanted to be sure that my first job was in a supportive environment that would allow me to grow and excel. I knew that the Emergency Medicine Fellowship Program fellowship at Northwell would give me the access to clinicians that could teach me the skills I needed to be a knowledgeable and proficient provider.”
Krystal’s favorite part of her Emergency Medicine Fellowship was working in the Southside Hospital Emergency Department. “Everyone that I encountered at the hospital from nurses to physicians to ACPs and consultants, helped make my fellowship exceptional.” she explains.
Not only did Krystal’s fellowship expand her clinical knowledge, it also gave her the confidence to succeed in a career that requires the ability to continuously learn and adapt. She now has a strong foundation to always continue to grow along with new innovations in medicine. Krystal is now a physician assistant in the Department of Emergency Medicine at Staten Island University Hospital after graduating from the fellowship program.
Gain essential clinical skills in a new specialty
Cardiothoracic Surgery Fellow, Christine Olivencia, MS, PA-C, wholeheartedly agrees. After completing her physician assistant studies at Hofstra University, she enrolled in our ACP fellowship in Cardiothoracic Surgery. “After completing an elective rotation in CT Surgery during school, I knew that was the field I wanted to work in,” Christine tells us.
“I was aware there would be a learning curve working in such a high acuity environment,” she continues. “I felt the fellowship would provide the training and education necessary for a smooth transition into my current role as a PA in Cardiothoracic Surgery at North Shore University Hospital.”
Christine’s favorite part of her fellowship was the people she met and the relationships she built during the program. She also felt that she was given the chance to grow in every way possible. Her knowledge base expanded, and her procedural and OR skills improved exponentially.
“I learned how to look at a case and use that clinical information to develop a plan and impact outcomes, all the while keeping the patient first in mind,” she says. “I gained confidence through the fellowship to continue to grow into the provider I’ve always wanted to be.”
Optimize your growth and development
Our third fellowship graduate, Sean Storey, MS, PA-C, explains his decision to join Northwell, “The mission and goals of Northwell’s Cardiothoracic Surgery (CTS) Fellowship strongly reflected my personal objectives to be trained at the highest level of proficiency and develop the critical thinking skills necessary to be successful in cardiothoracic medicine.”
During his fellowship, Sean found the mentoring environment and educational structure to be “phenomenal.” He was able to optimize his growth and development by working across the CTS service line at multiple Northwell locations, and now works as a Physician Assistant in Cardiothoracic Surgery at Southside Hospital.
“My fellowship allowed for an amazing learning environment that was paramount to my transition into professional practice. The clinical environment at Northwell accelerated my growth in ways that could have taken years to obtain and has given me a deeper understanding of my clinical roles and confidence in my clinical decision practices.”
Like all of our PAs highlighted this month, Sean would “absolutely recommend” a fellowship at Northwell Health. He, like Krystal and Christine, stresses the opportunity to accelerate individual growth and development and make a successful transition as part of a team that is rethinking and reimaging health care every day.
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 central Northwell Health value. This month, we’re proud to introduce you to Jennifer Meagle, Supervising Physician Assistant in the Department of Surgery/Surgical Critical Care/Otolaryngology at North Shore University Hospital (NSUH), who is a “Truly Ambitious” member of our team. Read below to learn why and explore ACP job opportunities at Northwell Health here:
Jennifer Megale, dog lover, athlete, and world traveler, loves an adventure. When she’s not addressing critical care needs as PA Supervisor at NSUH, she spends her time with her Rhodesian Ridgeback Penny, scuba diving and snowboarding all over the world.
Her adventure in health care began in 2011, following her college graduation and the start of her career as a per diem Surgery PA and soon full-time at NSUH where she worked for several years.
Jennifer returned to Northwell as Surgery PA Supervisor in 2018 and says it’s where her heart belongs. “What I have always loved about NSUH is the sense of family. Even though we are a large hospital everyone has always been so welcoming and transparent, including administration. You don’t see this very often at other large health systems. The organization is always looking for ways to help their employees grow and succeed,” says Jennifer.
As a Surgery PA Supervisor, she has been responsible for building a new total parenteral nutrition service, setting up a bioskills surgical course for PAs, and working on a robotics training course. Jennifer is continuously looking for ways to improve patient care, encouraging PAs to take on a more proactive role in their education and skills development. Jennifer says, “This past year, I arranged for a surgical physician assistant’s Bioskills lab, where PAs are learning to build on their operative and suturing skills. Making PAs more confident in their own ability truly helps them to adequately care and address all of the concerns of our patients.”
Surgical PAs at NSUH assist in minimally invasive robotic surgery. During robotic surgeries, PAs function as the bedside assist. Jennifer explains, “we are needed to change instruments, troubleshoot and use an assist port to help with the operation. Robotic surgery provides a number of benefits to the patient including less trauma to the body, minimal scarring, and faster recovery.”
Jennifer’s great adventure isn’t only in the OR. She’s an avid traveler with the intention of visiting every continent over the next five years, and with only three left to go, she’s almost reached her goal! She says, “I’m an intense snowboarder and I checked heliboarding off my bucket list two years ago at Whistler Mountain in Canada. To be dropped off at the top of a mountain by helicopter was exhilarating, to say the least!”
For Jennifer, providing Truly Ambitious care is her next great adventure. Are you Made for working with exceptional Advanced Clinical Providers like Jennifer? Explore your career opportunities at Northwell Health.
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 that exemplifies a central Northwell Health value. This month, we’re proud to introduce you to Chris Summers, PA, QA, education coordinator and critical care specialist, who is a “Truly Compassionate” member of our team. Here’s why:
At Northwell Health, our Advanced Clinical Providers have the resources and support they need to follow their passions, wherever they lead. Chris Summers’ passion for delivering Truly Compassionate care led him from a career in the Coast Guard to one as a physician assistant in the operating room, the classroom, and into disaster areas throughout the world.
Chris started his career as a member of the U.S. Coast Guard where he was mostly involved in maritime search and rescue as well as counter-narcotic operations in the high seas of the North Atlantic. After the Coast Guard, Chris became a paramedic on the streets of New York City, eventually studying to become a physician assistant (PA). At Northwell Health, he found an environment where veterans were especially valued for their experiences and values. “Northwell Health is very pro-veteran. The health system values their experience and expertise and understands how that can translate into a veteran becoming a superior member of our healthcare team. Northwell has many programs available to assist veterans to integrate into the civilian healthcare sector and there are many veterans who are valued team members in every level of the organization,” says Chris. The healthcare experience Chris has built along his career path across a variety of Truly Compassionate positions led him to Northwell Health.
His journey with Northwell Health began in 2006 when he was hired right out of PA school to the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Long Island Jewish Medical Center (LIJ). In this position, he was assigned to the CTICU where he cared for critical patients who required cardiothoracic surgery or were recovering from surgery. Chris then transitioned to the operating room, where he learned how to assist in all aspects of cardiac and thoracic surgery as well as advanced bedside procedures. “In the operating room, I am a valued member of the surgical team and directly contribute to the positive outcome of our patients,” says Chris. “It’s very gratifying to be able to apply my knowledge and skills to advance the healing and treatment of our patients and to work within a supportive team environment.”
Chris enjoys that ACPs in the cardiothoracic surgery department can work at the very top of their license and are given a large amount of responsibility. They can be found anywhere from the operating room assisting in the most complex surgeries, to the floors managing the daily needs of recovering patients.
Once he became a critical care specialist, Chris felt the call to share his knowledge with his peers. Northwell recognized Chris’ gift for teaching with a promotion in 2016 to Quality Assurance and Education coordinator, which included coordinating various aspects of staff education such as a lecture series for the Thoracic Surgery service line.
Chris’ Truly Compassionate nature takes his work outside of Northwell and into the world to care for people in the most critical situations. Chris is the co-founder of NYC Medics Global Disaster Response, a team that provides a rapid expeditionary style of emergency care in disaster zones throughout the world. NYC Medics travel into remote regions by whatever means necessary to set up clinics and assist those in need, treating tens of thousands of patients of hurricanes, tsunamis and earthquakes. “I’ve spent most of my career in some form or another in service to others and have taken care of people in a wide variety of situations. These experiences taught me that whether on a sinking ship at sea, in a disaster zone in some far-off country, on the streets of NYC or in an operating room, we all are equally susceptible to disasters, disease, trauma and the suffering these bring.”
For Chris, Truly Compassionate patient care is always at the forefront of his mind and helps him to be a better PA.
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 that exemplifies a central Northwell Health value. This month, we’re proud to introduce you to Sharon Hasfal DNP, ANP-BC., who is a “Truly Compassionate” member of our team. Here’s why:
It’s hard to find an Advanced Clinical Provider who provides more Truly Compassionate care than Sharon Hasfal. Sharon is a nurse practitioner (NP) in the medicine service line, where she plans and participates in many of the team building/engagement activities that help keep our team working well, together. But Sharon’s compassion goes way beyond the call of duty, and she does so with a humbling grace that shows, no matter the challenge, she’s Made for this.
Sharon was born to be an NP. Blessed with, as she claims, “the gift of gab,” she uses her skill to speak with her patients and takes time to let them know what their plan of care is for the day. She remembers a dedication that struck a chord in her career early on, “a colleague of mine on 3 DSU instilled into her nurses the importance of sitting with your patients and taking the time to speak with them and help them understand what is going on.” This lesson stuck with Sharon.
On her most rewarding day at Northwell Health, she joined the senior case manager and social worker of her hospital and medicine hospitalists to work with patients with an excessive length of stay. As a team, they took the time to speak with patients and their families to learn the ins and outs of what was affecting the patients’ hospitalizations. “I felt I was effective in helping patients make very difficult decisions like advanced directives or arrangements for a safe discharge to home. Good teamwork makes a big difference in providing good care for our patients and working with this team was great.” Speaking of volunteering, Sharon co-chairs every nurse practitioner event that takes place in her hospital. The planning is done on her own time and she usually comes in on her day off to allow herself to fully focus on the success of the celebration. Sharon says, “I enjoy being a nurse practitioner. I believe if you do not enjoy what you are doing you will not be able to be an advocate for your patients and their families.” Her goal is to celebrate nurse practitioners and ensure they have a fun, memorable time- and it’s definitely been accomplished! She’s organized a Hawaiian Luau, a Carnival, a Tea Party, a Beach Party, a Mardi Gras and many more! And that’s just her own hospital. Sharon also serves as the chairperson for the Nurse Practitioner Association of Long Island (NPALI) annual conference, a volunteer position where she organizes a full day educational conference for nurse practitioners throughout Long Island!
Sharon’s compassion is shown in how she cares for people in her workplace, in her community, and in the world. She volunteers for medical missions in underserved countries, using her vacation time and her own money to travel to the needed destination. She does not want or expect anything in return. Her reward is the knowledge that she was able to make a difference in someone’s life. It’s a job she loves. It’s a career she’s Made for. “As an NP I will continue to be true to my patients, their families, along with my peers,” said Sharon. “I will continue to keep my patients informed while they are in the hospital; take the opportunity to educate patients, their families and my colleagues both inpatient and outpatient; and my missionary work. It’s how I can make a difference as an NP.”
Are you Made for working with exceptional Advanced Clinical Providers like Sharon?
Explore your career opportunities at Northwell Health here.
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 that exemplifies a central Northwell Health value. This month, we’re proud to introduce you to Melissa Moscola, PA-C, MA., who is a “Truly Innovative” member of our team. Here’s why:
Melissa is a Truly Innovative PA at Northwell Health. As a practicing PA in various capacities, Melissa was working for a private practice providing critical care coverage. But she felt she could do more for patients and families. When the Follow Your Heart program, a support service for patients and families, was revamped and developed in partnership with CT surgery and Health Solutions, she jumped at the chance to become part of this innovative medical endeavor. As the program approaches its second anniversary, let’s learn how Melissa found the position she’s Made for.
Melissa has spent most of her career working in critical care areas. This experience showed her the importance of support services, “when these patients survive and recover enough to be discharged from the hospital, their needs don’t disappear, they change.” That change means families and patients will need more support than ever. The Follow Your Heart program bridges the gap between the hospital and the patient’s home and helps ease the transition by providing increased access to care, medication optimization, and home visits.
In her position, Melissa is “able to develop relationships with both patients and providers based on trust, which becomes particularly important when dealing with the most vulnerable patients.” And she can build those relationships without sacrificing growing her own. Melissa enjoys the flexibility she’s found in her profession, a flexibility that has enabled her to get her master’s degree, get married and have children.
Throughout her career, Melissa has embraced innovation. The technology available today allows her team to perform virtual visits to patients at acute rehab at Glen Cove. Melissa notes, “the field of medicine is always changing and I am so happy to be an integral part of the change.”
The Follow Your Heart Program was a finalist for this year’s President’s Award where the program and team were recognized for their Truly Innovative work. Melissa recognizes how teamwork got her here, “we are a truly cohesive team that works well together for the good of the patients.”
Are you Made for working with exceptional Advanced Clinical Providers like Melissa?
Photo: Northwell Health supervising nurse practitioner Sheila Davies (pictured center) with her Follow Your Heart team members.
Making a shift in your nursing career: How to become a nurse practitioner
Deciding to transition from a registered nurse (RN) to a nurse practitioner (NP) is a big decision. The commitment to obtain the additional education and training for this prestigious designation is significant. And while it may not be for every nursing professional, those who take the step to become an NP gain many new opportunities.
For Sheila Davies, a Northwell Health supervising nurse practitioner, the decision to become a nurse practitioner was made early in her nursing career. She started her career with Northwell as a surgical intensive care trauma nurse but wanted to continue her education after receiving her bachelor’s degree.
“I knew I wanted more,” says Sheila. “Health care is continuously changing, and I realized that becoming an NP would open up more doors for me and better prepare me for those ongoing changes.”
She enrolled in day classes at Stony Brook University while continuing to work nights at North Shore University Hospital (NSUH). She completed the NP master’s degree program in two years and immediately accepted a position in NSUH’s open heart intensive care unit.
Like Sheila, Peggy McCormack also launched her healthcare career as a registered nurse. With an associate degree from Nassau Community College, Peggy continued to work full time while attending Columbia University for a dual BSN/MSN degree, and graduated as an adult NP. At the time of graduation, Peggy already was working on NSUH’s cardiothoracic service team, which was expanding. She interviewed for one of the open positions and was hired as a NP on the post operative cardiac surgery floor.
For both Sheila and Peggy, mentors were very important to their career development, helping to orient them in their new roles. They knew that surrounding themselves with skilled and experienced professionals would help them achieve their own successes.
“It was hard work but exciting, challenging and rewarding,” says Peggy. “I was fortunate to work with a team of dynamic practitioners who were clinically outstanding, took pride in the care they provided, had strong work ethics, and on top of all that, they were funny.”
For Sheila and Peggy, their focus on education didn’t stop after they became NPs. Sheila continued her education by earning a doctorate in nursing practice. This has enabled her on her path of becoming a change agent in healthcare. She currently leads the Follow Your Heart team who were finalists for the 2018 President’s Award for Teamwork. The program is one of a kind and provides essential follow-up visits for cardiac surgery patients at their home or post-acute care location.
Peggy’s pursuit for personal and professional growth led her to obtain a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree from Hofstra University with a subspecialty in quality management. The program helped her gain greater insights into the business side of health care. With her additional education, Peggy became a clinical liaison, helping with improvement projects. She advanced to the role of supervisor of medicine advanced clinical providers and helped to develop a structured orientation program for new hires at NSUH, which has resulted in improved employee engagement, recruitment and retention rates.
For both employees, the support that Northwell provided was pivotal to their success.
“I was given the flexibility I needed to pursue further education and achieve in my career,” says Sheila. “I’ve been able to constantly improve my skills and knowledge.”
Meet our Truly Ambitious Pediatric NP Andrea Orbon
This post is part of a blog series highlighting Northwell Health’s ACPs – Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants. Each Northwell Health employee was nominated by their manager as an individual that exemplifies one of Northwell Health’s values. This month, we’re proud to introduce you to Andrea Orbon, who is a Truly Ambitious Nurse Practitioner. Hear her story.
Andrea Orbon CPNP has always considered herself a very ambitious person. After being a pediatric nurse, she pushed herself to become a nurse practitioner (NP) so she could do even more for her patients and their families. “As an NP, I’m here not only for the patient, but for their parents as well. I’m not only the diagnostician, but I’m their friend. I’m here to listen.”
Since starting her career with Northwell Health in 2014, Andrea has maintained valuable connections with her patients and their families as they’ve grown, even caring for her former patient’s children. Andrea empathizes with her young patients and their families. Her commitment to her work is inspiring. “It takes dedication to your profession, regardless of your position, to ensure you are still there for your patients. What’s nice about our practice is your patients become part of your family,” she says.
Though she’s been in the field for years, Andrea continues to push for new ways to connect with her patients. She’s helped orchestrate visits with local offices to develop a personal connection with doctors. This opens direct lines of communication, builds relationships with other doctors and, eventually, leads to referrals. Andrea goes above and beyond when building relationships with doctors and patients, and she frequently visits the hospital nursery during her rounds, on weekends, and on her days off to provide care to newborns and their parents before they officially become her patients. Andrea says, “I’m proud of this office because most pediatricians don’t take the time to go to the nursery, but we take efforts to be there at that first moment to deliver continuity of care.”
Andrea feels that the way she makes a difference as an NP is to fight for services that children need today. These services include early intervention, anxiety management, and working with schools and psychologists that serve as the liaison between behavioral and psychological care. “As an NP, we do more because we are the connecting piece between all the care delivered. We’re nurses first, and then NPs. We’re there for the patient and the family, which helps us treat the whole picture and not just the specific case. Continuing our personalized care and taking the extra step or making the extra call that’s needed to provide the patient with what they need, especially with kids who need early intervention or have school issues, makes a big difference in their daily lives.”
Being Truly Ambitious inside a large health system means going beyond delivering quality care. It means focus on personalized care that’s more than a quick check-up, and it’s dedicated service that accounts for patients’ whole selves, now and in the future. Andrea’s work is the definition of Truly Ambitious, and we are proud to call her a member of our Northwell Health family.
Variety, autonomy and passion: all in a day’s work as a PA
It’s National PA Week! Whether serving as part of the surgical team in the OR, or providing post-op care, our surgical PAs play a vital role in how we are raising the standard of health care. Read their stories.
Variety isn’t just the spice of life. It’s also a day in the life of a physician assistant (PA) here at Northwell. Whether it’s working alongside surgeons in the operating room, making bedside rounds, reviewing lab results or staying up-to-date on the latest technologies and treatments, PAs play an integral part in patient care.
For Melissa Hoerning, a cardiothoracic critical care surgery PA at Southside Hospital, workdays include formal rounds with the multidisciplinary team, prepping patients for surgery, assisting surgeons throughout thoracic and heart surgeries, and providing post-surgical care for patients in the ICU.
“We’re truly an extension of the surgeon,” says Melissa. “There’s a lot of trust from the surgeons, and that leads to great outcomes.”
Scott Shukri, a PA at the Department of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery at North Shore University Hospital agrees that autonomy and variety are a daily part of his work. His day includes making bedside rounds in the CTU with intensivists following surgery and helping patients with recovery after surgery. Because he’s on the frontline with patients each day, he is often is the first to flag signs or symptoms that require further attention.
Scott also serves as a first assistant to cardiac surgeons during coronary bypass and other cardiac surgeries. In February of this year, he assisted in the operating room for Long Island’s first heart transplant, and he was recently involved with the rollout of “Code ECMO,” to provide extracorporeal membrane oxygenation – the use a of a machine to circulate and oxygenate blood outside the body— to patients who require emergency cardiac and respiratory support.
“The things we’re doing are groundbreaking and exciting,” says Scott. “We’re providing a lot of mechanical support, while continuously making sure that patients are progressing as they should be.”
Becoming a physician assistant
Both Melissa and Scott learned about the role of PA while working on their undergraduate degrees. Melissa shadowed PAs at Southside Hospital to determine if it was the career path she wanted to take and “fell in love” with cardiac thoracic surgery. Scott was drawn to the amount of face-time with patients that PAs have when deciding on his profession.
“There’s so much I can do as a PA,” says Scott. “The surgeons I work with encourage me to perform at my full potential – in and out of the operating room. I value the time the surgeons spend with me honing my skills, and also the direct impact I can make in the care my patients receive.”
Celebrating our physician assistants
National PA Week runs October 6 – 12. During this week and throughout the year, we honor our team of PAs at Northwell who exemplify working Truly Together. If you or someone you know is interested in becoming a PA, explore our open positions.
An Appointment With: Dr. Lewis Teperman and Northwell’s New Liver Transplant Program
Being Truly Innovative is in our blood at Northwell Health, and Dr. Teperman is leading the way in our liver transplant services at North Shore University Hospital. From the start of his Northwell career in 2016, Lewis Teperman, MD, FACS, was helping to lay the foundation for Long Island’s first adult liver transplant program. Housed at NSUH, this program will provide convenient care not only for NSUH’s liver patients but to all patients with liver disease who are currently commuting into Manhattan throughout their long liver transplant process. We sat down with Dr. Teperman in this edition of Appointment With…. to learn more about his career and the new liver transplant program.
What is your career history and why did you decide to continue your career with Northwell Health?
I have been involved in transplant for my entire professional life. While in medical school my roommate’s mother needed a liver transplant and the technology was considered experimental. She was not afforded care and she expired. I have spent the last 35 years of my life helping to make organ transplant access easier for all populations. I was Chief of Transplant at another hospital for the last quarter of a century. It became clear after Hurricane Sandy that their patients were going to remain on Long Island. 45% of the transplant list in the State of New York comes to Northwell’s catchment area so they wanted to start a world class comprehensive Transplant Program. It was a perfect fit for my move.
Can you talk about the new adult liver transplant program being developed at North Shore University Hospital?
Northwell has always needed a Liver Transplant Program and as they say, timing is everything. The state approved our CON application and we have hired world class faculty and support staff. We are building a brand-new state of the art Transplant Intensive Care Unit and intend to open one of the most competitive and innovate programs on the Northeast coast in the first quarter of 2019.
Will this new program offer new career opportunities with Northwell Health?
The foundation of any successful transplant program is Acute Care Practitioners. We are hiring nurses, NPs, PAs, and Social Workers to complement our already outstanding and robust staff. We are looking for SICU registered nurses, inpatient, as well as outpatient, Transplant Coordinators with Transplant and liver experience. We are lucky to have Donna Campbell, NP as our AVP of Transplant who helps supervise our team members. She has been a legend in the Transplant Community and came to Northwell with me from my previous job.
Why should an NPs and PAs be excited to join this program?
We have a culture of innovation, education and warmth. All of our ACPs are afforded the opportunity for a rigorous orientation program and continuous education. New and innovative technologies and care measures are constantly brought to the forefront. The environment is rigorous, collaborative and friendly. They are an integral part of the Transplant Team.
Can you talk about the new state-of-the-art Intensive Care Unit that will be housing the new Adult Transplant Service?
The 8 Tower state-of-the-art transplant ICU is housed at North Shore University Hospital. It has the newest technologies including eICU capability. No expense has been spared, however it is only as good as the outstanding people who work in it.
Getting to North Shore University Hospital and our brand new unit is easy. We are right off the LIE and Northern State Parkway by car and we are easily accessible by train to the Great Neck or Lake Success train stations. From there we offer a free Northwell inter-campus shuttle for our employees. We are also accessible by bus and there’s a stop right at our entrance.
How is this new program helping deliver better care to transplant patients?
The new transplant program relies heavily on coordinators and ACPs. The Transplant Coordinators will be afforded the ability to keep in touch with their patients through our telemedicine initiative. A dedicated outpatient transplant facility was completed in 2017 and houses the transplant clinic.
What’s one fun thing you did this summer?
I held a party for 100 of our employees and their family members in East Marion, NY. The highlight was taking our staff’s kids out on the banana boat!
Written by: Laura Wood, MSN, RN, AGNP-C, Palliative Care, Southside Hospital
While all the other girls in my high school were stressed preparing for their sweet 16, I was handling the stress of preparing for an admission to the hospital. To say living with chronic illness isn’t a struggle would be a lie, but you learn how to adapt when you have no other choice. It was around Thanksgiving in 2005 when I was diagnosed with Lupus (SLE) and Idiopathic Thrombocytopenia Purpura (ITP). Multiple admissions to and from Cohen Children’s Medical Center along with weekly home infusions would cause any 16-year-old to feel angry and hopeless.
The details of my hospital stay are hard to recall but until this day I have never forgotten how the nurses made me feel. The feeling of vulnerability as a patient is difficult to explain until you have personally experienced it. Lonesome, angry, and hopeless; all words to describe the vulnerability overwhelming my emotions.
During my time of despair, I had encountered a nurse who I will never forget. This nurse didn’t know it, but she had changed my life forever. Maybe it was the way she listened to me, made me feel like I wasn’t alone, gave me support, and hope. She made me laugh, made me forget I was sick, and made me remember that despite my situation, I was still a 16-year-old girl who deserved to have fun and celebrate my sweet 16 like every other girl at school.
There was one thing I knew for sure leaving that hospital: I wanted to make others feel how this nurse made me feel during the hardest time in my life. I wanted to be just like her; it was in this moment that I realized my calling: I’m a Nurse and nothing will hold me back.
Fast forward to 2 years later I started my first position at Northwell’s Plainview Hospital as a patient representative in the admitting and discharge office. I spent 4 years in this position while enrolled at Molloy College for my Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing. After graduation I continued to work at Plainview as a Registered Nurse for 7 years while simultaneously achieving my Masters Degree as an Adult and Geriatric Nurse Practitioner from Molloy College.
Today as I look back I’m proud to say I have come a long way since I was in that dark, anger filled, hopeless place from 14 years ago. My current role as a Nurse Practitioner is in Palliative Care and I have never felt so much fulfillment in my life.
Being diagnosed with multiple chronic illnesses, most of which are considered invisible disease, has forced me to push and work harder in order to achieve the same accomplishments as a healthy individual. I always remember back to when I was 16 and how vulnerable I felt – if I have the power to make just one person feel less vulnerable, advocate for them, decrease their pain, and increase their comfort then I have no other option but to continue my calling. Palliative Care is exactly where I belong because I am able to help those who are like myself. In each and every patient I see a reflection of my 16-year-old self staring back at me.
At the end of the day before I lay my head down to sleep I can say with full confidence that what I do with my life isn’t a job, but a calling. Jobs are made with tasks for people to complete, but callings are for people whose task is never complete. The experience of the care is ongoing and is carried with both the nurses and patient for the rest of their lives. Nursing is my calling. I was Made for this.
What’s growing on at Staten Island University Hospital?
Exciting change is on the horizon at Northwell Health’s Staten Island University Hospital (SIUH). Already an award-winning hospital and one of Staten Island’s top employers, SIUH is undertaking several major expansion, renovation and modernization projects in the next few years. When completed, these projects will enable SIUH to provide even more advanced and exceptional care to the dynamic and growing communities of Staten Island. They will also open up exciting, rewarding career opportunities in a wide variety clinical and non-clinical disciplines. Check back often for the latest openings.
Take a look at some of the developments that are in the works:
This project is focused on the creation of an innovative, new hybrid OR. This 1,000 sq. ft. hybrid OR will feature state-of-the-art technology supporting high-level surgery cases, including cardiothoracic surgery, structural heart, vascular and electrophysiology. The room can also be converted to perform any other surgical cases as needed. The project will also involve modernizing staff support areas such as the locker rooms, lounge, and periOperative offices. These enhancements and upgrades within our periOperative spaces will positively impact recruitment for the periOperative fellowship program while enabling SIUH to attract outstanding experienced periOperative RNs.
Brand-new Maternal and Child Health Center
Our new Maternal and Child Health Center will contain state-of-the-art capabilities, including labor and delivery suites, C-section ORs, recovery spaces, and a new postpartum and NICU unit. Within this beautiful setting, patients and their families will enjoy more privacy during their special time. The space is also designed to facilitate closer collaboration for clinical professionals while providing decentralized nursing care with computers/medications in the rooms at the point of care. When completed, the center will include:
10 labor & delivery rooms
Three operating rooms
37 maternity beds
12 nursery bassinets
20 NICU bassinets
Two high risk/hydration bays
Four triage rooms
Five pre-op/recovery rooms
Comprehensive Cancer Center
Expected opening 2021
Designed to consolidate oncology services into a single location, this significant project expands medical oncology, infusion and support services to create a modern, state-of-the-art cancer diagnostic and treatment facility.
Extensive outpatient chemotherapy infusion
Surgical oncology procedures
Radiation seed implementation
Advanced diagnostic technologies
Comprehensive Breast Center
Clinical trials and research
Cancer genetics program
Laboratory services, clinical pathology, cytogenetics, flow cytometry and much more
With all of these innovations and enhancements, RNs remain at the core of the delivery of exceptional patient care at Staten Island University Hospital. Northwell Health provides a wide variety of fellowship programs, internships, externships and ongoing learning opportunities to help nurses continually grow their clinical abilities and expand their career potential.
Calling all NPs and PAs: Meet our brand-new ACP Leadership!
We’re excited to announce our new Advanced Clinical Providers (ACP) initiative at Northwell Health! With the appointment of a new leadership team, innovative structural changes, and an updated approach that joins Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants, we’re excited to share the changes that will bring ACP’s to the next level of employee engagement and patient care. Those new changes start with our recently promoted leadership, Assistant Vice Presidents Jason McGrade, PA and Jennifer Laffey, NP.
The exciting new ACP initiative includes an updated strategy and structure that brings NPs and PAs together. “Both Jason and I came from the same arena where NPs and PAs work together and there was no differentiation as we all shared the goal of providing quality care,” Jennifer explained. Jason elaborated, “We really are aligned in our goal to recruit and develop the talent and qualities of Advanced Clinical Providers. Understanding their individual passion, drive, quality, and acumen.” Senior leadership has appointed ACP physician leaders to each service line to help support and foster growth and alignment amongst our NPs and PAs.
We couldn’t have better individuals leading this change! After graduating as valedictorian from PA school, Jason spent ten years at Lenox Hill Hospital before becoming Chief PA at Manhasset in 2011, where he eventually became Director of his service line. After Jason started his MBA in 2017, he knew he wanted to become involved in creating the design architecture for an ACP community. He’ll get that opportunity in his new role as Assistant Vice President for the ACP’s.
Jennifer started in health care as an ICU nurse before she got her Master’s degree, after which she moved to North Shore University Hospital. There, she found many opportunities to develop her career such as preceptorship, mentorship, leadership and program development. Before moving to Health Solutions where she assumed a leadership position. Jennifer helped develop a team of four ACPs into a multi-disciplinary team of 50 spanning Long Island and began teaching for the Hofstra Northwell School of Graduate Nursing and Physician Assistant Studies NP program. Now, she’s the NP, Assistant Vice President.
When it comes to joining our team of ACPs, there couldn’t be a better time than now!
“This is a great time for growth and opportunity. We are the most supported we’ve ever been and we’re continuing to develop and grow our programs and our staff,” Jennifer said. With a system as vast as Northwell Health, ACPs can achieve career advancement, explore different areas of expertise, work on exciting projects, and enjoy a true work/life balance.
Both Jason and Jennifer see the new ACP strategy as a continuation of Northwell Health’s commitment to the future of health care. “Health care is evolving and health care delivery, access to patient care, and access to service has changed over the years and certainly it’s been identified that PAs and NPs are the best vectors of that high-quality health care delivery,” Jason said. Both professions have experienced tremendous growth with the support from Northwell Health. According to Jennifer, ACP’s are answering a need in the health care community, “The real goal is elevation within the roles and that impacts overall health care delivery. Especially as health care changes and the landscape changes, we fill the gap to deliver the highest quality of care.”
The new ACP vision and initiatives are an exciting new addition to Northwell Health and will have support from the largest health system in New York State (that’s us!). Creating an innovative program like this is a challenge that we’re Made for. Jennifer puts it best, “We are a leader in providing transformational care and management to patients. There are a lot of opportunities to advance.”
Are you Made for redefining how we deliver care? Check back soon for some more exciting announcements about our new ACP initiative.
An Appointment With: Jonathan Sobel, Senior Administrative Director for PA Services
Physician Assistants (PAs) are playing a larger role in defining and delivering outstanding patient care, and Northwell Health is helping to drive some of these changes. At Northwell, advanced clinical providers (ACPs) are greatly valued and given a tremendous amount of autonomy, support and professional respect. Whether PAs are assisting complex hand surgeries on professional athletes or working on cutting-edge bypass procedures to restore cerebral blood flow, their expertise and insight are highly sought after. As a leader within Northwell as well as the overall PA community, Jonathan Sobel is playing a leading role in these exciting developments. He is not only the Senior Administrative Director for PA Services, he is also President Elect at the American Academy of PAs. Get to know Jonathan.
Tell us about your career at Northwell Health.
After graduation, I joined Cohen Children’s Medical Center, caring for pediatric open-heart surgery patients alongside a world-class team of surgeons, cardiologists, and nurses. I then joined the CT Surgery team at LIJ Medical Center and later became the Supervising PA, leading innovations in care, quality improvement, and patient experience. I received leadership training and resources at Northwell’s Center for Learning and Innovation and went on to complete my MBA through the Northwell-Hofstra University partnership. Thanks to Northwell Health, my career has continued to progress. I am currently the Senior Administrative Director for PA Services for our Manhattan campuses.
How are PAs being innovatively utilized at Northwell Health?
At Northwell, we realize the tremendous role that PAs bring to the changing healthcare landscape as we move toward value-based care. We’re integrating PAs into roles where they can increase access to quality, cost-effective care in a highly autonomous way. Our PAs serve in every clinical area and medical specialty. They are a big part of our new cardiac transplant team at North Shore University Hospital and are key members of the robotic surgery program. As we increase our focus on our outpatient facilities, our PAs are right there to be an integral part of caring for these patients and in responding to gaps in the healthcare workforce.
Why is being a PA at Northwell unique?
We recognize the value that PAs bring to the new arena of health care. Our supportive environment includes a dedicated PA Leadership structure with direct linkage to medical leadership. Our PAs participate on medical staff committees and are actively involved in quality improvement initiatives. Their clinical expertise and leadership are highly sought after, creating pathways for advancement into senior leadership. Our neurosurgery PAs are learning cutting-edge bypass procedures to restore cerebral blood flow. In orthopedics, they’re reducing fractures and dislocations in the ED and assisting complex hand surgeries on professional athletes. Our Urology PAs are helping with robotic prostatectomies. PAs in our Vascular Birthmark Institute provide total care for these complex cases.
How does being President-Elect of the AAPA help you shape patient care at Northwell?
I’m involved in national conferences focused on advancing the PA profession, the scope of practice, reimbursement, and much more. I’m helping define where health care and the PA practice is heading in the next five to ten years. I can then apply these strategies to our PA practice here at Northwell.
What career paths are available to a PA at Northwell Health?
There’s no limit to what a PA can do here. They can advance their clinical career from PA to Senior PA and Supervising PA. A Senior PA mentors new PAs and students, participates in quality improvement and helps develop educational programs. A Supervising PA takes on the role of team leader, managing administrative functions. There are opportunities to become an educator, with roles for PA Fellowship Directors and Coordinators. We have PAs who run service lines, hospitals and clinics, PAs working in clinical informatics, and serving on our Joint Ventures team. Our Chief People (HR) Officer is a PA!
What training and development opportunities are available to PAs?
Our orientation programs are robust, tailored to individual PA needs and include the use of state-of-the-art simulators. For ongoing education, our academic medical centers offer directed didactic and clinical skills training. PAs can enhance their surgical skills at our Bioskills lab, or on simulators at our Patient Safety Institute. We also have a vast catalog of courses available both online and in person through The Center for Learning and Innovation. We encourage our PAs to attend national meetings and participate in the governance of their PA societies. Through our partnership with Hofstra, we offer generous support toward advanced academic degrees.
Think you’re Made for this challenge, advancement, and enrichment Jonathan is talking about? Start here.
An Appointment With: Orthopedic Physician Assistant Rachel Zawodzinski
Welcome to An Appointment With, where we sit down one-on-one with our Northwell Health colleagues. Today we’re meeting Orthopedic Physician Assistant (PA) and marathoner, Rachel Zawodzinski.
Why did you choose a career at Northwell Health?
I’m from Buffalo and I wanted to move to the city. I had heard that Northwell Health was a great place to work and that they provide great education to the staff and PAs. Everybody’s happy here because Northwell Health really supports you. Being a Physician Assistant, you learn a lot on the job and since it’s a learning institution with residents and fellows, there’s always an opportunity to learn.
Tell us about your role as an Orthopedic Physician Assistant.
I work with Dr. Hepinstall in adult reconstruction. I started a year ago last April and it was my first job out of PA school! I alternate days between the office and the OR, and in the office I see patients alongside the doctor as well as my own patients. We have an elderly population, as our focus is in total hip and knee replacements. I assist in the OR, which I love. When you are in surgery, you get to see exactly what you’re doing so when patients ask you questions, you can answer them more clearly because you were there — you know what happened. It’s a great environment to experience and learn the best practices.
What should people know about working at Lenox Hill Hospital?
It’s a very close-knit team that we work with regularly which allows us to work together very well. We enjoy each other’s company which also means that we try to make the job as fun as it can be.
How does your job affect your ability to stay active and how does this translate into your work?
One of the hardest things in this field is time management, so it can be hard to maintain an active lifestyle outside of work. I am a runner, so I try to run or work out in the morning before work. When you’re in surgery, you never know how late the day will go. But exercise is something I enjoy and I feel better after doing it — I am a more productive person when I am active, so I prioritize it.
In our field, everyone always wants to achieve something and likes to train for something, whether it be a marathon or to be better in their career. Everyone wants to be the best version of themselves and likes to work toward a goal. We see the complications every day that people can have if they’re not healthy, and that makes you want to be healthy and promote a healthy lifestyle to your patients.
Are you training for a marathon right now?
I continue to run to stay active and plan to do a half marathon in the spring and hope to do another marathon next fall.
What kind of person would be great at being an Orthopedic PA?
Someone who is motivated. A lot of people in ortho are active people and they like the variety between the office and the OR. You have to be flexible and work with change because you can always uncover something unexpected in the OR!
Do you have any advice for people who are looking to become an Orthopedic PA?
It’s a great field to work in and I really love what I do. It’s a great career being a PA in general, so if you want to go down that path, then just work hard and have that goal in mind. When you have the opportunity to learn from the people around you – doctors, techs, nurses – take advantage of it.
We have exciting Orthopedic PA opportunities in new, state-of-the-art facilities in Greenwich Village and Long Island. Like achieving success in a marathon, it starts with one step. Take it here.
Photo: Our Advanced Practice Leadership Council being truly together at a holiday celebration last year
Our NP Leaders – Leading the way for Advanced Practice Nursing
Our Nurse Practitioner leaders are continuously pushing the boundaries to find unique ways to keep our Advanced Practice Nurses engaged. And with over 900 advanced practice nurses in over 17 specializations, they need to. As we rolled out our internal employee promise earlier this year, our leaders came together at the 4th annual Director’s Development Day where they focused on their accomplishments over the year, reflecting on the good and the not so good, as well as goal setting for the System Advanced Practice Leadership Council and workforce for 2018, making sure it’s aligned with our new promise.
Throughout the day they went through different exercises to connect our refreshed values to the work they do every day. As they reflected on how our employees are Truly Compassionate, Truly Ambitious, Truly Innovative, Truly Together and Truly Ourselves, they came up with different ways to recognize our employees who go the extra mile for their colleagues, patients and patient families.
“It is a system wide mission to get over 90% engagement scores by 2020 and we want to be leading the way. This day is just one example of how we are bringing our leaders together to think about how we can keep our employees engaged and happy by connecting them to our employee promise which embodies who we are as an organization and what we want to achieve.” Carol Patrick, Corporate Director of Advanced Practice Nurses
Our leaders focused on strengthening the communication and dissemination strategies within our organization and the groups dialogued about ways to recruit and retain our advanced practice workforce, becoming the employer of choice for Advanced Clinical Providers. Autonomy, team collaboration, value, and recognition were key areas that echoed the sentiments of the advanced practice members in creating action items for successful, and sustainable implementation. Embedding our culture of care and diversity into optimizing accessible, efficient, safe patient centered experiences were unanimously threaded throughout all groups in exploring how we as Advanced Practice Nurses at Northwell Health are truly Made for this.
Becoming a Physician Assistant (PA) is no easy task, but it’s definitely worth it. As we celebrate Physician Assistants Recognition Week we asked some of our employees what their top 3 reasons to become a PA were. Here is what they had to say.
You’ll do something you love every day.
“For the past 33 years, I wake up every day to do something I love – taking care of people and making a difference. This is something that I have wanted to do since a very young age and the profession was quite young at that time. Now with the profession celebrating its 50th anniversary, I can look back and reflect on how happy I am to have been a part of it all of this time and to look forward to at all of the exciting things that are happening in the PA world. We are in a field that is growing exponentially. As the healthcare landscape is changing, so is the need for PA’s.”
-Matthew Shebes, Supervising Physician Assistant, Surgical Services, Long Island Jewish Medical Center
“Within these roles you will have direct contact to patients – in a physical and conversational way. These relationships drive you to come up with the best treatment plans to help them get better.”
-Martin Morales, Corporate Director, Physician Assistant ServicesYou will be challenged, in a good way.
You will be challenged, in a good way.
“Working in medicine is an ever-changing landscape that requires me to be up to date with the medical knowledge, and processes. There is always a challenge and boredom does not exist. I am also heavily involved in PA education. I am an adjunct at the Hofstra Northwell School of Graduate Nursing and Physician Assistant Studies and have been a preceptor for several of the PA programs for many years. To see students that studied under my tutelage go on to graduate and move up to prominent members of the PA profession is extremely rewarding.”
-Matthew Shebes, Supervising Physician Assistant, Surgical Services, Long Island Jewish Medical Center
“The key to any rewarding job is to be challenged. As a Physician Assistant, you are constantly tasked with assessing your patients’ problems and applying curative/preventative measures. The tiniest intervention can greatly improve an individual’s quality of life. Since PA’s are team players who are constantly interacting with various healthcare professionals, you also have the ability to impact your colleagues – whether it be doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists, etc. One of the reasons why I love my job is the interactions I have with my patients, my coworkers and the privilege of influencing an individual’s life.”
-Jane Joseph, Physician Assistant, Mid-Level Providers, North Shore University HospitalFlexibility.
“The PA model has become more autonomous over the years and this allows PA’s to develop exceptional skill in their area of expertise. Also, the ability to have a nice lifestyle, enjoy my family and make a nice living.”
-Matthew Shebes, Supervising Physician Assistant, Surgical Services, Long Island Jewish Medical Center
“The versatility of this career is amazing. You can choose any specialty you want without limitations and you can treat a wide range of patients. There will also be a shortage of PA’s within the next 5 years because demand is high and the schools can’t keep up – job security and compensation will never be better.”
“Physician Assistants have the unique advantage of being able to practice in various medical specialties. This allows us to gain experience and constantly expand our knowledge base. We have the ability to find our niche and stick with it, or change specialties at any point in our career. It provides PAs with a wide range of options, a great job market, and lifelong learning.”
-Jane Joseph, Physician Assistant, Mid-Level Providers, North Shore University Hospital
Q&A with Advanced Practice Nursing Corporate Director, Carol Patrick
Q: How long have you worked for Northwell Health?
A: I have been with Northwell Health via Huntington Hospital since 1981 (35 years), in a variety of capacities, beginning as a Registered Nurse, then working my way up to a Clinical Nurse Specialist in Critical Care, Critical Care Director, Electrophysiology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner. Three years ago, I became the Corporate Director for Advanced Practice Nurses at Northwell Health, and since have been balancing that role as well as allocating a portion of my time as an Electrophysiology Nurse Practitioner.
Q: What does the Nurse Practitioners Council do for our NP’s within the system?
A: Our System NP Director’s Council meets monthly for 2 hours, provides an avenue for advocacy and communication from all of the systems Nurse Practitioners to our leadership. Maximizing the ability of the NP’s to practice to the top of their licensure is the vision and goal of our leaders. The Mission of the System NP Director’s Council is to be the voice of the advanced practice professional, while promoting the highest standards of evidence based, patient centered, quality care. Supporting and promoting excellence in leadership and professional growth within the advanced practice profession is also one of our main priorities.
Q: Can you talk about the opportunities for NP’s throughout our health system?
A: There are multiple opportunities in innovative work environments for the Advanced Practice Nurses at Northwell Health in both the inpatient and outpatient settings – ranging from e-ICU, telestroke, telepsychiatry, to robotic surgery and our newly growing LVAD impantation HF program, liver transplant program, the outpatient Housecalls and Care Solutions team. The opportunities for advanced practice Nurses here are endless – one can create their own vision, construct a viable business plan and strategy, and their dream can come true. Innovative care models are popping up everywhere – advanced illness programs, palliative/ hospice care, acute stepdown units, outpatient clinics/ programs, perioperative NP oversight, which are all NP managed and run. Assessing metrics such as length of stay, infection rates, skin ulcers, CAUTI, VTE occurrences, patient/ family satisfaction, and team communication are amongst the measurements where we shine.
Q: What role do NP’s play here at our hospitals and facilities?
A: The role of NP’s here is directed North – leading the way in independent and innovative practice and patient centered care. Our NP’s serve as advocates for our patients and families, conduits for change and strong collaboration and communication amongst physicians and other health care providers, engaging referrals whenever needed to optimize patient outcomes, and safe efficient transitions throughout the health care continuum.
Q: Why is Northwell special?
A: Our Nurse Practitioner’s are the voice of the patient and families – listening, assessing, prescribing, referring, optimizing, performing, and embracing technological advances in care for the prime focus of utilizing time management and efficiency for what matters most, the patient! Northwell is special because our leadership and supportive administration enables EVERY advanced practice nurse to have a voice. They listen to the staff, and have teams of individuals who evaluate Employee Engagement results, working on plans for success and targeting those areas of deficiencies to improve both employee and patient satisfaction. The wealth of educational and participative opportunities abounds – all one needs to do is have an idea and implement it. We at Northwell provide every advanced practitioner with a professional identity and ongoing professional development that makes us the employer of choice. Interprofessional quality, safety, and the optimal patient experience is a core tenant for our staff to achieve. Our goal is to foster a singular vision for the health system with the ultimate goal of creating a pathway for every Advanced Clinical Provider to work to the top of their license, and have a voice!</
Q: What would you like to say to our NP employees during recognition week?
A: I would like to say THANK YOU for your engagement, enthusiasm, support, and true commitment to high quality, safe, patient centered care. Our time in advanced practice is now – we need to create our destiny in impacting health care, or someone else will do it for us. Get involved with your professional associations, legislative updates, and have a voice in effecting positive change for our providers and patients. The future holds promise and ongoing growth for our significant role in advancing advanced practice nursing. As we celebrate National Nurse Practitioner Week, look at how far we have come, but most importantly – look North – to where we are leading the way in health care transformation.
Q&A with our Corporate Director of Physician Assistant Services, Martin Morales
How long have you worked for Northwell Health?
I started at Long Island Jewish Medical Center 29 years ago before the first merger of Long Island Jewish and North Shore University Hospital. I am still in awe at the great amount of integration that has taken place by way of mergers acquisitions, affiliations and joint ventures resulting in Northwell Health.
Can you talk about your career progression within the health system?
Northwell Health has provided me with a wonderful career ladder, and given me the resources to climb that ladder. I started as a PA supervisor in Medicine in 1988 with 4.6 PA’s on my service. We were so effective that by 1994 we had increased our number 10 fold. Northwell Health supported my efforts to complete a Master’s Degree in Health Administration at Hofstra by providing tuition reimbursement, entered me in our High Potentials Program (HiPo) where I was mentored by Senior Leadership, and entered in the Academy for Health Care Leadership Advancement at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. I am now Corporate Director for 1.200 PA’s across the organization and its Joint Ventures.
Can you speak to the relationship between our Physicians and our Physician Assistants throughout the health system?
Because Physician Assistants didactic training is as demanding as medical school, and PA’s train alongside residents and interns for over 12 months, the physician and PA bond is very strong. This results in a high degree of respect and trust.
What role do PA’s play here at our hospitals and facilities?
Physician Assistants are indispensable here at Northwell Health. They provide care in 21 different specialties at over 22 facilities. They perform physical assessments, diagnose and treat patients, frequently with a high degree of experienced based autonomy. They assist in all areas of Surgery and perform many highly technical procedures with the skill and competencies expected of a physician.
Finish this sentence: Without our Physician Assistant’s, we wouldn’t be able to…..
Without our Physician Assistants, access to care would be impaired with longer wait times in almost any area where care is provided. Physicians would be burdened with taking care of patients with more minor issues, impairing their ability to handle patients needing a higher level of decision making. Procedures for which our PA’s are well qualified would be delayed, resulting in increased length of stay, increased readmission rates and decreased patient satisfaction. Our PA’s are skilled in monitoring patients and applying interventions that result in decreased infection rates and other patient safety related issues.
Please explain why someone would want to be a Physician Assistant here.
Northwell Health holds the highest standards for Physician Assistants.
We require Basic and Advanced Cardiac life Support training as well as continuous National Certification. There is mandated continuing education (100 hours) every two years and periodic National certification Exam (every 6- 10 years). We support advancement in the clinical and administrative arena for PA’s. As the largest employer of Physician Assistants in the country, our PA’s share a collegiality and recognition not found in other geographic areas.
What would you like to say to our PA employees during recognition week?
We attract the top of the class because we train hundreds of Physician Assistants from 8 different programs. It gives us the opportunity to recruit the best of the profession which is well represented by our PA staff. Our Physician Assistants are extremely competent, caring and compassionate and are highly regarded by Nurses, Physicians, ancillary personnel and especially patients. They will continue to be an integral part of our team as organization and healthcare in general evolve further. As I travel to conferences all over the country, the envy from other PA Directors is palpable because we have the best of the PA profession here. I am extremely grateful to all the Physician Assistants here in our organization for their unwavering support all these years.
On behalf of all the leadership at Northwell Health, staff, and patients, we celebrate this time of recognition of your immense contributions. Happy Physician Assistants Recognition Week.
It is the policy of Northwell Health to provide equal employment opportunity and treat all employees equally regardless of age, race, creed/religion, color, national origin, alienage or citizenship status, sexual orientation, military or veteran status, sex/gender, gender identity, gender expression, disability, generic information or genetic predisposition or carrier status, marital status, partnership status, victim of domestic violence, or other characteristics protected by applicable law. Northwell Health leaders, including the CEO, are committed to the principles of Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action.