Made for going places – Paula Tortorici-Scheff’s story
Paula Tortorici-Scheff has always enjoyed traveling, visiting new places and meeting new people. And that’s not just in her personal life, it’s with her career as well. Over the years, she has experienced impressive career growth, and all of it at Northwell Health.
Paula started as a Nursing Assistant, and went on to attain her BSN with honors. She earned her New York RN license and was hired as a staff nurse – all within a matter of months. As a driven nursing professional, she became ANCC Medical-Surgical Nursing Board Certified while obtaining Clinical Ladder III status and advanced to Assistant Nurse Manager.
And she was just getting warmed up.
She’s currently an Administrator, Hospital Operations, where she serves as one of the on-site administrators on the evening and weekend shifts. She also provides operational oversight throughout the hospital.
“I am blessed to have been given the opportunity of a full scholarship as a student of the first inaugural class at Hofstra Northwell Graduate School of Nursing to obtain my Master’s degree. It is not only an amazing experience, but one that is part of an elite and prestigious program and institution. Thank you, Northwell!”
-Paula Tortorici-Scheff, BSN, RN-BC
For those seeking greater opportunities in their own careers, Paula’s advice is simple – “Go for it!” She recommends taking advantage of the education available to Northwell Health nurses at the Hofstra Northwell Graduate School of Nursing. “It’s something that you will be very proud to be part of,” says Paula. “It’s a gift having access to the absolute best faculty, physicians, and clinical experiences — it shines above the other programs. We are also guaranteed job placement with the Northwell Health system. But you have to be driven and determined. You have to want it and keep your focus.”
If you’re looking for a place that encourages and rewards you for being truly ambitious, a career at Northwell Health is made for you. “I am very proud of the opportunities Northwell has given me over the last 21 years,” Paula tells us. “I have built my entire career here and I am far from done.”
It’s becoming a summer tradition we’re very proud of at Northwell Health: Welcoming the newest talented college juniors who make up the largest class yet in our 8-week Healthcare Management Program (HMP).
This year’s program is going to be massive. We had 675 applications from college students all around the country, up from 516 in 2016, and we chose the 26 students who were ready for the challenge of their lives. We also have 15 Northwell Health hospitals and departments participating in the program, up from 10 last year.
This year’s interns come from as far away as California, Texas, and Utah, connecting the world of health care in the concrete jungle. And while they’ll spend their summer in hot, humid and slightly magical New York City and Long Island, they’ll get a real-life educational experience that you just can’t get in a classroom setting.
Our interns were made for this.
We don’t mess around at orientation — and this isn’t a place for paper pushers. This is a place for people who were made for challenges. Our interns set goals to accomplish before summer’s end, and they’ll get the opportunity to prove to themselves, and their mentors, that they were up to the challenge.
They’ll experience what it means to run a world renowned health care system. Bringing someone coffee isn’t part of the job description, though at times, they might wish for an IV of it themselves. They’ll get to know us intimately and they’ll discover themselves in the process.
And this is only the beginning of their Northwell Health experience. The internship is the perfect stepping-stone to our Management Associate Program (MAP), which is a full time position after graduation. The MAP gives grads a holistic understanding of the business of health care, as well as our overall mission.
It’s also one more way students can grow with us and show how they were made for this.
To help them get started, we put together some advice from our mentors:
Push boundaries. “Embrace new opportunities – even when (especially when) you are out of your comfort zone. That’s when you learn the most about yourself,” – Jenna Tevere, Administrative Director, Emergency Medicine & Surgery, North Shore University Hospital.
Ask for help. “When you start a new project, always make sure you understand what exactly you have been asked to do. If you are at all confused, clarify before starting. It’s better to be honest and ask questions than spin your wheels.” – Ariel Hayes, Sr. Administrative Director, Northwell Health Solutions
Learn from the best. “It is very important to build relationships early on when starting a role in a new department or organization. Success is a team effort and you can learn from everyone, from staff level to executive leadership.” – Gregory Bennett, Sr. Director, Strategic Planning & Business Development, Northwell Health Solutions
It’ll be a summer to remember, and one that will push our interns to a new level of performance and success. It won’t come without long days, hard nights and new challenges.
But hard work in pursuit of a dream is always worth it.
Written by: Launette Woolforde, Vice President for Nursing Education and Professional Development, Northwell Health
Working within the Nursing Education field for many years I fully recognize and embrace that nursing, and nursing professional development, requires a commitment to lifelong learning. To be a nursing professional development specialist means to commit to lifelong learning – your own, and that of those around you. That commitment is so highly reflected in the caliber of nurses and nurse educators here at Northwell Health. Nurse educators are a cornerstone for organizations because they are key people who transform the organizations vision and goals into action. The tireless work that nurse educators do in developing staff at all levels, including the future generation, has an impact on patient care that, arguably, cannot be quantified. You cannot consider improvements in quality, professional practice, patient experience, achieving Magnet designation and more without considering the critical role that nursing education has played in these achievements.
I’m proud to say that the Northwell Health culture is one that supports nursing professional development – we practice what we preach. I myself can attest to the support that I received from my organization in furthering my education. Northwell Health provided full support for myself and approximately 75 other nurses who have either completed, or are in the process of completing, their DNP. It’s an honor to be part of a visionary organization that is leading, and exceeding as the IOM Future of Nursing report recommends to increase the number of doctoral prepared nurses to 80% BSN by 2020.
Our nurse educators remain the driving force around our onsite academic courses which support our culture of academic progression. Nursing Education leads robust orientation programs and processes for over 2,000 nurses and some 1,500 new nursing support staff each year. Our nursing professional development excellence is reflected among our 16,000+ nurses whose professional certification rate and BSN rate at many of our facilities continue to exceed the mean of Magnet facilities. None of this could be achieved without our exceptional Nursing Education team – and what I’ve named is just a drop in the bucket.
I want to use this opportunity to say to colleagues, near and far, “thank you for celebrating with us.” And to Nursing Professional Development Specialists at Northwell Health and beyond – Happy National Nursing Professional Development Week 2016!
About Launette Woolforde:
We are pleased to have Launette Woolforde as Vice President for Nursing Education and Professional Development for Northwell Health. In her 19 years in Nursing Education she has contributed to the development of countless nurses, and aspiring nurses, within and outside of our health system. She is an assistant professor at the Hofstra-Northwell School of Medicine, a member of the Board of Governors at the National League for Nursing, board certified in Nursing Professional Development and a member of the New York Academy of Medicine.
Launette joined the health system over 11 years ago and has served in capacities including nurse educator, orientation coordinator, corporate director for nursing education, and senior administrative director for patient care services. Launette holds a BSN, MSN and post Master’s certificate in Nursing Education, and having earned a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) from Case Western Reserve University and a Doctor of Education (EdD) from Columbia University, Launette became the first nurse in the health system to have earned two doctoral degrees.
Our Nurse Educators are dedicated to influencing, guiding and providing the top resources and programs for all our employees so they are able to accomplish their career and educational goals. Focused on empowering and creating lasting relationships, our nurse educators work tirelessly to ensure every employee who wants to grow has nothing holding them back. Read below to learn about some of our programs that Nurse Educators directly influence or participate in with our nursing professionals.
Nursing Externships This year, 53 nursing students across the United States participated in our 8-week summer Nurse Extern Program. After a formal orientation at the Institute for Nursing, that continued at each participating facility, the externs had the opportunity to work at various Northwell Health Sites.
Northwell Health Nurse Educators provide clinical education, support, guidance, and mentorship throughout the pediatric, emergency department, peri-operative services, and critical care fellowship programs. Last year, over 240 nursing fellows were hired after being a part of this program.
Northwell Health Nurse Educators support professional development. Nurse educators provide academic guidance, assist nursing students in finding preceptor placement, and serve as preceptors themselves. In 2015, over 1,900 Northwell Health nurses returned for their Bachelor of Nursing Science and Master of Nursing Science in a variety of specialties. Northwell Health offers tuition reimbursement for our employees to further their education and career goals.
To further the education of Northwell Health nurses, our Nurse Educators and Institute of Nursing provide many resources to achieve any academic goal. Our Nurse Educators play a vital role in ensuring the educational success in various programs.
Academic Progression Our Nursing Educators and the Institute for Nursing help our employees reach goals by counseling nurses who are seeking to continue their life-long academic goals and support them in achieving specialty certifications.
Our growing partnerships. We have over 50 nursing affiliation agreements to support clinical experiences at our facilities.
Advancing your education. Our Nurse Educators serve as preceptors to nursing professionals furthering academic progress in BSN, MSN, Ph.D and DNP programs. Our Nurses also have the opportunity to attend on-site classes to work towards their BSN or MSN degree.
Hofstra Northwell School of Graduate Nursing and Physician Assistant Studies.
Launched in 2015, the Hofstra Northwell School of Graduate Nursing and Physician Assistant Studies aims to be the global leader in interprofessional education preparing the next generation of advanced practice nurses and physician assistants. The Hofstra Northwell School of Graduate Nursing and Physician Assistant Studies incorporates the diverse academic programs and infrastructure of Hofstra University, as well as the significant clinical activities and educational resources of Northwell Health. Our nursing leadership and educators teach classes at the University to assist students in becoming Adult-Gerontology, Acute Care, and Family Nurse Practitioners. (Hofstra Northwell School)
It is the policy of Northwell Health to provide equal employment opportunity and treat all employees equally regardless of age, race, creed/religion, color, national origin, alienage or citizenship status, sexual orientation, military or veteran status, sex/gender, gender identity, gender expression, disability, generic information or genetic predisposition or carrier status, marital status, partnership status, victim of domestic violence, or other characteristics protected by applicable law. Northwell Health leaders, including the CEO, are committed to the principles of Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action.