Continuing to serve as a care coordinator at Northwell’s Military Liaison Services
Before Donald (DJ) St.Clair, LMSW, started his career at Northwell Health, he first served as a Corporal in the US Marine Corps.
It was after his return from service while transitioning to a civilian career, that DJ first began to think about entering the healthcare industry. “Health care is a great opportunity for any veterans who are exiting the service as it will continue to give you a sense of purpose,” says DJ. “There is a sense of accomplishment because we are able to give back to the very community we served during our time in the military.”
With the encouragement and help of a social worker in the Office of Veterans Affairs, DJ continued his education to become a Licensed Master Social Worker to pursue a goal of being able to help veterans and their families. With his help, DJ was able to obtain benefits he didn’t know he had access to –something he’s able to pay forward in his new role as care coordinator within Northwell’s Military Liaison Services.
Transitioning from his role as a social worker at Long Island Jewish Medical Center, DJ is now in a unique position to combine his clinical experience and time in the military to provide support to other veterans. As care coordinator, DJ works to help service members, veterans, and their families access Northwell’s healthcare and community services, as well as assists them with connecting with local resources for additional support. It is the exact kind of role he hoped for when he started a career in mental health.
“Physical and mental health are very important in the well-being of everyone, but especially the veteran population,” says DJ. “There are a great number of benefits that the veteran population might not know about and I’m able to connect them to these important resources. I’m happy for the opportunity to give back to my brothers and sisters.”
Along with offering peer-to-peer guidance, DJ takes pride in being able to connect veterans to things such as service-connected disability benefits, education benefits, and a support system of organizations that are willing to help veterans transition back into the civilian world, such as Northwell Health.
And being a former veteran himself, DJ knows firsthand what it’s like to be in their position as they return home or to civilian life. It makes him uniquely qualified to connect with those who need it and to help them figure out their next steps.
“It can be a challenge to work through the common stigma around veterans that reaching for help means you are weak,” explains DJ. “In my role, I’m able to create a bond with them in a short time and explain that this assistance isn’t much different than being together in the military. The same way we rely on each other while in the service to have each other’s backs, they can rely on me here.”
Make the transition to a civilian career with Northwell Health. Learn more about our commitment to veterans.
Making the transition from clinical care to healthcare administration
Christian Jocelyn always knew he wanted to work in the healthcare industry so he could help others. He was uncertain which career path to take, so he became an emergency medical technician (EMT) after college, which provided him with his first healthcare career opportunity delivering frontline care. His career journey at Northwell over the years brought Christian to his current role as director of operations in the Department of Neurosurgery at North Shore University Hospital (NSUH).
A few years after starting his career journey as an EMT, Christian became a paramedic and began to get involved in performance improvement projects. These projects not only helped leadership realize Christian’s potential and that lead him to be promoted to paramedic supervisor. This also helped Christian discover where he wanted his Northwell career to go.
“In my role as a supervisor, I was responsible for the day-to-day field operations for one of the largest hospital-based EMS departments in the country. I had the opportunity to view the health system through a unique lens,” says Christian. “I came to understand the importance of caring for patients across all care settings and the strength of an integrated healthcare delivery system. This experience motivated me to go back to school and obtain my Masters in Health Administration and to begin the transition from clinician to administrator.”
While working toward his master’s degree, Christian transitioned out of EMS into a role as a manger of Financial and Operations Management at NSUH. It was this administrative foundation along with his education that enabled Christian to develop the skills he needed for his current role as director.
At Northwell, Christian has been able to build a rewarding career that utilizes his skills on the frontline to impact patient care through operations. Christian enjoys being able to take his experience and understanding of care outside of the hospital into designing programs within the hospitals. It is an opportunity he feels he was able to reach thanks in part to the mentors who supported his transition from clinical care to the administrative side of healthcare by removing barriers and helping him tap into his potential.
“One of the most important factors in my growth at Northwell has been my good fortune to have excellent mentors and sponsors along the way,” says Christian. “These individuals invested time, effort, and energy in me. They have set the example of what it means to be a leader and have provided the foundation I continue to build my career on. I would not be in the role or the person I am now without the expectational guidance and support by my mentors at Northwell.”
And for those looking to make a similar transition as Christian, he offers the advice of focusing on developing meaningful relationships in the organization and to not be afraid of taking risks. “Make it a point to collaborate with folks in other departments, step outside of your comfort zone and learn about a part of the organization that is unfamiliar to you,” he advises. “The beauty of Northwell is that we touch the entire continuum of care and with that comes an unparalleled learning opportunity.”
Discover a career well cared for at Northwell Health. Apply today!
Meet respiratory therapist and healthcare hero, Emily Shi
The dedication of our respiratory care team at Northwell Health is indescribable, especially during the unprecedented times of COVID-19. Our respiratory therapists deliver vital care through their hard work, teamwork and compassion. This week we celebrate Respiratory Therapist Appreciation Week and recognize our extraordinary team members.
Meet Yang (Emily) Shi, assistant director of Respiratory Therapy at North Shore University Hospital (NSUH). Emily has grown in her career at Northwell since she started as a Respiratory Therapist in 2006 on the NICU unit at NSUH. Specializing in neonatal and adult critical care, Emily has developed a skillset that lets her explore many career opportunities and advance her knowledge as a respiratory therapist.
In her current role, Emily oversees the day-to-day operations of the Respiratory Therapy department which includes team management, projects and patient care. To further her education and management skills, she is currently pursuing her MBA in Management and Leadership with the assistance of the Northwell’s tuition reimbursement program.
Respiratory therapists have always been a vital part of the healthcare system, but when COVID-19 peaked the need for respiratory team members grew rapidly. During this time respiratory therapists worked tirelessly to save their patients’ lives and Emily and her team had to rethink the way they cared for their patients on ventilators, prioritize their resources and learn how to keep their patients and colleagues safe.
“It has been stressful yet rewarding to work as a respiratory therapist throughout the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Emily. “Nothing makes me prouder than seeing a patient being liberated from ventilator or oxygen support and seeing them go home to their loved ones. I am proud to work at Northwell Health because it is an organization that provides quality, innovative care and is invested in the well-being of their communities and team members.”
Thank you to all of Northwell’s respiratory therapy healthcare heroes today and every day. Join the respiratory therapist heroes at Northwell Health.
The rewarding work of a surgical technologist at Northwell Health
The work of surgical technologists in our operating rooms is a vital part of the perioperative services at Northwell Health. Working alongside our surgeons and nurses, surgical technologists who prepare our operating rooms, arrange equipment, and help team members during surgeries. This Surgical Technologist Appreciation Week and every day, we celebrate our team members.
Meet Jason Dizon, a surgical technologist at Plainview Hospital who is just one of these integral team members keeping our operating rooms running smoothly and ensuring patient safety every step of the way.
Jason has as a surgical technologist at Plainview Hospital for almost five years, but his love for the operating room has him planning to stay until he retires. Working in surgery means his job is never mundane, and each case brings him a new opportunity to learn. Innovative surgeries in our hospitals also provides the chance for Jason to grow his skills as he helps prepare the OR with cutting-edge technology and works as a member of the surgical team.
At Plainview Hospital, Jason focuses mostly on orthopedic cases, such as total joint replacements or spine cases, but has been able to experience work on a variety of specialties. “I have grown a lot working at Plainview Hospital,” says Jason. “We have great leadership that supports us and it’s a great place to work because we are able to learn from a diverse group of team members.”
And within his role, Jason also develops his skillset by helping to teach others. “Teaching and speaking with surgical technologist students and nursing students helps me improve my communication skills,” says Jason. “It’s taught me to always use patience and understanding as students grow in their skills.” Working with the enthusiastic students and helping to teach them about working in perioperative services is one of Jason’s favorite parts of his job. With perioperative services not often focused on in schools, Jason is there for what is often the first look these students get into an operating room. It’s an eye-opening experience he values being a part of.
But it’s not the only responsibility that makes Jason so passionate about what he does. “I love my job. I love science and health, and as a surgical technologist, I’m able to learn every day about the human body and how it functions. To see firsthand how we heal patients and take care of them is very rewarding.”
Interested in a surgical technologist career at Northwell? Apply today!
Northwell Health’s Center for Emergency Medical Services (CEMS) team members often provide the first line of care to patients in the neighborhoods and communities we serve. Abdo Nahmod, assistant vice president of CEMS Operations, has helped to lead the team through both rewarding and challenging times since starting five years ago.
We sat down with Abdo to talk about CEMS initiatives on the horizon and the exciting job opportunities within the team:
How has CEMS grown over the past year?
CEMS has been progressively growing in providing quality pre-hospital care to more of the communities we serve. Over the past year we have expanded our services in Nassau and Suffolk counties and New York City, as well as added a Northwell Health Centralized Transfer Center to manage inter-facility patient transfers through the CEMS Communication Center.
We have also collaborated with Northwell’s Center for Learning and Innovation (CLI) to provide our team members with paramedic training opportunities. This is an investment in our team members, as we promote from within emergency medical technicians to paramedics, providing career opportunities for advancement and retention. This past year we also supported many team members who choose to further their clinical and post-graduate education with Northwell’s tuition reimbursement program.
How has the work of CEMS been vital to our organizations and communities during the COVID-19 pandemic?
During COVID-19, CEMS has provided emergency medical care throughout the seven counties we serve. We have seen a surge in EMS call volume for critically ill patients, providing life-saving treatments and transportation to many hospitals. CEMS had transferred over 900 COVID -19 patients throughout Northwell for continued care in March and April. We are also working with Northern Westchester Hospital’s community services team to be part of the COVID -19 testing at faith-based venues, and we will be collaborating with the FDNY for 311 and 911 telemedicine services in the near future.
What exciting initiatives are on the horizon for CEMS?
We are looking forward to the expansion of our Centralized Transfer Center, collaborating with FDNY in New York City for 311 & 911 Telemedicine services. CEMS continues to be a highly engaged workforce with a culture of teamwork and recognition. We view every challenge as an opportunity, and seek feedback while relentlessly pursuing what is best. We prize curiosity, creativity and innovation.
What careers exist within the CEMS team?
We have over a dozen job titles within CEMS such as, emergency medical technicians, paramedics, communications specialists, ambulance supply associates, flight paramedics, flight nurses, ambulance record associates, staffing schedule associates and various supervisory and leadership titles.
Our team continues to be a highly engaged workforce with a culture of teamwork and recognition. We view every challenge as an opportunity, and seek feedback while relentlessly pursuing what is best. We prize curiosity, creativity and innovation. The expectation is everyone learns, develops and becomes better. Our culture promotes self-development, ongoing education and career growth and advancement. Our reputation is everyone’s responsibility.
What career advice do you have for those looking to get into Emergency Medicine Services (EMS)?
My best advice is to volunteer in EMS in your community and see if this is something you enjoy enough to pursue as a career. EMS may be a gateway to opportunities within healthcare to other clinical and non-clinical opportunities.
Delivering specialized respiratory care in a new unit at Northern Westchester Hospital
As the battle against COVID-19 continuously evolves, so does the care Northwell Health teams are delivering to our patients. With the shift to recovery, Northwell has opened two specialized, acute ventilator recovery units (AVRUT). The new unit at Northern Westchester Hospital (NWH) and its sister unit at Glen Cove Hospital will provide focused rehabilitation to patients recovering from COVID-19.
Physicians, nurses, respiratory therapists (RTs), dietitians and physical therapists (PTs) will all work together in these units for 24/7 care. Within these converted units, team members will have the specialized medical equipment and other essential items needed for the recovering intensive care patients who received tracheotomies in order to receive mechanical ventilator care.
Within these new units, respiratory therapists will play an essential role delivering around-the-clock ventilator and tracheotomy care. RTs will work alongside PTs to help their patients in need of ventilator weaning physical, occupational and speech therapy. The work of these team members helps wean patients off ventilators and helps this special patient population recover from their illness as they transition to a more traditional rehab facility.
This dedicated care has already seen success as patients are getting up and walking quicker than ever according to Pete Sequinot Jr., RRT, manager of Respiratory Care, Sleep Center and Pulmonary Rehab at NWH.
“Northwell Health is the best place for respiratory therapists to work,” says Pete. “At Northern Westchester Hospital, our average is 12 years of service. Northwell is always trying new things in respiratory care and administration truly listens to our ideas and concerns. Respiratory therapists come here and they feel like their voices are heard at all times.”
By creating these units for more specialized care, team members are not only helping patients recover but alleviating stress from Northwell’s ICUs. These new units mean patients can be transferred out of the ICU, allowed more critical care team members to return to their normal operating conditions.
The respiratory therapists and other AVRU team members continue to help patients recovering from COVID-19, providing regular consultation to asses recovery goals and next steps. Together they’re helping patients recover alongside our communities.
“At the end of the day, I would go into war with this team. They exceeded all expectations throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and showed that they are all team players. I am so proud of them and consider them family. If you want the best possible care for your loved ones, come here to Northwell and Northern Westchester Hospital.”
Volunteering at a COVID-19 testing center in Manhattan was challenging yet rewarding
Written by: Chandra Bishun-Freeman, Senior Medical Assistant, Northwell Health Cardiology Upper East Side
My experience during theCOVID-19 pandemichas been surreal yet terribly real. It has turned our world upside down. Life has changed—under different rules, protocols, even regulations. Like many others, this surreal experience started quickly for me.
For nearly every day of my married life, my husband would stop whatever he was doing to greet me at the door with a warm hello and a kiss when I came home. Our dog also sits patiently by the door, waiting to play. That was all gone in a matter of a few days.
Coming home after work, I run straight to the sink to wash my hands and change my clothes and shower. I greet my husband with an elbow bump. No more kissing or embracing. Our dog has to wait, sadly looking at me until I can give her attention. Since I was not sure if I was working with COVID patients at Northwell Health Cardiology, I followed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations to practice social distancing at home. Bringing the virus home was a real fear, especially working in health care and traveling on subways and buses.
I’ve been at this cardiology practice for more than seven years, where I’ve focused on providing high quality patient care and support to my coworkers. I am a health care professional and a team player. I did not have a shred of doubt about my role. It is our calling, even if it means working outside normal routines. And in early March, I volunteered to work in one of Northwell’s hospitals that was most affected by COVID-19.
In about a week, I was redeployed to Northwell’s COVID-19 Testing Center on East 76th Street for four weeks in April. I was grateful to work on the front lines despite being fearful for my wellbeing and potentially bringing the virus home. Trying to fall back on my professional training, I ventured out in mask, gloves and worked six days each week, taking the nearly empty bus and train to and from work every day. As odd as this might sound, this was the work that I desperately wanted to do.
At the testing center, we performed nasal swab and blood testing for COVID-19 serology antibodies. The newly formed staff at the facility started training for nasal swabbing by practicing on one another. I was nervous knowing that someone would be putting a long and thin swab up my nose. I was only thinking about the pain and discomfort. Suddenly, I was a patient and a swabber-in-training. Having a swab inserted was the most uncomfortable feeling, but a necessary evil considering the circumstances. Doing it myself allowed me to calm patients and perform the test with precision and efficiency.
Despite the oversized white suit (PPE), I was still fearful of catching COVID-19. Most seven-hour days were spent in an isolation suit, along with a mask, gloves and face shield. What I remember most is how much I had to breathe my own bad breath. Coffee, onions, a bit of everything that went into my mouth would become something I inhaled for the rest of the day. As a swabber, my role was to stand in a room behind a plexiglass separation/protection to perform nasal swabbing. We treated every patient the same—assume they have COVID-19. Some patients came in with a fever. Others were very flush in the face. I remember one patient said to me “please don’t stand close to me. I am coughing and sick. I might be COVID positive.” Every patient, every moment was a heightened state of stress, focus and engagement.
Three days into working at the testing center, my husband told me my color was off. Most likely, I thought, because of wearing a mask, recirculating my own exhale for more than 12 hours. In another week, I had symptoms—runny nose, achy body and a cough.
Still, I enjoyed every moment working at the testing center, especially my colleagues. We made the best of the situation, offering light jokes to keep in the right mindset. During the four weeks working there, I met people from all over the health system. Leadership from Lenox Hill Hospital brought Bombas socks for each employee one day. There were free bagel breakfasts each Monday at another site across the city. Many of the patients I saw at the center were appreciative and thankful of the work I was doing, too, even those who indicated they felt ill and might be COVID positive. Although they were hidden behind their masks I could see how they genuinely felt by just looking at their eyes.
The long hours can wear on you. Waking up early was a part of it, considering I took an early train and crosstown bus to get there. I also volunteered to work 12-hour shifts on Saturdays. After the first Saturday, which followed a 40-hour week, every bone in my body ached, only remedied by a warm bath with Epsom Salt and an 8 p.m. bedtime.
By then, the mild symptoms I experienced a few days earlier worsened. My husband told me he had diarrhea and shortness of breath. Anxiety rose as I now was tested and eagerly anticipated the results while staying home. He and I pretended everything would be fine. And each day, each email or phone call, he would ask “is that the test result?” Luckily, I tested negative, a stress relief like no other. My husband and I kissed and hugged for the first time in what felt like weeks.
I also earned a recognition award from Northwell for working the front lines. Even with the fear of risking my own life, the sweat trickling down my body in the isolation suit, working the long hours, riding the early morning trains alone, without an ounce of doubt I would do this all over again. It was the right thing to do. But, in honesty, it will take the effort of thousands of front line workers who work each day to mitigate the impact of this pandemic. It’s a challenge worth fighting.
Behind the Mask: Working as a Respiratory Therapist during the COVID-19 pandemic
Written by: Drew Devlin, RRT, LRCP, Director, Respiratory Care / Sleep Lab / Pulmonary Rehab, Southside Hospital
To say that the respiratory care team was instrumental throughout the COVID-19 pandemic would be an understatement. Although the respiratory care team has always been critical in patient care, it was in this pandemic battling a respiratory virus that the team had a moment to shine, and that is just what they did. Our respiratory therapists have touched every patient in one way or another by providing oxygen, running blood gasses, participating in intubations, managing ventilators, transporting patients to CT scans, and from emergency rooms to other critical care units. We have also been part of the process to meet the challenges of converting noninvasive ventilators into units that were now able to provide invasive applications. This team has truly been front and center playing a large part in caring for our patients during this period in an innovative way.
As the leader of the respiratory care team, I am truly proud of the work they did and how they stepped up to the plate during this difficult time of need. In order to deliver care during the outbreak, the work of the team evolved quickly and continued to change throughout the pandemic. Essentially, our normal process and daily responsibilities were completely revamped to adjust to the high volume of patients and the level of care we were providing to our patients. New policies, processes and protocols were developed rapidly and the respiratory care team was able to play a crucial role in the strategy and development of the new responsibilities. With respiratory therapists being so vital due to the nature of the illness, it gave them a great sense of purpose to be able to step in and provide their expertise. These healthcare heroes were truly able to make a major difference.
Respiratory care team members used posters to leave inspiring messages to each other throughout the pandemic.
Throughout stressful work conditions and long hours, team members found moments of hope and motivation by standing united together. I watched as they came to work every day with pain in their eyes and concern in their hearts for their patients, their colleagues, and their families, and yet they continuously provided the best care possible. There was camaraderie and collaboration throughout the whole process, and they really showed each other what it meant to not only be a team, but a family. To keep our spirits up, we would take time to share positive results of patients and track successful outcomes even after they left our care. There was also constant communication through emails, text messages, and postings on the walls throughout the department including pictures of the team hanging up as a constant reminder that we were all in this together. I also looked for articles on motivation to provide to the team and had the Chaplin come speak to the team in an effort to provide hope during this difficult time.
As a team, we also tried to talk about our experiences and share what we were going through to help each other out and know that we were not in this alone. We also brought in additional resources in the form of respiratory therapists from outside of the organization, to provide extra support and helping hands. This also enhanced motivation amongst the team because there was a realization that we were in a global battle, us versus the virus, and our best chance was to have all hands on deck and work together as a united team with respiratory therapists from near and far. It was also comforting and reassuring to see frequent visits from the senior leadership team to see how the team was doing, ask if there was anything we needed and how they could assist in any way.
The whole respiratory team exceeded expectations during this time, and I know this experience has made them stronger and even better than before. Each and every person on this team is my hero and we always consider ourselves a team and a family. Together, through this experience, they rose to the occasion and I am proud of the entire team for the work they have done and the care they have provided.
Written by: Elisa Vicari, LCSW, North Shore University Hospital
Staying in touch with families of COVID-19 patients have strengthened bonds and helped provide compassionate care against the odds.
As a social worker in the Intensive Care Unit at North Shore University Hospital, I’ve become immune to people passing away. Death is an unfortunate part of the job because we are treating the sickest patients.
COVID-19, though, was quite different for me and my colleagues.
During the patient surge in late March, we were caring for otherwise healthy 20- and 30-year-olds who were unaware of their surroundings and had no business being intubated. These are previously independent individuals who have been abruptly put on life support. This is the heartbreak the coronavirus leaves.
Adding to the complexities of this situation, visitation was restricted and patients in our unit were unable to speak to their families. This didn’t sit well, so I adapted my practice and refocused my efforts to find a solution. A quick Instagram post asking my friends and followers for one iPad donation turned into more than 20 and about $11,000 in community support—the true power of social media. Their assistance has allowed us to set up every unit within the hospital and other facilities in the area with iPads, which have been critical to helping us connect with families.
Not everyone is comfortable going into patient rooms. It’s a personal choice that must be made, one that I did not struggle with. A social worker’s role is to connect and assist, and the iPads have openednew roads to make important video callswhere we could show not just a patient’s condition, but the entire room and care team.
In the ICU, patients are mostly intubated. Finding close connections has been challenging. Instead, we have grown closer to families, FaceTiming with them every other day for status updates, learning nicknames, favorite songs and of their pets who await them at home. They’ve sent pictures so we can build collages and fill their rooms with love. I feel like I’ve become a part of these families just by holding the screen for them.
In some end-of-life circumstances, visitors have been allowed to see their loved ones in their final moments. We’ve been there to help them with personal protective equipment (PPE), addressing their fears and coping with their situation. Some are able to hold their family member’s hand for the first time in weeks. We are also assisting with funeral arrangements, which are very different than usual with increased wait times. It’s overwhelming, physically taxing and mentally exhausting. But it’s worth it. I couldn’t imagine being on the other side, watching the terrible images on the news of beds being piled up and not knowing if my loved one is OK. Showing families that our patients are in private rooms and we are helping them has given them tremendous comfort.
When patients fail, I feel it more than I used to because I’ve grown closer to them and their families. Our conversations aren’t just based on medical concerns, rather vulnerable situations that I’ve now been welcomed into.
It’s bittersweet. When things go well, they go well. But when they don’t, it’s devastating. At the heart of it, we deliver personalized, patient-centered and compassionate care, pandemic or no pandemic. COVID-19 may have tested our mettle and capabilities, but we have survived thanks in part to the camaraderie between us and families. We have all met this challenge with innovation, compassion and integrity. I really admire the people I work with who have stepped up. Teamwork is everything, knowing we will get through this together.
Delivering moments of peace on the front line with Tranquility Tents
As the rest of the nation stayed home to help flatten the curve of the COVID-19 pandemic, our healthcare heroes at Northwell Health continued to come in each day, fighting against the outbreak on the front lines of our hospitals. Their unwavering dedication and commitment to keeping our communities healthy had them delivering compassionate care, no matter the circumstances.
Seeing firsthand the tireless work of our team members, Northwell leadership immediately understood the importance of reflecting that same compassion back to our team members to meet their mental, physical and emotional needs. Working in health care, so much of your day can be devoted to giving to others and forgetting to take time for yourself. Our Employee Engagement team partnered with Human Resources, Wellness, Chaplaincy and Employee Assistance Program (EAP) teams across our health system and created Tranquility Tents at all of our hospitals to give team members a place to press pause.
These Tranquility Tents are designated spaces for our team members to find moments of peace and reflection, to recharge as they continue to push through these days to care for patients who need it the most. Beyond offering respite, these centers provide access and information for all the resources Northwell has to support them through this unprecedented time. Whether it’s a tired nurse looking for a quick recipe to make dinner after a long shift or a team member in need of 1:1 counseling with a behavioral health representative after a loss of a patient, Northwell’s Tranquility Tents have what they need.
EAP members are on site to help team members talk through what emotional support they might need along with providing printouts of the diverse resources offered. Wellness posters provide new tips each week including meditation guides, recipes and stretching suggestions to ensure our team members are taking care of themselves physically as well as emotionally. The Chaplaincy team performed blessing of the hands, hosted prayer circles, and created prayers and messages to deliver words of encouragement and to connect with team members spiritually.
“The Tranquility Tent started as an idea and a vision from our corporate HR partners and has truly taken on a life of its own in terms of providing emotional, mental, physical and spiritual support for our healthcare heroes,” says Lisa Khavkin, VP of Human Resources at Huntington Hospital. “They have become a place our team can rely on to find a shoulder to cry on, a place to pray, to stretch, listen to music, or paint a stone to memorialize their feelings. While the journey is still ahead of us all, the tranquility tent has become a place of solace and healing.”
Along with support resources, our Tranquility Tents also offer opportunities for team members to take self-care moments. From hiring a barber to give haircuts to arranging for live music to be played, our Tranquility Tents are becoming safe havens for team members to feel good together.
Other activities at the tents may include:
Gratitude Rock Gardens: a therapeutic exercise for team members to reflect on what they’re thankful for during this time, memorializing their thoughts and gratitude while painting rocks to add to the site garden.
Nametag Making Stations: where team members can design their own nametags to help bring a human element back to their personal protective equipment (PPE).
Message of Hope Boards: a reflective exercise for team members to add inspirational messages while reading the heartfelt sentiments other team members have left behind.
Color by Number Art Installations: that are allowing our Northwell team to ‘leave their mark’ by coloring in this interactive art piece. This small moment of art therapy will also transition into a lasting legacy of the impact they’ve had as the art is displayed at each site upon completion.
As we move forward as an organization from fighting against COVID-19 to recovery, these spaces will transform to continue to provide the resources our team needs. “Tranquility spaces will become permanent places within our facilities to enhance the recovery and resilience of our team members. We must continue to adapt our offerings to meet the needs of our team members” says David Gill, AVP of the HR Employee Experience team. As part of this commitment to support, a well-being survey was sent to all our team members to gain insight on what they need not just today, but in the future. This feedback is being utilized by a well-being work group that will continue to evolve the resources available to ensure our organization feels engaged and together.
Though our team members are facing an unprecedented battle on the front lines, we know that we can heal and move forward to a brighter future Truly Together.
Five reasons why you should choose a Perioperative career at Northwell Health
Perioperative services at Northwell Health are growing fast, and with growth comes a wide range of career opportunities. For qualified nurses looking to enter the field, perioperative careers offer a unique chance to be hands-on and collaborate with other dedicated health care professionals working together to have a direct impact on the lives of their patients. While there are many reasons for joining Northwell in a perioperative career, we’ve provided five reasons why this path is a great decision for anyone looking to make an impact in nursing.
You’ll learn new skills with the most innovative technologies.
As new technologies emerge and the need for more advanced care grows, Northwell provides many opportunities to learn new skills, utilizing state-of-art-technology so perioperative nurses can ensure the highest quality of care for their patients. The latest technology can improve outcomes with greater precision and less invasive procedures, and therefore, increase recovery times, especially in robotic surgery, which has become a trusted method for many of our surgical procedures including cardiac, GYN, ENT, thoracic, neurosurgery, heart and liver transplants, and many more.
Your skills and knowledge will grow along with your career opportunities.
At Northwell Health, perioperative nurses have access to unlimited clinical resources and educational opportunities designed to help them advance their careers. Nurses can engage in peer learning, career progression and certification programs that encourage their growth and provide support at every level in their journey. Just ask Karen Rowan, MSN, NPD-BC, CNOR, director of System Perioperative Education at Northwell. As an RN in the operating room, she was happy in her career, but she felt there was more she could do. She wanted to use her skills to teach so when the opportunity presented itself to be a clinical nurse educator, she took it.
Making a move into an educator position presented her with opportunities that would prove to be a catalyst in her success. “This position allowed me to participate in leading the OR fellowship, orientation program and simulations,” she says. Northwell also gave her the opportunity to present two podium presentations at two national conferences. “I have the opportunity to share my passion of perioperative nursing with nursing students,” she says. It’s not only the students who benefit from Karen’s passion, the OR Fellowship is a great opportunity for both new grad nurses and floor nurses looking to get into perioperative careers. And the patients do as well, making her career journey even that much more rewarding. Karen and her Corporate Perioperative Education team continue to build unique educational opportunities and experiences for new and existing perioperative nurses
You’re Made for delivering award-winning care.
Year after year, Northwell Health is recognized for the care our team delivers to patients. Northwell was the first in the nation to receive the Network of Excellence in Robotic Surgery designation from Surgical Review Corporation. Our cardiac surgery programs have been ranked by the Department of Health (DOH) among the best in New York State with cardiology programs being recognized by Healthgrades as America’s 100 best heart programs. And beyond the award-wining care for our patients is the award-winning care for our team members! This year, Northwell ranked as one of Fortune’s “100 Best Companies to Work For®,” the only health care provider in New York State to do so in 2020.
You’ll have strength in numbers. Teamwork is what we’re all about.
No matter the discipline, each role within Northwell’s organization works together to accomplish the same goal, to redefine health care. You’ll gain support across a collaborative network of team members, from surgical technologists and registered nurses to physicians, physician assistants, anesthesiologists, CRNAs, and even central sterile processing technicians. The dedicated team’s combined experience means the delivery of groundbreaking outcomes for each patient that comes through the doors, and you’ll play a vital role.
Your career will be guided and supported by leaders who inspire your success.
As Kelly Cifu, MSN, RN, and Vice President of System Perioperative Services, explains, “The perioperative leaders at Northwell are committed to continual improvement, teamwork, achievement, and obtaining the best results possible for our patients.” The result of that is double fold as it also impacts the careers of those delivering care. Take Kelly for example. She started her career 15 years ago in the operating room and today she oversees 18 perioperative sites within our network. During her career journey, she gained critical support and mentorship from her leaders who created a trusting, collaborative environment that positioned her for success.
Northwell Health is proud to spotlight our front line health care workers. See how Northwell clinicians – doctors and nurses – are responding and working on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic.Read their stories here.
After graduating early from the Zucker School of Medicine, Alison Laxer, MD, is entering the effort to care for COVID-19 patients.
March 25 is a day I will never forget. Not because I celebrated my birthday with my family, but because I learned something that would change my life forever.
Late that Wednesday evening, I received a message about a Zoom virtual meeting withLawrence Smith, MD, MACP, dean of the Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine, where I was well into my fourth year. We usually don’t have meetings with the dean like this, but under the current circumstances, anything was possible. Dr. Smith told us we are graduating early and have the option to join the fight against thecoronavirus.
My parents, who are both physicians, were nervous. And rightfully so. Who would want their child to voluntarily be exposed to COVID-19? But they understood and would’ve taken the opportunity to do the right thing if they were in my situation. We are physicians after all. This is what we signed up for.
My boyfriend, Alexander Smith, MD, who is also in my class, had similar feelings about the decision — he said we can be a part of history. We both decided independently, and it was never a question of if to do it, but when do we start?
The truth is, I will start in a few days. I finished virtual training earlier this week. Fear. Excitement. Concern. There’s a wide range of emotions flowing. We know we won’t see our families. We know we should avoid highly populated places like grocery stores. But we also know that we can help make a difference for so many struggling with the pandemic.
They say your fourth year of medical school is supposed to be a glorious time. Alex and I had plans to go to Europe, then the Caribbean, then to my cousin’s home in Chicago. It was supposed to be a time to really relax and rest before starting my residency at Cohen Children’s Medical Center. It’s strange that I will be spending this time at a hospital rather than a beach. But if this is what is needed, I’m going.
To say I’m scared would be an understatement. This is something we have never done before and I think I’m more nervous about not being very helpful. I know Northwell has plenty of personal protective equipment. And I can see the camaraderie among staff who are celebrated and sharing their experiences in the media. I just want to play my part.
This virus has touched so many lives. I never thought being a doctor was a hazardous profession, not like a firefighter or policewoman. But we will be exposed and our mission has never been greater. Hopefully, this will encourage more people to go into medicine.
Developing clinical careers through learning and innovation
At Northwell Health, we understand our role in building stronger, healthier communities and the value of the dedicated experts our patients trust in delivering their care. Our biggest assets are our employees and we are committed to our team members’ growth as they contribute to ours.
Northwell’s Center for Learning and Innovation (CLI) serves our growing workforce of 72,000 employees and offers continuous learning and development programs to meet the needs of our changing health system. CLI has worked to contribute to the preparedness of our organization by helping to ensure our clinical and non-clinical team members have the skills they need to be successful.
The Center for Learning and Innovation uses hands-on, interactive approaches to help guide employees through educational classes and best practices, including games, reflective debriefing, interactive technology, and simulations that enhance their profession and the care they deliver. In 2019, CLI had a total of 61,888 learners in attendance, which equated to over 301,445learner hours. Programs can vary in length from a few hours to a few months and span the personal, professional, and leadership domains.
With so many classes offered to our clinical and non-clinical team members, there’s a lot to highlight. Read below to learn about the programs CLI offers focusing on clinical growth and development. Stay tuned for our future blog highlighting the courses that foster non-clinical development!
The Clinical Skills Center
Providing a safe, structured, and standardized learning environment, The Clinical Skills Center allows healthcare professionals to reach beyond the clinical diagnosis and engage in a more humanistic way to care for patients. We use standardized patients (SPs), who are specially trained team members, for both clinical and non-clinical simulated encounters. The SPs are specifically educated to portray patient scenarios for the instruction and assessment of the clinical skills of medical professionals within our network.
Programs are customizable to meet the needs of our diverse community, and curriculum-specific goals are created to teach our team members while applying the industry’s best practices.
The Patient Safety Institute (PSI)
Outside of real patient simulation, we also incorporate high fidelity simulator training at the Patient Safety Institute (PSI). PSI is the simulation center for Northwell Health, the Hofstra Northwell School of Graduate Nursing and Physician Assistant Studies, and the Zucker School of Medicine. Its mission is to support the workforce by creating a realistic training environment where clinical teams can simulate real-life scenarios so individuals gain increased hands-on experience. This training makes use of advanced clinical mannequins which allow participants to develop an in-depth knowledge of patient care without practicing on human patients.
With the help of innovative technology, the PSI team can facilitate multiple patient care scenarios such as a multi-trauma simulation for a pediatric patient, the complicated birth of a preemie, and the cardiac arrest of an adult patient. The clinical team cares for the patient and then debriefs, discussing what went well and what can be improved so that the patients in our clinical care facilities can receive the best care possible.
The Bioskills Center’s purpose is to further medical research and development. As the first health system in the country to be accredited as a Network of Excellence in Robotic Surgery by the SRC, Northwell stands firm in its commitment to advance the healthcare industry and the skills of its employees. This center functions as a fresh, frozen cadaver lab where physicians, residents, medical students, nurses, surgical technologists and others in the medical field can receive surgical training and continue their medical education while working with some of the most innovative, advanced technology around.
By helping sharpen clinical skills and equipping team members with the tools they need to develop as leaders, our organization can guide our employees down a path that transforms their careers. As a result, CLI is not only ensuring growth within our employees, but ensuring each patient that walks into any of our facilities receives the highest quality of care available.
Northwell is committed to investing in the professional growth and development of its employees. Remember to check back next month to learn about our non-clinical programs!
Celebrating acts of kindness among our family of Northwell heroes
Though we span across 23 hospitals and more than 750 ambulatory locations, our Northwell Health team is one big family. And as a family, our team members are committed to not only delivering the best patient care, but caring for each other and our communities.
Check out these stories of our clinical and non-clinical team members alike working to bring moments of positivity, hope and support amid COVID-19.
Finding Connections Hospital to Hospital, Unit to Unit
Kindness is connecting our teams across Northwell through video messages, photos, cards and other countless examples of ongoing support and humanity. For example, Krista Griffin, a patient access team member at Southside Hospital, raised money with her family to have catered food delivered to overnight workers in the ED. Also, the NICU team at Cohen Children’s Medical Center created and delivered care packages to other Northwell hospitals, and our nutrition and dining services teams baked fresh cookies for workers to bring home after a long day.
Bringing the Grocery Stores to our Team Members
Hospitals across Northwell realized the need to help support our healthcare heroes get the necessities they need at home. Hospital cafes have turned into temporary grocery stores, where our nurses, environmental services workers, physicians, therapists, transporters, techs and others can safely shop to stock their pantry or choose a freshly prepared meal to take home.
Stitching for our Heroes
Gloria Medina, a booking clerk at one of Northwell’s endoscopy practices, posted a call to action for all stitchers to help create artwork for our heroes. These custom portraits are being delivered to our healthcare heroes on the front lines as a way to say thank you and make them smile.
Finding Inspiration at Glen Cove Hospital
The 1 South Rehab team at Glen Cove Hospital created an Inspiration Tree within the hospital to leave small tokens of wisdom and motivation for team members and patients. These messages help them to find optimism and the importance of what matters most.
Chalk Art Acts of Kindness
Throughout the health system, chalk art has been popping up outside our hospitals. Messages from team members and our communities are being drawn to thank our workers and give them something bright and cheery to look at as they walk in and out of work.
Take 5 for YourSELF Fridays
The Employee Wellness team collaborated with myHealthBody to start a weekly series to encourage team members to take five minutes to care for themselves with “Take 5 for YourSELF Fridays”. The weekly videos and printouts include guided stretches and exercises to help relieve tension and grant wellness benefits that last all day.
We are all filled with gratitude for our wonderful Truly Together team. Their passion, dedication and kindness inspires us daily. To all healthcare heroes here and everywhere – THANK YOU!
Photo: Mark Compas and Child Life team members with some Cohen Children’s patients.
Something about child’s play
Mark Compas brings a distinctive mix of technical skills, a child psychology background and passion for both fields to his work as a per diem certified Child Life Specialist (CCLS). “It’s like I dreamed this job up and then it found me,” he said.
Mark divides his time between North Shore University Hospital (NSUH), including its Dorothy and Alvin Schwartz Ambulatory Surgery Center, and Cohen Children’s Medical Center (CCMC). As a CCLS, he educates patients about procedures and helps them to have a positive experience in the hospital setting. “In simple terms,” he says about his Child Life team, “we are basically teachers, coaches, and companions that help patients and families have an easier time at the hospital.”
How Mark came to be at Northwell is a roundabout story, where every twist has led him to exactly where he is thrilled to be. “Every day, I can’t believe how lucky I am,” he said.
He began his studies in electrical engineering and computer science, always honing his skills with hobbies like building computers and websites. He learned graphic design and video editing to promote a band he performed in. While attending college, Mark also taught swimming part-time, and that changed everything. “As much as I like building things, I realized that I love working with kids. It never felt like work and helping kids overcome obstacles and succeed was so meaningful to me.”
Mark finished his Bachelor of Science degree at Stonybrook University, pivoting from electrical engineering to psychology with a focus on child studies. He learned of the Child Life field, began volunteering at a hospital and attained his certification. Now he spends his days managing the technical needs of the Child Life and Creative Arts team. Among his projects is MeTV, a closed-circuit TV channel hosted by Child Life team members that children who are patients at CCMC can watch and play along, live. Games are aimed to teach children about hospitals and procedures, and Pictionary, which is purely for fun. Children can also co-host on MeTV. “It empowers them to be able to speak to other children and educate them about being in the hospital,” Mark said.
One of Mark’s favorite activities during his two years at Northwell has been the WeCraft event. Combining forces with Microsoft and the Extra Life Gaming Guild of NYC, Mark’s team hosted the WeCraft event that allowed all hospital-wide patients to play MineCraft together. He also loves to share his knowledge with children who are interested in technology. “Kids might be stuck in a room all day and I can drop in and show them a cool project I’m working on.”
Mark is always dreaming up new projects for the children at NSUH and CCMC and says that his colleagues’ dedication fuels his inspiration. Currently he is working on a virtual reality headset called Smileyscope for children to use during procedures like IV starts or injections. Smileyscope was developed in Australia and brought to CCMC for trial and research. CCMC is one of the first facilities in the United States to implement it and training is underway.
Mark networks with Child Life Specialists in similar roles as his, collaborates with children’s charities and keeps his ear to the ground for new opportunities. After his telephone interview, he followed up with a long email outlining novel ways that technology can help children cope with their hospital experiences. He hopes to create apps and video games to educate children and connect them socially, so that they can support each other. He sees great potential in using video games therapeutically and has been in touch with clinical psychologists who use games in their practices. Mark plans to study game design, play therapy and, eventually, to obtain a PhD in neuropsychology to further these goals. He has bigger ideas for MeTV and WeCraft, as well, and would also like to host regular classes and events for patients who are interested in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields.
Using technology to help children is a job that fits Mark Compas as if it were designed for him.
Northwell Health teams give back to their communities
As the largest healthcare provider and private employer in New York State, Northwell Health is committed to giving back to the communities it serves across the greater New York area. Throughout the year, different team members at Northwell Health will dedicate time to volunteer for the local communities we serve. From service projects and fundraising to soup kitchens and clothing drives, our Northwell family is giving back in a rewarding way.
Two recent teams who spent time giving back to our communities were our Center for Emergency Medical Services (CEMS) team and our Talent Acquisition (TA) team.
CEMS team launches Packages of Hope initiative
The CEMS team, through the launch of Packages of Hope, created care packages for homeless men and women to help take care of them during winter months. The Packages of Hope are distributed throughout NYC, Nassau and Suffolk Counties by our CEMS crews. The team donated items and their time to put together the care packages which included feminine products, warm socks, blankets, water, hand warmers and snacks.
Members from all over the department including EMTs, paramedics, the medical director and even children of team members came together to help make over 100 packages for initial distribution. The first event was such a success that there is already another day scheduled.
Seeing the difference volunteering makes has strongly impacted the team members. “I had the opportunity to hand out one of the packages,” says one CEMS team member. “His response to a small token of items was tears in his eyes and thank you as he walked away. What an awesome idea!”
“Giving back is a part of who this department is,” says Bernard Robinson, MHA, regional director at CEMS. “Not only does teamwork increase every time we volunteer, we’ve also seen an increase in new ideas and suggestions from our staff and occurrences of them taking the initiative to go above and beyond to serve our communities.”
Talent Acquisition volunteers with Long Island Cares
TA’s leadership team also recently gave back to our community volunteering with Long Island Cares during a recent team building initiative. The TA team prepared bags of groceries for the senior population in the Long Beach area who Long Island Care serves. The groceries are then delivered to seniors who can’t drive, leave their homes, or can only drive limited distances.
Working together, the team was able to prepare over 300 bags of groceries in just one afternoon! It was such a rewarding experience to give back to our community that the team is already planning to make volunteering a routine event.
“Volunteering at Long Island Cares was an honor and it offered the leadership team an opportunity to fulfill the Northwell employee promise and contribute to something greater than ourselves,” says Patricia Brown, Assistant Vice President of TA. “It gave us a great sense of achievement to be able to play our part in contributing to the well-being of the community Northwell serves. The opportunity to give our time and to be in service of others does wonders for team bonding on an emotional level and helps us grow as a group on a personal level.”
Are you Made for caring and giving back to our patients and communities? Explore jobs.
Why I’m Made for an ultrasound technologist career at Northwell
Written by: Gennifer Albaum
Working at the front desk for a radiologist at a young age, I quickly realized I had a passion for interacting with patients. With the encouragement of my team, I decided to became an ultrasound technologist and have worked at Northwell Health for nearly two years.
People assume radiology is just someone taking pictures and that’s all. It’s much more than that. It’s scanning a women who just had an abnormal mammogram and is getting a second look. It’s having a patient come in with stroke like symptoms who just a few hours ago could walk and talk but now has no motor function. It’s the parents of a child who is sick with a cold. It’s scanning a cancer survivor to see if their cancer has come back. It’s dealing with the patient’s pain, worry and sadness, and still providing care that helps make them forget about their fears for a moment. Because as an ultrasound technologist, we’re taking images that will help patients get the answers.
Knowing a visit to an Imaging Center can be a stressful time for patients, I try to ease their anxiety and keep them calm during their visit especially when they are looking to me for results and I have to politely explain that their images need to be interpreted by a radiologist. As a radiology professional I know that can be trying for the patient but we want to ensure we have reviewed all images thoroughly before providing results.
I was introduced to women’s imaging, especially breast imagining early in my career and quickly found that I had a passion for early diagnosis of breast cancer. Some of my fondest memories as an ultrasound technologist are when breast cancer survivors returned to visit us at the practice. To see her smile when she saw her face and knowing I was part of delivering her care was so rewarding. I know that what I do made a difference in not just her life but her kids and her family. It makes me feel so proud of my hard work and dedication.
Early detection saves lives and knowing that I can play a part in helping to save a life, is why I chose to become an ultrasound technologist. Working for Northwell has been a life-changing experience, I have met so many amazing technologists, radiologists and administrators. I truly feel like this is where I was meant to be.
Four-hour blood transfusions used to tax 14-year-old Akayllah McEwan’s mind as much as her body. While the healthy red blood cells pumped into her body treated her sickle cell disease, she struggled with the scourge of adolescence: boredom.
Then Child Life Specialist Sammy Sherman taught Akayllah to make “Blood Soup,” mixing water, red food coloring, marshmallows, red hot candies and toffees in mason jars to illustrate sickle cell disease’s effect on a cellular level and what the transfusions do to help her.
“I wanted to eat the food,” Akayllah giggled, then acknowledged, “I always kind of understood why I needed the transfusions. Sammy made it specific for me.”
Over the past decade, Delta has contributed more than $2 million to Cohen Children’s Medical Center. “Child Life is one of the programs not covered by health insurance,” explained Tricia Rumola, Delta Air Lines’ general manager of Community Engagement. “We hope our support will help families and patients have a sense of comfort going through an incredibly difficult time in their lives.”
Helping kids overcome fear and embrace hope
Delta’s sponsorship of Sammy’s position helps kids overcome fears and anxieties and learn to cope with challenging medical experiences. “My goal is to empower patients and families,” said Sammy, who holds a master’s degree in child life.
She uses Surgi Dolls and makes treatments more relateable to patients by helping them understand hospital equipment through therapeutic activities. Sammy also supports kids when they receive a terminal diagnosis, giving them space to enjoy time with their family, and feel like kids who happen to be sick — not sick kids.
“Sammy has an extraordinary ability to connect with children,” said Cynthia Rodriguez, Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy Program director. “While they may think they are just having fun with Sammy, she is undoubtedly teaching them, supporting them, and helping them to learn how to navigate their journey successfully.”
Sammy also connects patients with each other since they have limited opportunities to socialize with other kids. She started a monthly newsletter where they can submit jokes, stories and artwork to express themselves.
“Sammy is my go-to person at the hospital,” said Akayllah. “She takes my mind off of the transfusion and makes the hospital a normal area where I can be myself.”
“Sammy is really doing the work that is her life’s calling,” said Tricia. “Delta couldn’t be prouder to have our name connected to Sammy and the work she is doing.”
Day in the life: Central Sterile Processing Technician
Instrument sterilization is a vital step in any surgical procedure, but you may not always think about what goes into the process – or who’s doing it. At Northwell, we know our sterile processing technicians are invaluable members of our operating rooms. These technicians handle the sterilization of our instruments from decontamination to dispatch all inside our new centralized facility in Bethpage, NY. Working in the world’s largest sterile processing center, our technicians provide around-the-clock services using the most innovative technology available.
“Our new central sterile processing facility was built with the comfort of our sterile processing technicians in mind,” says Marc MacLaren, RN, BSN, MSN, program director of System Sterile Operations. “As we continue to grow and refine our procedures, we listen to their feedback. The work our technicians do every day is changing the way people look at sterile processing and defining the future of where the industry is going.”
Follow a day in the life of some of our sterile processing technicians at our new state-of-the-art central sterile processing facility in Bethpage.
Step 1: Surgical instruments are brought in for the decontamination team
The first step of sterilization is decontamination. With the facility servicing operating rooms from hospitals all across Northwell, it’s important for our central sterile processing technicians in the decontamination room to handle each delivery promptly and efficiently. The technicians soak the trays as they come in, hand washing them before placing them on the cart to go through the automated sterilized washers.
Step 2: Instruments are unloaded and tracked through automated systems
After the instruments go through the washing cycle, a sterile processing technician unloads the clean instruments from the machine into the ‘clean room’ which is kept sterile to protect the instruments. Each tray is processed through a barcode system so it can be tracked throughout the sterilization process. “My favorite thing is how organized our team is to keep things running smoothly,” says Libin John, supervisor, central sterile. “It’s also great knowing our work is helping patients even though we don’t have a clinical degree.”
Step 3: Sterile processing technicians sort trays to create priority order
The washed trays are then sorted in priority order. And with the facility’s capacity to handle a maximum of 22 million instruments a year, our technicians know the important role keeping the trays in priority order plays in ensuring prompt delivery back to the hospitals. Caprice Morgan, lead sterile processing technician, places the trays on shelves to mark them for the proper turnaround time. “I love working as a sterile processing tech because you are always learning new things,” says Caprice. “Every day is a new opportunity to grow.”
Step 4: Instruments are counted and passed through a safety test
Once the trays are separated, the instruments are counted, inspected and placed for packing by our technicians. It’s a vital step to make sure that the instruments are not only accounted for, but properly hand-washed and still maintaining their integrity. “It’s great being able to work on the instruments and know that even though you’re not in the operating room, you still are a part of the surgery helping that patient,” says Kevin Vega, sterile processing technician.
Step 5: Team members package the instruments for sterilization
Clean instrument trays are then packaged by the technicians. Packaging the instruments keeps them safe for when they are placed into sterilizers to finish disinfection before their return to the hospitals. The work spaces in the new facility allow for plenty of room for packing the large trays and individual instruments. “At the new Bethpage facility there’s more room to work and more space for everybody” says sterile processing assistant Patty Guess, who transferred to the facility from a Northwell hospital in April.
Step 6: Instrument trays are sent into the sterilization systems
Now that the instrument trays have been packaged, they’re ready for the final step of sterilization. Sterile processing technicians track and check the trays before placing them in autoclaves (which use steam at high temperatures to sterilize) or into low temperature sterilizers (which use low temperatures and gas to ensure missing something here) depending on the needs of the instrument. “This is my favorite spot to work because it keeps me on my toes,” says Gregory Thurneau, sterile processing technician. “I did it for eight years at Long Island Jewish Medical Center and now being able to do it at the Bethpage facility gives me an opportunity to expand my horizons.”
Step 7: Technicians sort the trays for hospital dispatch
Trays are passed directly through the sterilization systems built into the wall moving them from the ‘clean room’ to dispatch. There they are prepared for delivery back to the hospital. Once the trays have been tracked and accounted for, sterile processing technicians sort them into their respective cabinets for the transport teams. “It’s an important part of making sure the hospitals are getting their trays on time,” says Thomas Varkey, sterile processing technician. “Being part of that helps me make sure the patients get the care they need when they need it.”
From neonatal staff nurse to periOperative leader: Gloria’s nursing journey at Northwell Health
When Gloria Collura, MSN, RNC, NEA-BC started her career at Northwell Health 31 years ago as a staff nurse, she didn’t know where her journey would take her.
Starting as a young nurse, Gloria transitioned to working part-time in the neonatal intensive care unit when she had her first child. But as her children grew, so did her career aspirations. And with the encouragement from her leadership, Gloria was able to focus on developing herself professionally.
“I never had to sacrifice my family or work-life balance at all in order to succeed in my career,” says Gloria. “Northwell really enabled me to grow professionally as well as personally.”
After becoming an assistant nurse manager, Gloria benefitted from Northwell’s tuition reimbursement program and earned her master’s degree. From there she became a nurse manager before moving into leadership positions in periOperative services.
Today, she’s the senior administrative director II for Patient Care Services/PeriOperative Services at the Center for Advanced Medicine (CFAM). Here, she runs the ambulatory surgery center which operates on over 7,000 people a year and the PST department which sees approximately 21,000 patients a year – quite the journey from her start as a staff nurse!
The transition to become a periOperative nurse was a natural one for Gloria. “As a neonatal nurse, you are in the operating room a lot. With exposure to the OR, I was encouraged by leadership to earn my master’s and get into ambulatory surgery. Using the knowledge and experience you’ve gained in one specialty and bringing it to a new area can have great results.”
Even with all her accomplishments, Gloria knows it’s important to never stop developing her professional skills. In fact, she’s recently earned her Nurse Executive Advanced Certification – an accomplishment she never thought she would be encouraged to earn.
“At Northwell, we’re always told not to be afraid to fail,” says Gloria. “Don’t be afraid to expand your wings, don’t be afraid to be innovative, and don’t be afraid to move forward. I’ve taken leaps that I don’t think I would have taken without the support of the organization and its leaders.”
Certified Sterile Processing Apprentice Program celebrates its first graduating class
As part of our commitment to growth, development and education, Northwell Health partnered with the 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East and the 1199 Training and Employment Funds to create a new Certified Sterile Processing Apprenticeship Program that is registered with the Federal Department of Labor (DOL).
Due to our new Certified Sterile Processing Apprenticeship Program, Northwell Health 1199 team members from various departments across the organization had an opportunity to train in a new specialty and grow their careers. Team members were provided with the education and training they needed to become a certified sterile processing technician (CST), including the support in preparing for the certified registered central service technician (CRCST) exam so they could earn their national certification. Thanks to the partnership program, Northwell was able to provide employees with paid training in addition to free tuition, books, exam prep and other classroom materials.
We’re proud to announce that all 11 of our program participants passed the exam and all received full time positions at Northwell Health.
“The apprenticeship program has opened doors for employees who otherwise may not have had the opportunity to advance in their field,” says Marc MacLaren, RN, BSN, MSN, program director of System Sterile Operations. “It allows us to ‘grow our own’ within healthcare and empowers individuals in our organization who otherwise might not be eligible for technical professional careers.”
“This program helped me achieve a goal in my career,” says Gabriel Taveras, a recent graduate. “I started as a housekeeper and now I’m a certified central sterile technician. It has changed my life.”
Students in this unique program are prepared for their career with:
200 classroom hours
400 hours of on-the-job training
600 additional on-the-job hours to earn the Federal DOL certification
Upon graduation, students earned:
LaGuardia Community College Adult Continuing Education Certificate
Federal DOL Certificate
“I was given an opportunity that will change my life for the better,” says fellow graduate Candice Thomas. “I’m grateful that Northwell and 1199 believed in me. The possibilities are endless. Because I stepped outside of my comfort zone and learned what it meant to be a CRCST, I now have a great career.”‘
Discover the PeriOperative teams on the forefront of cardiac surgery
When it comes to cardiac surgery, Northwell Health is at the forefront of innovation and exceptional care.
In fact, the Department of Health (DOH) has recently ranked Northwell Health cardiac surgery programs among the best in New York State. And exceptional cardiac care wouldn’t be possible without the hardworking nurses, advanced care providers, and surgical technologists who join surgeons in the operating room.
“Being in the cardiac operating room can be demanding but extremely rewarding. It requires a compassion for your patients and love of the operating services and Cardiology,” says Karen Cary, associate executive director at Staten Island University Hospital. “Always come ready to learn and be voracious in your thirst for knowledge.”
Learn more about some of our cardiac surgery programs across Northwell Health:
North Shore University Hospital (NSUH)
Operating room professionals looking to join the cardiac PeriOperative team at North Shore University Hospital would work alongside high-performing, talented team members who are committed to exceptional patient care. NSUH is home to the Sandra Atlas Bass Heart Hospital and has been named one of America’s 50 Best Hospitals for cardiac surgery in 2017 and 2018 by Healthgrades.
Featuring one of New York’s largest cardiothoracic surgery programs, the Heart Hospital has become the first and only full-service destination for heart transplantation in Nassau, Suffolk, Queens, Brooklyn, and Staten Island, New York. The DOH report has also recognized the Heart Hospital for having the state’s best outcomes for certain types of open-heart surgery.
Staten Island University Hospital
Staten Island University’s Heart Institute is known for its cutting-edge techniques, procedures, and skilled health care professionals. The DOH has even ranked their cardiologists, interventionalists, and catheterization and transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) teams in the top 5% of the nation. Growth continues within this impressive Cardiac PeriOperative Department as it works to perform a full spectrum of increasingly innovative procedures, such as the recently created TAVR program which has already seen success.
Joining the Heart Institute gives PeriOperative professionals the opportunity to work with a compassionate team with a passion for cardiac services. Close collaboration in the operating room and hospital floor ensures the absolute best care for patients and their families.
Lenox Hill Hospital
The award-winning cardiology department at Lenox Hill Hospital has been recognized by Healthgrades as one of America’s 100 best heart programs four years in a row. Lenox Hill is always looking for innovative ways to treat patients; innovation that has led them to performing groundbreaking procedures – such as angiograms and minimally invasive heart surgery.
At Lenox Hill, the cardiology team offers advanced cardiac services in a variety of areas, including electrophysiology, interventional cardiology, and heart failure. Nurses, advanced care providers, and surgical technologists will join the skilled PeriOperative team in a brand-new clinical area.
What is Northwell Health’s Radiology Administrative Succession Program (RASP)?
The Radiology Administrative Succession Program is a one-year program that develops and enhances Northwell’s radiology leaders to enable them to take the next step in their career. During the program, leaders are provided with educational opportunities, knowledge sharing, hands-on learning and training with senior radiology leaders across the Imaging service line and hospital radiology departments.
“Succession planning is vitally important for ensuring the continued success of any business. The radiology service line has an amazing pool of top talent who we have identified and developed in an effort to fill future roles. Our goal is to focus on cultivating managers from within Northwell to ensure the leaders of the future are in place,” says Melone Pernice, Administrative Director, Radiology at Plainview Hospital.
Radiology team members are nominated by their leaders to participate in RASP and then the RASP Committee selects the final participates based on their nominations. This year, three team members were selected to participate in the inaugural class.
“RASP demonstrated to me that everyone is part of the same team and each person is fully invested in your success. All components of the program — from the subject matter classes, system level meetings and one-on-one mentoring — gave me the confidence I would need to handle any future obstacles. RASP is essential to ensure the future leaders are prepared for tomorrow, “says RASP participant Adrienne Wilson, radiology manager at Plainview Hospital.
Each year, Northwell’s President’s Awards recognize team members who not only surpass our expectations and standards of excellence, but also those who drive innovative business outcomes.
The Teamwork award recognizes a team who is flexible, hardworking and made for unwavering support. They successfully collaborate to improve quality, financial performance and/or patient-centric care by leveraging and embracing diversity while creating a feeling of belonging. Meet this year’s finalists.
Deliver the Vote Lenox Hill Hospital
A pair of nurses with a strong commitment to upholding the right to vote, and an amazing determination not to take no for an answer enabled dozens of hospitalized patients to participate in the American electoral system.
Their efforts began two years ago when a patient inquired about voting but at that point, they were unable to help. Ahead of the 2018 election, Lisa Schavrien and Erin Smith decided to be pro-active, exploring ways to help their patients be heard at the ballot box. Their inquiries led them to a series of rejections by boards of elections, non-responses from political offices and a trip to a courtroom in Queens.
With the help from other volunteers, they canvassed their hospital for patients who wanted to vote. In one room, a patient facing brain surgery managed to cast her vote before surgery; in another, a patient’s partner was unable to get a ballot for the patient because they weren’t married, but Lisa obtained a ballot for him.
Voting may not seem like an issue clinical team members need to tackle, and they could find no other hospital making the same effort, but thanks to this team that went above and beyond, 75 Northwell patients were able to cast their ballots.
ECMO-TO-GO Long Island Jewish Medical Center, North Shore University Hospital, Southside Hospital
Made up of a team of well-honed specialists, ECMO-TO-GO takes its life-saving skills wherever they are needed, elevating the level of care available to seriously ill patients. The team develops its successes with the cardiopulmonary bypass technique through continuity of communication and care delivered by all team members, commitment to continuous improvement and the depth of care provided by experts from across Northwell. The innovative approach of the team traveling to the patient rather than the other way around means a highly qualified, seasoned team is available to the sickest of patients. With a mortality rate of about 50 percent in these kinds of patients, the concept of such a team grew out of the establishment of an acute lung injury program at Long Island Jewish Medical Center and the launch of a heart transplant program. Northwell physicians recognized the need to provide stable, quality care as quickly as possible, leading to the ECMOTO- GO program.
The strength of the group comes from their ability to harness their differences in expertise to meet the dire needs of a complicated patient population. They do so with seamless coordination, deep compassion, and deliberate communication ultimately forging something stronger than any individual person.
Food as Health Implementation Team Long Island Jewish Valley Stream
Team members have put reliable access to food at the center of a pioneering effort to improve the health of their patients. After people in multiple departments recognized that some patients had trouble finding affordable, nutritious food when they returned home, a team came together to brainstorm some solutions. Their conclusions: provide discharged patients with the resources to find affordable foods and to prepare meals that would help restore them to health.
The Food as Health (FAH) Program screens patients from the outpatient wound care center, and one inpatient unit for food insecurity. Patients in need with nutrition-related conditions (e.g. diabetes, hypertension, unintentional weight loss) are referred to the appropriate FAH service arm for support. Patients who are mobile and able to cook for themselves are referred to the FAH hospital-based onsite resource center. The patient is provided two days’ worth of nutritious emergency food, nutrition education and counseling, and referrals to community resources.
The collaborative effort of the multidisciplinary workgroup to identify clinical partners, establish workflows, reports and outcomes is a significant reason for the successful implementation of the FAH program. The team continues to work together to identify the outcome measures and establish reporting to demonstrate improvement in patient outcomes and hospital data such as decreased readmissions.
Inpatient Charge Capture (IPCC) Corporate, Revenue Cycle Operations, Medical Group
When a small group of data-savvy professionals began examining the question of whether Northwell was billing and collecting for every professional service provided in hospitals, it quickly became clear that they needed more expertise.
The question of revenue capture is a long-standing one and quantifying it and executing a process across the health system was huge challenge. The team grew to involve several Information Services disciplines and data experts and as it grew, so did the project. Instead of finding a basic report on where to find the revenue opportunities, the team produced much more. They came up with a real-time, web-based tool that allows service lines and/ or individuals to know what the missing billing opportunities are daily/weekly/monthly. It allows the user to filter by service line, hospital, provider and unit. The tool is easy to navigate and provides a weekly “subscription” service for providers.
The deep dive in the collaborative effort also identified a $10 million revenue opportunity for Northwell, the result of experts collaborating and using their own areas of expertise to produce a positive outcome.
Northwell Transfusion Medicine Northwell Health Labs
A team of professionals collaborated to take on the challenge of ensuring Northwell hospitals maintained fresh and adequate supply of platelets to cope with both routine and emergency use. Maintaining a blood product supply is essential to optimal patient care, but daily usage can be difficult to forecast. Platelets, expensive to produce, test and store, have a short shelf life and frequently expire before they can be used.
This team’s bold solution to meeting the need and reducing costly waste was to develop a delivery system that moves blood products throughout the health system, with many ultimately winding up at the hospitals that routinely need them the most. Breaking away from the existing system, the team began with data, figuring out a system to outline a new distribution process. That birthed a “Round Robin” transportation system to reduce supplemental and emergency deliveries. The concept of rotating platelets from the community hospitals to the final destination of one of two tertiary hospitals is based on usage. Long Island Jewish Medical Center and North Shore University Hospital combined utilize as many as 50 units a day for Cardiac, Trauma, Surgical, Oncology and Transplant services. Through extensive monitoring and trending of patient platelet needs, a dramatic savings of more than $200,000 was realized in 2018 in expiration waste.
School-Based Vocational Services South Oaks Hospital
A committed group of professionals provides students challenged by intellectual and developmental disabilities with services that are tailored to individuals from 27 school districts across Long Island. Students receive coachin g, job readiness training and social skills development in both a classroom and professional setting with more than 100 participating companies with the goal of promoting independence and developing skills to prepare these young adults to enter the workforce after graduation.
The collaboration of these team members led to 64% of the graduating students finding employment post-graduation. On a daily basis, this team manages to touch the lives of more than 200 youths and parents, on Long Island. Nearly all of the team members work remotely and are required to travel throughout their day to meet the needs of the various sites they are working to serve.
The team has been able to create new approaches to learning in school settings by implementing in-school businesses where students can improve work readiness skills. Through personal dedication and putting creativity to work, they are making big differences in the lives of these students.
The Fin Feinstein Institute for Medical Research
Experts with a diverse set of skills devised and conducted the first pilot clinical trial of the Fin, a novel 3D-printed swim prosthesis designed for use in a recreational pool setting. The dedicated group was seeking ways to improve recreational opportunities for people with lower-limb amputations, who, according to studies, are less likely to participate in physical activity than the general population.
Often working on their own time, they established protocols to ensure a thorough test that respected each individual’s dignity and needs while examining all aspects of the prosthesis. The most common design for a swim prosthesis has a fixed angle foot (“ankle foot”) that is at 90 degrees with the floor, which, while it is easy to use in the water, is not useful when walking over ground or transitioning into and out of the water. The 3-D printing also significantly lowers the typical cost of the prosthesis.
All participants in the test found the prosthesis easy to put on and take off. The majority (71%) of participants reported being extremely satisfied with the prosthesis.
Every member of the multidisciplinary team brought to the project their passion for wanting to improve the quality of life, participation and inclusion for individuals with lower limb amputations.
The growth of innovative orthopedic surgery at Northwell Health
Today’s population is seeking the benefits of early intervention orthopedic surgery like joint replacements and bone preservations resulting in an increased number of orthopedic surgeries. Northwell Health’s hospitals are growing their services to meet this demand. Growth that includes case variety, cutting-edge procedures and innovative technology.
The advantages for nurses, surgical technologists, advanced care providers and other care team members go beyond just increased experience. Orthopedic surgery is one of the only surgical specialties where you see instant results. Being able to see a visual victory immediately after the procedure and seeing patients get back to living life to the fullest is incredibly rewarding.
Join of our teams below to experience innovative orthopedic surgical care.
LIJ Valley Stream Hospital:
At LIJ Valley Stream , orthopedic teams practice both routine and general orthopedic treatments and cutting edge procedures. Orthopedic surgeons, anesthesiologists, nurses, and surgical technologists work together collaboratively to provide excellent care for their patients. Their state-of-the-art care and treatments mean more minimally invasive procedures that are giving patients the advantage of a quicker recovery and decreased hospital stays.
Some of the innovative procedures happening in the OR are:
Specific total joint replacements
Reverse total shoulder replacements
Total ankle replacements
Autologous cartilage implants
And orthopedic surgery is only growing at LIJ Valley Stream! With our partnership with the Orlin and Cohen Orthopedic Group, Northwell is significantly increasing our presence on the south shore of Nassau County and Queens.
Surgeons from Orlin & Cohen and Northwell’s Orthopedic service line work together inside our brand-new Orthopedic Hospital at LIJ Valley Stream. This 9,761-foot facility includes 18 private patient rooms, advanced ORs, and a physical therapy unit, along with advanced technology. They have received the highest rating from The Joint Commission’s Healthcare Quality Certification in knee and hip replacement surgery.
Lenox Hill Hospital:
Lenox Hill Hospital is a full service hospital performing many orthopedic procedures using robotic surgery with the Mako robot. With up to ten operating rooms dedicated to orthopedics a day, there is a large variety of cases for team members to gain experience in the operating room. Lenox Hill Hospital is currently applying for the Joint Commission renewal of their Advanced Certification for Total Hip and Total Knee Replacement, a 2 year certification that reflects the excellent care given to arthroplasty patients from hospital entry to discharge.
Some of the surgeries being performed at Lenox Hill include:
Knee total replacement
Cervical discectomy anterior with fusion
Osteoarticular transplant surgery
Northwell’s new partnership with the Rothman Orthopaedic Institute also means more opportunities for the team at Lenox Hill and Phelps Hospitals. Rothman orthopedic surgeons collaborate with Northwell physicians to deliver high-quality, orthopedic services. This close collaboration between physicians and care team members helps further Lenox Hill’s strong team atmosphere.They pride themselves on teamwork and always looking for ways to make the patient experience even better.
Long Island Jewish Medical Center:
Orthopedic surgery is a growing service at Long Island Jewish Medical Center (LIJMC). LIJMC has been recognized as a Center of Excellence by the Joint Commission for the past two years and is in the process of renewing their application in 2019. Every month, dedicated LIJ Center for Joint Preservation and Restoration meetings take place to discuss and evaluate metrics in an effort to continuously improve the patient experience.
Improving the patient experience also means using state-of-the-art procedures and technology. Technology like Blue Belt Technology, which is used during total joint replacements to cut out exact measurements of the total joint to be used.
Some of these state-of-the-art procedures include:
Radical resections of mass
Proximal femur replacements
Total hip replacement direct anterior approach
Total knee replacements
Uni knee replacements
Knee stage II revision arthroplasty
Registered nurses and surgical technologists at LIJMC enjoy a collaborative experience within the Ortho team and get to broaden their operating room experience with a variety of orthopedic cases.
Are you Made for delivering orthopedic perioperative care? Apply today!