Working as a Home Health Aide at Northwell Health, Where Compassion Meets a Rewarding Career
There is a trademark characteristic that ties our Northwell home health aides (HHA) together: a deeply ingrained passion in caring for others. Often inspired by personal experiences, home health aides step up to provide at-home care for patients who cannot care for themselves. In such an intimate setting, relationships are built with the patients and their families who rely on the compassion our HHAs always bring.
Jeanette Mazzilli, home health aide with Northwell Health, says that one of the factors behind her decision to become an HHA was her own desire for a compassionate aide to help out at home with her father a few years ago. “While caring for my dad when he was ill, I realized that being a home health aide was a great career path for me. I took the free training course with Northwell Health and now enjoy helping my patients get better.”
Fellow home health aide of 13 years Sandra Chin also touts her own family as her source for inspiration: “My aunt Daisy was an HHA and I watched her care for her patients like they were her own family. When she became ill herself, I stepped up to care for her and loved doing it so much that I turned it into a career.” Sandra joined Northwell in 2019 and has found it to be a company like no other, providing support and training every step of the way.
A career as a home health aide is multi-faceted. Never a dull moment as you coordinate patient care with a team of nurses. Each unique patient comes with their own care plan and needs, and Northwell provides the training to meet those needs and assist the patient on a path to better health. “The RN who taught the course was a great instructor who answered all of our questions. I learned about patient care, safety, HIPPA compliance, and received many other home care instructions that prepared me for my role,” Jeanette says. When asked about the training course, Sandra Chin added, “The course is three weeks long, but very informative, and one of the best things is that I met some wonderful people.”
A day in the life of a home health aide can involve going over the patient’s care plan with the patient and their family, taking note of the patient’s progress. Sometimes the patient’s care plan requires monitoring their intake of medication, preparing meals, taking patients for walks, and assisting them with daily tasks. It’s a gratifying career according to Sandra: “The fulfillment I feel at the end of every shift when someone says, ‘thank you for being here’, makes it all worthwhile.”
That rewarding feeling continues outside of the patients’ homes because our home health aides know that Northwell Health is full of opportunities to raise their career expectations. Jeanette views her HHA position as the start to a long-term career in healthcare. “I have plans to expand my career at Northwell Health. This position has enabled me to use my natural compassion and incorporate new skills learned on the job so that I can grow.” Sandra agrees, saying that benefits at Northwell Health like tuition reimbursement, free training, and leaders who mentor you along the way create, “an environment and atmosphere that fosters the growth and development of its employees’ both career-wise and personally.”
HHAs are hands on as they play point person between patients and nurses which makes this role one of the best in healthcare to have a direct impact in the community. Jeanette recalls one particular instant early on in her career that stays with her to this day: “My most memorable moment was when a family member told the nurse assigned to my patient that they were relieved to have me in their lives. One day, I had noticed that the patient’s blood pressure was low and he seemed disoriented so I contacted the RN for immediate medical assistance. The family was grateful for my ability to keep calm and keep the patient stable while medical services arrived.” Sandra likens the role to being “an anchor” for patients and families going through a challenging time. Whether she’s serving breakfast, arranging transportation, or joining her patient on medical appointments Sandra says, “It gives me a sense of satisfaction I wouldn’t give up for any other job.”
If you’re ready to raise your career expectations as a home health aide with Northwell Health, apply now. A career well cared for is waiting for you.
From Nursing Assistant to Public Relations, Angela Mandelos Grew Her Career in Unexpected Ways at Northwell Health
Northwell’s culture was a perfect environment for a curious 22-year-old starting her career as a nursing assistant at South Shore University Hospital (SSUH). That curiosity was fed by the encouragement Angela received from leaders and peers she worked with. Words of encouragement alone may seem like an incubator for growth but at Northwell, Angela also found support in learning opportunities provided by the Center for Learning and Innovation, having leaders who served as mentors, and benefits such as Northwell’s tuition reimbursement program.
That support made the decision to continue her education easy, attaining a bachelor’s degree followed by an MBA in Healthcare Management. Throughout this time, Angela was also given multiple opportunities by SSUH leadership to participate in various hospital committees which expanded her scope and knowledge of the health system.
The combination of her continued education, her desire to spread her wings, and Northwell’s workplace culture helped set new directions for Angela’s career journey in the organization. Angela embarked on a second phase in her career with the department of service excellence at SSUH. She became a certified patient advocate, led an award-winning team, and soon grew in her role again. First, she served as director of community relations and then as principal of public and media relations at SSUH, which is the role she holds today. “These positions expanded my knowledge of our community and the importance of preventive education,” Angela says.
Her experiences made her a thought leader in community engagement and communication, and Angela sees it as an opportunity to impact not only the workforce but the patients cared for at Northwell Health. Angela believes that her successes wouldn’t have been possible without a lot of teamwork, “I am grateful to have leaders and peers who support my ideas and offer continuous motivation; we support and respect each other.”
Angela’s Northwell career journey unexpectedly took her from nursing assistant to principal of public and media relations. When asked what inspired her to grow her career at Northwell, Angela explains, “My years as a nursing assistant provided me with firsthand knowledge of patients’ experiences, and the day-to-day efforts of frontline heroes. Those moments inspired me to keep pushing myself to be their voice and to help create an environment that brings smiles to all.”
One piece of advice that Angela has for both new and seasoned employees looking to grow their careers at Northwell: “Make every moment meaningful. Every moment is an opportunity to learn something new, make new connections, or to make a difference!”
Inspired by the Support from Northwell, Our Northwell Health Nurse Choir Aims to Inspire America
Seeing the Northwell Health Nurse Choir on America’s Got Talent reinforces what so many Northwell employees believe: Northwell is a place that is open to our endeavors be they personal or professional.
These nurses did not know each other prior to forming the choir but found it easy to make a connection through the power of music and a common passion for nursing at Northwell. Joining their voices from across the health system, the Northwell Health Nurse Choir aimed to inspire America – and they have!
“I still cannot believe that I am part of this experience and I have the honor of representing nurses on a national stage. I hope that the joy we show when performing is felt by healthcare providers and anyone else watching us. I hope that the hope we feel when singing can be hope for those watching too, and that everyone can feel our message: that we have survived a dark time together and we are moving into a hopeful next chapter,” says Winnie Mele, director of perioperative services at Plainview Hospital.
The decision to represent Northwell on the national stage was a chance they seized. They knew that the backing from Northwell would be there because of the organization’s commitment to uplifting their employees and the communities served.
Emanuel Remilus, registered nurse, Cohen Children’s Medical Center (CCMC), appreciates having the health system behind them citing, “Northwell provided a place where we could take precautions to be protected from COVID and practice together. That was the first time we met each other in person, and it was magic – our voices and personalities came together like we had known each other for years. We come from different towns, hospitals and backgrounds, which is great because it gives us diversity in our sound and an opportunity to learn from each other.”
Fellow choir member and registered nurse, Julieta Hernandez, who works at CCMC, adds, “If we hadn’t had a place to get together and practice singing together, I don’t know that we would have been so successful. Northwell also supported us by giving us time to practice and resources for choreography and vocals. It’s been a great experience because of this support!”
Northwell is a workplace where you don’t feel like you’re checking your personal life at the door in exchange for your professional life. It’s more like walking into your shift with extended family. With initiatives such as the BERGs (business employee resource groups) that bridge our external and internal communities, promoting growth and learning opportunities with a tuition reimbursement program, and the championing of employee interests, such as the nurse choir, an employee’s whole self is embraced into the organization.
That feeling of knowing that your interests are welcomed and supported is something that is sensed from the ground up. Fellow nurse choir member, Gaelle Clesca, pediatric nurse practitioner, Cohen Children’s Medical Center, affirms this: “This opportunity is evidence that Northwell supports its own.” You’ll even hear it often from our President and CEO Michael Dowling: “Our Northwell family pulls together to support one another.”
Be sure to catch our nurses during the live quarterfinal rounds of America’s Got Talent this August! AGT airs on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. eastern on NBC.
If you’re inspired by the passion that our Northwell Health Nurse Choir has for bringing joy to others, join our team of 18,000+ nurses and discover a career well cared for. Explore nursing opportunities here.
The Motivation to Grow in a Northwell Career: Meet Senior Medical Assistant Samara Robb
“I know my future at Northwell is bright.” That’s a common view shared by Samara Robb, senior medical assistant at Northwell Health Physician Partners Internal Medicine of Woodbury, Long Island, who sees endless career opportunities ahead of her.
Samara’s optimism is fueled by her experiences at Northwell, starting with the support she receives to tackle any challenge. “It feels good to know I can reach out to leadership for guidance in areas where I lack the knowledge,” she explains.
Feeling valued plays another important part. For example, Samara has seen her feedback for a pilot program — both pro and con — considered and implemented by leadership. The level of respect between leadership and her team has inspired her to become a leader herself, by returning to school for a bachelor’s degree in healthcare administration for leadership from Capella University. Northwell’s support extends to this effort as well: “Northwell’s tuition reimbursement program has been a great help,” Samara says. “It eases the financial burden.”
Samara embodies the Northwell core value of being Truly Ambitious as she pursues her dreams while taking care of patients, assisting physicians and training other medical assistants—highlighted by the relationships she builds with the patients she encounters. “Each day is another opportunity to put a smile on a patient’s face,” she says. “Whether it’s with a compliment or just a helping hand, it makes my day better knowing that I was able to help.”
That passion to help and support is integral to Northwell’s culture. Samara recalls a personal life challenge in which she had to miss work because of her grandfather’s passing. “Upon my return, my station was beautifully decorated with ‘I miss you’ and ‘We’re so happy you’re back’ messages,” she says. “It made me feel really appreciated and loved.”
Ask Samara for one (of many) reasons why she loves working at Northwell — and what makes Northwell a Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For — and she’ll say, “Respect. Knowing you are respected by your employer motivates employees.”
At Northwell, all employees are encouraged to pursue what growth means to them. With benefits including tuition reimbursement, learning opportunities through Northwell’s Center for Learning and Innovation (CLI), and a positive Culture of C.A.R.E., the support for growth is everywhere.
Answering the Call for Pediatric Cardiac OR Nursing
Anthony Bracco started his Northwell career four years ago as a registered nurse for adult open-heart surgeries, but he would eventually answer the call to join the pediatric open-heart team at Cohen Children’s Medical Center (CCMC) at Northwell Health. When asked about the opportunity to become a pediatric cardiac operating room registered nurse he says, “I couldn’t say no to a chance to help the pediatric population in the specialty I love.”
Working in a pediatric OR often means participating in life-saving surgeries. “I have the privilege of leaving work every day knowing we not only saved the life of a very young patient, but we also relieved the stress on the family,” Anthony says. He’s also excited about CCMC’s new operating rooms, which will offer more families access to the care he and his fellow OR nurses are passionate about.
Anthony says the cardiac OR team runs so smoothly because they all share the same devotion to saving lives. Witnessing that level of teamwork inspired him to pursue this career path, recalling a specific moment in an OR: “It was incredible to watch the scrub nurse and the surgeon move in perfect synchronization to protect the patient from being on the heart-lung machine for an extended period of time. In that instant I knew I wanted to be a cardiac surgery nurse.”
Declaring the operating room “an incredible place to work because you provide immediate patient care and are always learning,” Anthony encourages any nurse considering an OR opportunity to go for it. “Whether it’s removing a tumor, fixing a congenital heart defect or bypassing clogged arteries, the direct outcome you can have on a patient is incredibly rewarding. There’s no better feeling than being able to help a neonatal, infant or pediatric patient by performing life-saving surgery.”
The days are busy, fast-paced and perfect for those looking to make an instant impact on patients’ lives. Anthony says the interdisciplinary teams he collaborates with at CCMC work in tandem, a manifestation of Northwell Health’s value of being Truly Together, which flows without ebb through the halls and ORs at the hospital.
From the moment Anthony joined the CCMC’s cardiac OR, he felt surrounded by professionals with the shared mission of delivering outstanding care to the youngest of patients, a “heartfelt” desire that’s not limited to the OR.
Support from Northwell doesn’t start and stop with your shift — it tracks with your personal and professional aspirations. Through the relationships built and the knowledge gained while working at Northwell, Anthony has felt inspired to continue his education; he’s now enrolled in a family nurse practitioner master’s degree program. CCMC has also granted him the space to innovate and share ideas by supporting his desire to conduct research. “Currently, I am working on a research project to increase communication and teamwork in the operating room by using white boards for communication.”
The nurses at CCMC are driven to excellence, passionate about having a direct and immediate impact in a young patient’s life, and selfless in regard to helping others — whether it’s colleagues or the patients they treat.
Edie Marden, Assistant Vice President of Operations for the Northwell Health Trauma Institute, has a career journey that spans nearly three decades all at Northwell Health
“I have been working at Northwell Health for almost 28 years and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else,” says Edie Marden, assistant vice president of operations, Northwell Health Trauma Institute.
Edie’s Northwell career comprised many roles, starting in 1993 at North Shore University Hospital (NSUH) as a registered nurse in the medical intensive care unit (MICU). She then transitioned to medical oncology where she advanced to become assistant nurse manager. With that leadership experience, she transitioned to nurse manager of various units at NSUH. She then progressed to become the assistant director of Department of Surgery, where she was responsible for quality management, and then assistant director of clinical services. Today she is an assistant vice president of the Trauma Institute and the Department of Surgery.
“My day-to-day role varies and that is what is exciting to me,” Edie says. In her current role, she directs the system-wide development, coordination and administration of the Trauma Institute along with its policies, guidelines, services and programs across the health system. She spends most of her time collaborating and guiding team members at each of Northwell’s seven trauma centers. “I focus on employee engagement to ensure the team gets the support and direction they need from leadership,” says Edie.
The support of Northwell
Northwell provides many opportunities for professional and personal growth. With Northwell’s support, Edie obtained her master’s in healthcare administration at Walden University. She continues to develop her skills and leadership by attending Northwell’s educational courses at the Center for Learning and Innovation (CLI) and served as a mentor for Northwell employees. “Northwell has been supportive throughout my career,” Edie says, noting encouragement by her leaders to attend national conferences — she was even a speaker at several events. “The support of leadership is paramount and having leaders I could talk to and get advice from has helped me achieve these goals.”
“I’ve had the opportunity to advance my career without having to leave Northwell,” says Edie. “There are so many avenues to explore and different roles to pursue.”
Northwell Health’s 2021 Innovation Challenge Brings in Breakthrough Ideas From Employees
Northwell Health was proud to once again hold its annual Innovation Challenge after a one-year pause due to the pandemic. The competition encourages Northwell employees to be Truly Innovative by submitting ideas with the potential to change the future of medicine and patient care.
There were a variety of driving forces behind the decision to participate in this year’s challenge, but a few threads connected them all:
• The notion that there is always room for improvement
• The desire to improve treatments and experiences
• The knowledge that Northwell invests time and money into health care advancements
• The passion to do more for patients in need
There were two categories this year: Innovation in Science and Innovation in Care Delivery. Read about the top two ideas in each category and the inspiring Northwell team members who helped develop them.
Innovation in Science
The winning project for this category was “Treating Bleeding via Ultrasound Stimulation of the Spleen,” led by Jared M. Huston, MD, FACS, associate investigator at The Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research. Asked about the medical impact of the project, Dr. Huston says, “We expect this innovation can decrease complications related to bleeding and improve outcomes for millions of patients.”
The category’s runner-up project was “Novel Stilbenes: Science against HPV,” led by Mario Castellanos, MD, associate chair of research in the Department of Medicine at Staten Island University Hospital (SIUH). Dr. Castellanos has been passionate about finding a therapeutic to treat cancer-causing HPV infections since his days as a medical resident at SIUH. “My passion for research and the patients I encountered in my medical practice drove me to want to do more for them.”
Innovation in Care Delivery
The winning idea in Care Delivery was “Infrared Thermography (IRT) for Early Detection of Tissue Pressure Injury,” led by Alina Segal, acute care physical therapist at SIUH, who says this project takes into consideration improved patient care and decreasing health care costs. According to Alina, “it may also be a valuable tool for managing surgical wounds, diabetic foot ulcers, burns and amputations, among other uses.”
The runner-up project was “Let Sleeping Patients Lie,” led by Theodoros Zanos, PhD, head of the Neural and Data Science Lab at the Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research, who explains that his team, “developed an AI algorithm based on a large volume of Northwell clinical data to safely and accurately determine for each patient whether it is safe to forgo overnight vitals.”
Dr. Zanos says, the project’s impact could lead to “uninterrupted sleep to more than 50 percent of patient nights and improved patient experience and outcomes, shorter lengths of stay and reductions in clinician workload.”
We asked the winners and runner ups how Northwell prepared them for this big moment
Alina Segal says, “Northwell Health provides great educational opportunities and encourages personal growth.”
Dr. Zanos credits his preparedness to the support and leadership at the Feinstein Institutes. In combination with “a uniquely large and diverse clinical dataset,” leadership helped the team pursue this innovation.
Dr. Huston says his team benefitted from “the invaluable mentorship from many of our Feinstein Institutes and Department of Surgery colleagues.”
Dr. Castellanos cites the long history of support at Northwell for researchers, whether junior or seasoned. The kind of work that goes into developing new ideas in medicine often takes a lot of collaboration. “Northwell’s support facilitated key connections both within Northwell and externally, including the NIH, industry and the biotech communities.”
The sharing of ideas is embedded as an important part of the culture at Northwell. According to Michael Dowling, president and CEO of Northwell Health, “Innovation and creativity are the essence of good organizations who strive to excel and move forward.”
Discovering unlimited opportunities and a true calling — meet Elyse Isopo
Elyse Isopo started her Northwell Health career journey as a junior volunteer at North Shore University Hospital (NSUH) when she was in high school. “I loved the people, I loved the patients, and I love helping,” she says. Today, she is a supervisor for advanced clinical providers (ACP) at NSUH, where she oversees a team of nurse practitioners and physician assistants.
As a volunteer in high school, Elyse became immersed in a hospital environment and patient care as she delivered their newspapers, refilled their water, and transported them, while also helping with art and music programs. The experience impacted her career path. “I always knew I wanted to be a nurse,” she says.
Elyse held many roles during her 22 years at NSUH. She started as a registered nurse on a medicine unit and then transitioned to the medical intensive care unit (MICU). “After becoming a nurse, I knew I wanted to extend my career within the nursing field.” With the assistance of Northwell’s tuition reimbursement, Elyse went back to school to become a family nurse practitioner. “Northwell encourages and financially assists education and advancement of one’s career,” she says. Once Elyse obtained her master’s degree as a nurse practitioner, she transitioned into presurgical testing (PST). After five years on the PST unit, Elyse realized her heart was always with critical care, so she returned to the MICU where she’s worked for the past 14 years.
A driven nurse practitioner committed to learning and growth, Elyse earned her second master’s as an acute care nurse practitioner — and with Northwell’s support, she received tuition reimbursement for her doctorate of nursing practice (DNP) as well. To share her passion for nursing with others, she became a professor at Hofstra University as an adjunct clinical faculty member, where she supervises clinical faculty in the nurse practitioner programs. As a nurse and nurse practitioner, Elyse is involved with patient and family education. “I found a love of teaching throughout my career when I am precepting new nurses; teaching ACPs, residents and interns; and speaking with patients and their families.”
Reflecting on her tenure at NSUH, Elyse says, “You don’t have just a hospital, you have a community.” During COVID and as a frontline health worker, Elyse never considered herself a hero, but once she stepped outside the hospital for a “clap-out” from local first responders — whose ladder trucks erected an arch under which NSUH staff walked as they were applauded — she was reminded that her career was more than a job; it was a true calling. “I didn’t want to be anywhere else.”
At Northwell, we strive to have our team members continue their career and education journey. Elyse is proof of that: “Northwell helps build each of us to our greatest potential professionally no matter what your career trajectory is.”
The vital role of peer advocates at Zucker Hillside Hospital
For Danny Sosa, working as a peer advocate at Zucker Hillside Hospital (ZHH) isn’t just a job, it’s a way for him to make a difference using his own life experience.
Danny started his Northwell Health journey as a volunteer in our Peer Training program that helps prepare individuals to work as peer advocates. Our peer advocates are vital Northwell team members who provide support and advice for individuals going through similar experiences or who have disabilities. Throughout the three-month program, Danny learned from current colleagues about what peer work entails, as well as volunteering to go to the inpatient wards as a peer-in-training to get hands-on experience leading groups. After completion, Danny was partnered with a job coach and maintains close bonds with his fellow peers-in-training to this day.
Now as a peer advocate, Danny works closely with OnTrackNY, a program that helps adolescents and young adults who may have behavioral health needs, and Strong365, a mental health support community. Meeting with these individuals in the Early Treatment program, Danny runs and participates in group sessions as well as other activities part of the program.
Having received support from OnTrackNY himself gives Danny the valuable opportunity to connect with the program participants. “Being a peer advocate is about bringing my personal life experience to a conversation,” says Danny. “I get to help people currently going through a hard point in their life the same way I was helped. Being able to share how I grew and continue to learn from it can help others. I strongly believe it’s small steps leading to big changes.”
Peer Advocacy at Zucker Hillside Hospital
At Northwell’s ZHH, Danny found an inclusive environment that welcomed him as an asset to the team, not only for his hard work and passion, but also for his ability to deliver unique support and understanding. “Since I started at ZHH, the whole team has been very welcoming. Hearing how much of a difference having me participate in groups can make from team members or having a participant speak to me after a program, allows me to appreciate what an amazing opportunity I have to help people here.”
Danny has flourished in his career at Northwell and has even recently been asked to participate in a statewide project. This 18-month research project with Strong365, OntrackNY and Northwell provides New York residents who have behavioral health needs with mental health resources. Danny will act as one of the contacts that individuals can reach out to in order to be connected to the right programs for their needs.
His commitment to helping others with behavioral health needs has set him up for a future within our organization. “Being part of Northwell has allowed me to forge my own path as a peer,” says Danny. “The support and training I received helped me to become comfortable with sharing my story and feeling that I was contributing in a positive way to someone’s first experience.” Believing in little moments, he helps deliver Truly Compassionate care and understanding to people in their time of need.
Use your life experience to build a career well cared for at Northwell Health. Apply today!
Written by: John Baez, Environmental Service Worker, Staten Island University Hospital
Environmental services is much more than keeping a clean environment. We are helping keep patients and their families remain comfortable.
I’ve faithfully worked for Staten Island University Hospital for 11 years, and travel three hours each way from my home in Yonkers on public transportation to help care for patients.
I’m not a clinical care provider, but my dedication to patient safety in the Environmental Services (EVS) Department is what I strive for. My coworkers and I are at the top of our field when it comes to bedside manner and being spirited patient professionals.
Unfortunately, our team is no stranger to a crisis. We saw the hospital through the evacuation ahead of Hurricane Irene, the aftermath from Superstorm Sandy the following year and even the Ebola crisis in 2014.
But COVID-19 was something entirely different and something we never faced before. It put the EVS team on the front line to help contain and eliminate the virus, which tested all of our abilities.
When the crisis was at its peak, I remember seeing one case after the other. People begging for their life, “I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe.” Before coronavirus, I would always try to befriend and comfort the patients. During the crisis, I showed them love when their loved ones couldn’t be at their bedside.
Then there was one day that would change me forever.
The faithful man
It was a regular day, and then one of patient care associates (PCAs) told me that this person is going to pass away. I knew the patient. I met her days earlier.
It was the end of my shift and I was ready to take my first bus home, but I said to myself “I can’t let this woman pass alone. I’m going to be there for her.”
I walked into the room and leaned over the patient and said, “It’s me, John. If you hear me, squeeze my finger. She did. I told her I want you to go with God. I want you to relax and once you see the light, I want you to go to it. I’m going to hold your hand until you go.”
The PCA cried alongside me.
I told the patient I would pray for her. On her third breath, she passed.
The doctor came in and checked her vitals, and confirmed what I already knew—she was gone.
I took the two busses and three trains home, replaying the day in my head. It’s always going to be with me and sad that she couldn’t have a loved one with her, but I couldn’t let her die alone.
I did what manyhealth care heroesbattling COVID-19 did: make the patients their second family and be their loved one.
During this crisis, my mother was begging me to quit because we’re dealing with something that’s new and scary. But we all have to be here. It’s our job. It’s what we signed up for.
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.
Northwell’s tuition reimbursement program offers endless opportunities for team members
At Northwell Health, we don’t just support our team members, we invest in their careers. Our team members are the heart of everything we do, and by helping them grow, we’re helping our organization grow.
With endless opportunities to expand their careers, many of our team members benefit from our tuition reimbursement program to take their career in a different direction with a new degree or expanding their skills with continued education.
Meet two of our nurses who have made a difference in their career by going back to school with help from our tuition reimbursement program.
From Patient Care Associate to Registered Nurse: Terrance Duncan
Terrance Duncan, RN, first started his Northwell career as a patient care associate (PCA) at North Shore University Hospital (NSUH) in 2014. As a PCA, Terrance quickly developed his clinical skills, becoming a champion on his units to help promote best practices in rounding and mobility and a patient experience ambassador. His passion for patient care even earned him a Northwell Health Caring Heart Award.
Though he loved being a PCA, Terrance knew that he wanted to continue his work with patients while expanding his own knowledge. “I wanted to become a nurse because I love that as a nurse I could work in many different career specialties.”
With the support of Northwell’s tuition reimbursement, Terrance went back to school and earned his BSN while continuing to work as a PCA. “Northwell has supported me tremendously throughout my nursing career,” says Terrance. “My nurse manager was very supportive working with my school schedule while the tuition reimbursement program helped me financially.”
Terrance graduated from nursing school in 2019 and accepted a position as a Medical/Surgical nurse at North Shore University Hospital where he continues to deliver compassionate care to his patients.
From Nurse Extern to Senior Clinical Appeals RN: Mariel Hughes
Since starting her nursing career as a nurse extern at Zucker Hillside Hospital in 2014, Mariel Hughes, MSN, RN-BC, has grown her passion for nursing. After graduating from nursing school, Mariel started as a Medical/Surgical registered nurse at Long Island Jewish Medical Center (LIJMC). In 2018, she was promoted to become a Medical/Surgical assistant nurse manager at LIJMC.
As a nurse, Mariel joined the Collaborative Care Council at LIJMC and eventually became co-chair. The Collaborative Care Council builds interdisciplinary relationships among care teams and lets nurses like Mariel have a voice in the decision-making of the hospital. It was in those years as co-chair that Mariel discovered where she wanted her career to grow. “While in this role I really found a love for leadership–being able to advocate for my fellow colleagues and finding fun and interesting ways to improve our overall work environment as a team,” says Mariel. “Once becoming an assistant nurse manager, I had the foundation I needed to continue my education in order to become a great leader.”
Mariel returned to school and graduated in 2019 from Capella University with her Master of Science in Nursing with a concentration in Administration and Leadership. “Through Northwell I was able to utilize tuition reimbursement which covered 95% of my entire master’s program! I definitely would have not been able to further my education due to the financial burden if it was not for Northwell’s tuition reimbursement program!”
Using her newly developed skillset, Mariel is able to deliver a different kind of care as a senior clinical appeals RN in the Centralized Denial Office. Working within the Centralized Denial Office means Mariel’s job includes writing appeal letters to insurance companies who deny medical coverage for patients who required a hospital admission.
“My favorite thing about being a nurse is being someone’s support system, whether it be physically, emotionally, mentally or even financially now that I work in appeals,” says Mariel. “It is one of the greatest feelings in the world when you make the slightest difference in someone’s day or life that they can carry on with them.”
Throughout her time at Northwell Health, Margaret Murphy, DNP, RN, NE-BC has been an influential leader at Long Island Jewish Medical Center (LIJMC). As Chief Nursing Officer, Margaret knows the importance of providing nurses with educational opportunities to help them grow while igniting their passion for delivering exceptional care. Read more from our CNO Corner interview with Margaret.
Tell us about your career journey at Northwell Health.
Since joining Long Island Jewish Medical Center (LIJMC) as a director of patient care services in 2006, I have had the privilege of working for an incredible organization. As I think back to my first interview, I am overwhelmed by the exemplary leaders I have encountered along the way and how fortunate to have been mentored by so many of them. I was also fortunate to be afforded the opportunity by Northwell Health to obtain my doctorate degree from Case Western Reserve University.
I have been given extraordinary opportunities for professional growth and I believe in paying this forward so that new leaders can have the courage and wisdom to excel. Much of my career has had a dual focus; building a nursing team that is passionate about creating a high-reliability organization and ensuring that patient safety is our ultimate goal as clinical leaders. Having a vision and a strategic plan that include innovation, teamwork, engagement, transparency, and trust, provides a roadmap for organizational success.
What exciting nursing initiatives are happening at LIJMC?
One of our most exciting initiatives for 2019 includes our re-designation for Magnet®. LIJMC continues to outperform all benchmarks with a BSN rate of more than 92% and a certification rate that exceeds the Magnet benchmark with 25% of our nurses receiving clinical ladder designation. Additionally, we have seen great success with the “CNO cabinet” which was established for identifying and developing tomorrow’s nurse leaders.
LIJMC is also always at the forefront of innovation by:
Continuing to utilize collaborative care councils as arenas for shared governance, performance improvement, and organizational growth.
Building a new Oncology Center of Excellence.
Expanding our robotic surgery program, which received a Center of Excellence certification as did gynecological minimally invasive surgery.
Receiving Joint Commission certifications in Total Joint Replacement, Advanced Palliative Care and Diabetes.
Maintaining certification for Nurses Improving Care of the Health System Elder Certification (NICHE).
Launching an acute lung injury center which was created to deliver extra-corporal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) to patients that are not recovering with conventional “best practice” treatment.
Why would someone want to work as a nurse leader at LIJMC? How can they make an impact on providing exceptional care?
One of the best reasons to be a nurse leader at LIJMC is that there is a true collaborative spirit. Nursing has a voice at the table. There are so many ways to advance your knowledge at Northwell including continuing education conferences, courses at our Center for Learning and Innovation (CLI), advanced degree programs and leadership development programs. LIJMC is participating in the new Northwell Nursing Mentorship Program with a track for novice nurses and new leaders. This program will focus on individualized development, feedback and partnership.
At LIJMC, there are fellowships in specialty areas such as perioperative nursing, critical care, and emergency nursing. There is a residency program for new graduate nurses. Along with North Shore University Hospital, we partnered with Stony Brook University to facilitate obtaining master’s degrees in Nursing Leadership and in Education; whereby developing our nurse leaders and educators of tomorrow.
What is your career advice for nurses to develop in their career?
My career advice to new and experienced nurses is to understand that they must function as leaders regardless of title. From the onset, they should embark on a life-long journey, and commit to excellence as they move along their career trajectory. Early in their career, it is important to identify mentors, to emulate desirable behaviors such as advocacy, accountability, empathy, and professionalism. Nurses at all levels should mentor and coach while building strong relationships and developing excellent communication skills. Being knowledgeable about the changing health care landscape requires nurses to maintain curiosity and serve as change agents. Most importantly, nurses should recognize each day that while their accomplishments today are extraordinary, striving to make tomorrow’s accomplishments better is truly how we make the greatest impact in our patients’ lives.
7 reasons why we love being a Health Information Professional
We’re celebrating the hard-working health information professionals who are a part of the Heath Information Management (HIM) team at Northwell Health. Our HIM team members work daily to acquire, analyze and protect patient medical information. With such an important job, there’s a lot to love about being a HIM professional! Check out our team members’ top seven reasons!
1. Opportunity to grow
The health information landscape is constantly changing as technology and applications advance. As health data increases, so do the possibilities for health information professionals. There are always new opportunities to advance your skills as a professional through education, state-of-the-art applications, and collaboration with other units within Northwell.
2. Driven by health data
Any information related to health conditions, quality of life, reproductive outcomes, and causes of death for an individual or population is classified as health data. Working as a health information professional allows us to analyze trends and ensure this aggregated health data is shared across our health system. By prioritizing health data, we’re helping to drive positive outcomes and experience.
3. Making a difference for our patients
Working in healthcare means we as employees have the privilege of helping patients without working inside a hospital. Although health information professionals may never meet the patients directly, they are working hard to ensure that they are not only protecting the patients’ privacy but ensuring the accuracy of their healthcare information.
4. Bridge between the hospitals and patients
A patient’s care doesn’t end when they leave a hospital. Collaborating with different units across our health system allows us to bridge a patient to their care. By helping patients get proper and speedy service to obtain their records, we’re helping the patient stay connected to the quality care they received through the completion of their treatments.
5. Continued education
Educational opportunities are promoted by health information leadership who work hard to ensure our teams have the tools and skills they need to be accurate, compliant and successful. With the support to continue our education from leadership, including access to tuition reimbursement programs through Northwell, we’re able to grow with our growing industry.
6. Teamwork and leadership
Health information professionals at Northwell aren’t just a team, we’re a family. Working truly together under the guidance of supportive leaders helps our entire team to succeed.
7. Protecting our patients
Protecting our patients goes beyond just ensuring data security, it’s protecting their care. As health information professionals, we ensure that the patient data is always accurate, secure, and available when they need it most.
Here’s how Sypria Bernard, MSN, RN, CNOR, went from surgical technologist to registered nurse at Northwell Health
Surgical technologists have the unique opportunity to work with a nurse inside the operating room (OR) which can lead them to a career change like it did for Sypria Bernard, MSN, RN, CNOR. “Although I loved my career as a surgical technologist, there was that spark of ambition in me that always wanted to become a nurse.” With a passion for the OR guiding her, Sypria decided to become a registered nurse and North Shore University Hospital (NSUH) was there to lend support.
Through the help of Northwell’s tuition reimbursement program*, team members like Sypria can go back to school to continue their education and progress into fields such as nursing with financial assistance. Sypria did just that and NSUH worked with her and other surgical technologists who are seeking to become RNs to help develop their skills and grow professionally. The surgical technologist program at NSUH doesn’t just prepare surgical technologists for the opportunity to go into a nursing role, it also fosters their growth in their current roles. Sypria appreciated this dual approach to her career transition, “I became proficient in sterile technique, instrumentation, and procedures and I used my expertise as a surgical technologist to enable my smooth transition into OR nursing.”
After their training, surgical techs-turned-RNs can receive additional support by NSUH through an operating room fellowship. This fellowship builds on their skills to help develop well-rounded OR nurses. The support of NSUH helped Sypria get to where she is today, “I currently hold a position as a nurse manager in the Neurosurgery OR and just completed my master’s in nursing leadership. Without the support of Northwell and NSUH this would not have been possible.”
#BalanceforBetter: Northwell Health celebrates International Women’s Day 2019
March 8th marks International Women’s Day to celebrate women everywhere. At Northwell Health, we’re committed to fostering a diverse work environment that champions its team members regardless of gender or gender identity and where everyone can be Truly Ourselves.
In celebration, hear from some of Northwell’s amazing women and the women that inspire them daily.
This post is part of a blog series highlighting Northwell Health’s Advanced Clinical Providers (ACP). Each Northwell Health employee was nominated by their manager as an individual that exemplifies a central Northwell Health value. This month, we’re proud to introduce you to Sharon Hasfal DNP, ANP-BC., who is a “Truly Compassionate” member of our team. Here’s why:
It’s hard to find an Advanced Clinical Provider who provides more Truly Compassionate care than Sharon Hasfal. Sharon is a nurse practitioner (NP) in the medicine service line, where she plans and participates in many of the team building/engagement activities that help keep our team working well, together. But Sharon’s compassion goes way beyond the call of duty, and she does so with a humbling grace that shows, no matter the challenge, she’s Made for this.
Sharon was born to be an NP. Blessed with, as she claims, “the gift of gab,” she uses her skill to speak with her patients and takes time to let them know what their plan of care is for the day. She remembers a dedication that struck a chord in her career early on, “a colleague of mine on 3 DSU instilled into her nurses the importance of sitting with your patients and taking the time to speak with them and help them understand what is going on.” This lesson stuck with Sharon.
On her most rewarding day at Northwell Health, she joined the senior case manager and social worker of her hospital and medicine hospitalists to work with patients with an excessive length of stay. As a team, they took the time to speak with patients and their families to learn the ins and outs of what was affecting the patients’ hospitalizations. “I felt I was effective in helping patients make very difficult decisions like advanced directives or arrangements for a safe discharge to home. Good teamwork makes a big difference in providing good care for our patients and working with this team was great.” Speaking of volunteering, Sharon co-chairs every nurse practitioner event that takes place in her hospital. The planning is done on her own time and she usually comes in on her day off to allow herself to fully focus on the success of the celebration. Sharon says, “I enjoy being a nurse practitioner. I believe if you do not enjoy what you are doing you will not be able to be an advocate for your patients and their families.” Her goal is to celebrate nurse practitioners and ensure they have a fun, memorable time- and it’s definitely been accomplished! She’s organized a Hawaiian Luau, a Carnival, a Tea Party, a Beach Party, a Mardi Gras and many more! And that’s just her own hospital. Sharon also serves as the chairperson for the Nurse Practitioner Association of Long Island (NPALI) annual conference, a volunteer position where she organizes a full day educational conference for nurse practitioners throughout Long Island!
Sharon’s compassion is shown in how she cares for people in her workplace, in her community, and in the world. She volunteers for medical missions in underserved countries, using her vacation time and her own money to travel to the needed destination. She does not want or expect anything in return. Her reward is the knowledge that she was able to make a difference in someone’s life. It’s a job she loves. It’s a career she’s Made for. “As an NP I will continue to be true to my patients, their families, along with my peers,” said Sharon. “I will continue to keep my patients informed while they are in the hospital; take the opportunity to educate patients, their families and my colleagues both inpatient and outpatient; and my missionary work. It’s how I can make a difference as an NP.”
Are you Made for working with exceptional Advanced Clinical Providers like Sharon?
Explore your career opportunities at Northwell Health here.
Portraits of Caring at Northern Westchester Hospital
Welcome to 2019. We’re living in the age of medical marvels and miracles. We’re using robotic tools, GPS technology, and machines that defy gravity to help keep our community healthy. As a Planetree designated hospital, Northern Westchester Hospital is also proud of raising the bar for patient-centered care. Meet five extraordinary staff members who surpass all expectations to bring comfort and relief to our patients and their families.
Dorothy Cafran: Handcrafted with Love
Years ago, when a patient with advanced cancer told Nurse Dorothy Cafran how much she loved autumn, Dorothy got an idea. “I’m a quilter and I have a lot of fabric at home,” she says. So I whipped up a pillowcase for her using fabric with fall leaves on it. It brought her great joy.” It was the first of many pillowcases Dorothy has handcrafted for patients and their families.
As a palliative care nurse, Dorothy sits down with patients and gets to know the people behind the diagnoses—their interests, likes, dislikes, fears. Hearing about their lives often prompts her to create personalized pillowcases for patients and their family members. “Pillowcases are universal,” she says. “It doesn’t matter how old or young, big or small you are—everyone sleeps on a pillow.”
Recently Dorothy met a woman with cardiac disease whose condition was very tenuous. “She was extra-sad, very sick,” she says. “She told me what she feared most was not seeing her granddaughters grow up. Her granddaughters loved to dance.” The next day Dorothy surprised the patient with homemade pillowcases featuring ballerina slippers. “I told her, ‘These are for you to give your granddaughters. You’ll always be with them, and every time they sleep on these pillows, it’s like you’re giving them a hug.’ The woman burst into tears of joy.”
While her thoughtful gestures never fail to raise the spirits of patients and family members, Dorothy insists, “Trust me, I receive far more than I give.”
Tammi Gonzalez: Tea-Cart Tammi
Many patients have trouble sleeping at night in the hospital. So Tammi Gonzalez, also known as Tea-Cart Tammi, a patient care associate on the seventh-floor cardiopulmonary unit, provides nightly “tuck-in rounds” to make patients feel comfortable and relaxed before bed.
“I go around with a little tea cart, and I offer decaf tea and coffee, hot chocolate, graham crackers, and sugar-free cookies.” Other tuck-in options include warm blankets, eye masks, earplugs, hand massages, scented sachets and recordings of soothing sounds. “If we don’t have something they want before bed, I try my hardest to get it because if I were a patient, it would make me feel like somebody really cares. I love the idea of knowing that someone’s there to wish me goodnight.” How have patients reacted? “Some have told me, ‘Wow, this is better than a hotel! I don’t want to leave!’ ” Tammi says with a laugh.
“The best part is the conversation that’s happening,” she says. Sometimes I’ll sit there and talk to patients for hours. “Often they’re alone and don’t have anybody to talk to. So this gives them the opportunity to have that little chat they might need. I ask them about their family, what they did for a living, where they grew up—it reduces the anxiety that can come with a hospital setting.”
Susan Raskin: Relaxation Is Key
Integrative medicine uses therapies that complement conventional care to reduce pain and to comfort patients. “It helps medications work more effectively because it relaxes the person,” says Susan Raskin, a nurse who practices integrative medicine at NWH. “It speeds up the healing process. That is our goal: to manage pain, stress, and anxiety.”
At no charge to patients, Susan offers reflexology, gentle touch massage, reiki, guided imagery, and music therapy. She also treats patients’ family members. “It’s not uncommon for a patient to say, ‘I’m okay but could you work on my wife?’ And we’re happy to do it. Many family members are here 24/7, and they’re getting rundown. The patient relaxes, seeing their loved one getting cared for.”
“I’m the luckiest nurse in the profession that this is what I get to do all day,” Susan says. “I am always in awe. I see patients and families dealing with tremendous stressors, real fears, and concerns. Their courage and grace under pressure never cease to amaze me.”
Angela Watts: “A Home-like Feeling”
Angela Watts, an ICU nurse, created “comfort boxes” to help support patients and families struggling with the last stages of life. The comfort box is a small gift box containing items a family might need at the patient’s bedside, such as hand cream, lip balm, mints, tissues, tea bags, a booklet about the dying process, a small token with a powerful message, and a silk pouch that can be used to keep a lock of their loved one’s hair.
But Angela’s program goes a step further. “We want to create an environment that gives a home-like feeling,” she says. So the patient and family also receive a handmade quilt, a colorful pillow, and a journal to record their thoughts. “The comfort box is not just a tangible item—it’s a mindset,” she continues. “We want that last interaction to be special and home-like.” Once the patient passes, the family is encouraged to take the items home as a remembrance of that last time. “They love it and are very appreciative.”
“I’ve been a critical care nurse for 23 years, and I’m blessed to care for end-of-life-patients,” she says. “Death can be beautiful, and I feel very honored to be there at such a special time. As nurses, we’re fortunate we can share that time and encourage patients and family to look at each other, hold hands, forgive, and say what they need to say.” Nurses can tailor the environment so it’s warmer and more personal. “This program is very close to my heart,” says Angela. “I feel so fortunate that the hospital supports it.”
Giovanna Albanese: Healing Heart Stones
Giovanna Albanese, activity coordinator at the Ambulatory Surgical Center, has always kept two colorful, heart-shaped stones on her desk. During difficult times in her life, she explains, “they’ve provided me comfort in some way.” One day, a woman came in for brain surgery. “She was beautiful, in a wheelchair, in her 20s, very scared, crying,” says Giovanna. “I asked her parents, ‘Do you mind if I give her something special?’ And I handed her one of my stones. The young woman instantly brightened up, and the parents had tears in their eyes.”
At that moment Giovanna realized that her stones could be as special and meaningful to others as they are to her. She started buying more to give away to those who “needed a little something extra during a difficult time,” she says. “I’ve given heart stones to a mother who’d lost her baby, a distraught breast cancer patient, and a trembling 10-year-old boy getting an MRI. She keeps the stones in a velvet pouch, and tells patients, “I call these my healing heart stones. Pick one—don’t look. You’re going to be okay.” Giovanna has been overwhelmed by the response: “A cancer patient who came back for a second surgery told me she put the stone on her nightstand. Another keeps it in her wallet at all times.”
Giovanna has handed out nearly 100 stones over two years. She was recently awarded a $1,600 grant to begin regularly buying them for patients. “I’m so blessed to be in this position,” she says. “Knowing I may touch someone’s life in some small way means the world to me.”
Are you Made for extraordinary patient care? Explore all career opportunities at Northern Westchester Hospital today.
This post is part of a blog series highlighting Northwell Health’s Advanced Clinical Providers (ACP). Each Northwell Health employee was nominated by their manager as an individual that exemplifies a central Northwell Health value. This month, we’re proud to introduce you to Melissa Moscola, PA-C, MA., who is a “Truly Innovative” member of our team. Here’s why:
Melissa is a Truly Innovative PA at Northwell Health. As a practicing PA in various capacities, Melissa was working for a private practice providing critical care coverage. But she felt she could do more for patients and families. When the Follow Your Heart program, a support service for patients and families, was revamped and developed in partnership with CT surgery and Health Solutions, she jumped at the chance to become part of this innovative medical endeavor. As the program approaches its second anniversary, let’s learn how Melissa found the position she’s Made for.
Melissa has spent most of her career working in critical care areas. This experience showed her the importance of support services, “when these patients survive and recover enough to be discharged from the hospital, their needs don’t disappear, they change.” That change means families and patients will need more support than ever. The Follow Your Heart program bridges the gap between the hospital and the patient’s home and helps ease the transition by providing increased access to care, medication optimization, and home visits.
In her position, Melissa is “able to develop relationships with both patients and providers based on trust, which becomes particularly important when dealing with the most vulnerable patients.” And she can build those relationships without sacrificing growing her own. Melissa enjoys the flexibility she’s found in her profession, a flexibility that has enabled her to get her master’s degree, get married and have children.
Throughout her career, Melissa has embraced innovation. The technology available today allows her team to perform virtual visits to patients at acute rehab at Glen Cove. Melissa notes, “the field of medicine is always changing and I am so happy to be an integral part of the change.”
The Follow Your Heart Program was a finalist for this year’s President’s Award where the program and team were recognized for their Truly Innovative work. Melissa recognizes how teamwork got her here, “we are a truly cohesive team that works well together for the good of the patients.”
Are you Made for working with exceptional Advanced Clinical Providers like Melissa?
Veteran Rose Powers’ Revenue Cycle Career of Duty at Northwell Health
For the fifth year in a row, Northwell Health has earned a Military Friendly® Employer designation! We’re celebrating by speaking to veterans like Rose Powers, RN to get their perspectives on working with us and the opportunities for veterans and reservists at Northwell Health.
To Rose, her job is her duty. It’s been that way since she left active duty as an Army Specialist. In the following days and years, Rose noticed an evolving concept of duty, an Army core value, and it was leading her to a strong need to do more to help people. So, Rose left her marketing career to go to nursing school and become an emergency room nurse. But her sense of duty was still calling. She wanted to look at the bigger picture. That’s when she took a role as a consultant, assisting hospitals who were in dire straits financially. Rose remembers, “I thought, sure, I could help people in the ER but I could also help communities by working to get healthcare organizations financially stable enough so they could focus on providing quality care with all of the necessary tools.”
That’s how Rose came to the Revenue Cycle Team. She’s now the director of Revenue Cycle Management, a position that impacts both the patient population and employees of Northwell Health. The revenue cycle starts when patients first schedule an appointment or walk into a facility. For staff, a highly functioning revenue cycle protects the financial health of the organization so we can all continue to grow, both geographically and clinically. Rose says, “revenue cycle allows for us to staff the hospitals appropriately, upgrade equipment, implement new technologies, and continue our mission to bring state-of-the-art treatment options to the people within our community and beyond.”
Now, Rose’s sense of duty is expanding beyond our system. Northwell Health is partnering with other hospitals in our community to provide them with best in class revenue cycle practices so they can continue to strive for financial success. And Rose will be leading the charge. “My role here is to work with our alliance partners in all boroughs in the NYC metro area, providing them with advice and assistance to optimize areas of their revenue cycle. This not only provides Northwell with additional revenue but also contributes to the organizations and level of care provided to people within our community.”
Rose is excited for the future of her Truly Innovative department. One of her favorite trends in Revenue Cycle is the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) platforms to increase efficiencies. She explains, “the use of AI often worries people within an organization, with the thought that it will replace staff, but it couldn’t be more the opposite. Instead, the AI functionality will allow our staff to focus on the tasks that require a human element, moving away from menial tasks and shifting to assignments that will continue to help the organization focus on the ever-changing healthcare revenue cycle environment.”
Rose’s team shares her sense of duty and her drive at work. She’s grateful that “after working with more than a dozen hospitals in my career, the people within the ranks of the Revenue Cycle here at Northwell Health are by far the most intelligent, driven, and innovative that I have encountered. Working for and with such a great group of people in an area that truly impacts the entire organization makes me feel as though I am making a difference in our community.”
Here, Rose feels the support she needs to follow her calling. “Northwell provides its employees with the ability to fulfill our sense of duty through the endless opportunities and services, everything from clinical research, marketing, food services, and finance. I believe this truly is an organization that will foster its employees’ need to evolve, both professionally and personally.” Rose feels this especially applies to veterans. “Northwell’s commitment to veterans is nothing short of exceptional. Everything from job fairs, webinars, workshops, and an active community fosters an environment that not only welcomes veterans but provides a platform to thrive in the civilian world.”
Meet Maureen Munson, RN: a Patient Care Manager that’s Made for Emergency Medicine
As the daughter of a nurse, patient care manager Maureen Munson, RN, CEN heard nursing stories around her family dinner table. But it wasn’t until she started her career in 2001 at Phelps Hospital as a health unit clerk that she knew she wanted to become a nurse herself.
During nursing school, Maureen continued to work at Phelps Hospital as a monitor tech on the Telemetry floor and after graduation, she transitioned into a registered nurse position on the same unit. But her heart was always set on working in the emergency department. “When I was 18, I joined the fire department and also volunteered as an EMT. I have always loved the rapid cycle of emergency care. You figure out what is going on and then pass the started puzzle off the next person,” said Maureen. “In my life, I like schedules and routine, but not at work. The ED forces you out of routine and makes you use critical thinking throughout your entire shift.”
So, when Maureen heard of a fellowship position at Northern Westchester Hospital, she jumped at the opportunity! “I believe fellowships are a great way to enter emergency nursing. It was a scary transition leaving a hospital that I knew so well and diving into a whole new environment.” Maureen quickly learned she had nothing to worry about when she received the Up and Coming Nurse Award for 2012!
Maureen completed the fellowship at Northern Westchester Hospital and later went on to become certified in emergency nursing. She started looking for a bigger leadership opportunity, eventually taking a position as an assistant nurse manager in the Short Stay Pediatric Unit which evolved into a manager role. “What I love most about working at Northern Westchester Hospital is the people. I am fortunate to work alongside smart, talented and personable individuals,” Maureen said. “It is the culture here to push people to their potential and then set their sights higher. This has been done for me so many times, and I find ways to do the same with my staff.”
Despite enjoying her new opportunity, Maureen missed the ED. So, when an ED manager position became available, she mulled over her decision and with the support of her director, applied. Her hard work was recognized and she took the position in 2016. It’s the same role she has today!
Over her tenure, Maureen has seen the ED through both ups and downs. With a collaborative team, she has designed and successfully relocated the entire ED for two shutdowns, getting patients seen and treated in an alternate location in the hospital. She’s also learned that “honesty and transparency carry a lot of weight in this role. I have gained the respect of others by showing them support and respect.”
And that support and respect are felt in her department. Her ED reached Tier 1 for staff engagement after she collaborated with nurses, techs, and her leadership team on an action plan to improve employee engagement. She’s also helped to facilitate a workgroup that has changed the way the Emergency Department reports on admitted patients and improve communication between other floors and the ED.
“It takes a special person to be an ED nurse,” Maureen said. “It’s not about being able to stomach it, it’s about being able to prioritize care, recognizing small changes early, talking with patients and families when they are at their worst, and it’s supporting your co-workers. An ED is a team, a second family.” Do you have a passion for caring for and protecting our patients and communities?
Meet our Truly Ambitious Pediatric NP Andrea Orbon
This post is part of a blog series highlighting Northwell Health’s ACPs – Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants. Each Northwell Health employee was nominated by their manager as an individual that exemplifies one of Northwell Health’s values. This month, we’re proud to introduce you to Andrea Orbon, who is a Truly Ambitious Nurse Practitioner. Hear her story.
Andrea Orbon CPNP has always considered herself a very ambitious person. After being a pediatric nurse, she pushed herself to become a nurse practitioner (NP) so she could do even more for her patients and their families. “As an NP, I’m here not only for the patient, but for their parents as well. I’m not only the diagnostician, but I’m their friend. I’m here to listen.”
Since starting her career with Northwell Health in 2014, Andrea has maintained valuable connections with her patients and their families as they’ve grown, even caring for her former patient’s children. Andrea empathizes with her young patients and their families. Her commitment to her work is inspiring. “It takes dedication to your profession, regardless of your position, to ensure you are still there for your patients. What’s nice about our practice is your patients become part of your family,” she says.
Though she’s been in the field for years, Andrea continues to push for new ways to connect with her patients. She’s helped orchestrate visits with local offices to develop a personal connection with doctors. This opens direct lines of communication, builds relationships with other doctors and, eventually, leads to referrals. Andrea goes above and beyond when building relationships with doctors and patients, and she frequently visits the hospital nursery during her rounds, on weekends, and on her days off to provide care to newborns and their parents before they officially become her patients. Andrea says, “I’m proud of this office because most pediatricians don’t take the time to go to the nursery, but we take efforts to be there at that first moment to deliver continuity of care.”
Andrea feels that the way she makes a difference as an NP is to fight for services that children need today. These services include early intervention, anxiety management, and working with schools and psychologists that serve as the liaison between behavioral and psychological care. “As an NP, we do more because we are the connecting piece between all the care delivered. We’re nurses first, and then NPs. We’re there for the patient and the family, which helps us treat the whole picture and not just the specific case. Continuing our personalized care and taking the extra step or making the extra call that’s needed to provide the patient with what they need, especially with kids who need early intervention or have school issues, makes a big difference in their daily lives.”
Being Truly Ambitious inside a large health system means going beyond delivering quality care. It means focus on personalized care that’s more than a quick check-up, and it’s dedicated service that accounts for patients’ whole selves, now and in the future. Andrea’s work is the definition of Truly Ambitious, and we are proud to call her a member of our Northwell Health family.
How one day changed everything for career transitioning veteran Nancy Banks
It took one event, one meeting and one conversation to convince Nancy Banks that Northwell Health was the right place for her.
A while back, Nancy attended a veterans career fair. Though there were many employers present, she didn’t connect with any of them. That is, until she happened to pass the Northwell Health booth on her way out. There she met Lyndon Chichester, Northwell Health Veteran Program Specialist and fellow U.S. Air Force veteran. Nancy recalls, “We talked about Northwell and the benefits of working for an organization that cares deeply for their patients and their employees. He told me to go online, find three jobs that matched my qualifications and send him the information. I did and within a week I had an interview.”
Today Nancy is an Administrative Manager at Northwell Health ambulatory facility, Lenox Hill OBGYN. The job is varied, challenging and highly rewarding. “I feel like I am making a difference in the lives of our patients and those that work in the office with me,” says Nancy. “I work with an exceptional group of people that love what they do.”
Nancy’s military experience uniquely prepared her for her role with Northwell Health. “The Air Force taught me leadership, commitment, compassion and honor,” says Nancy. “I use each of these, every single day at Northwell.”
Nancy has no regrets about her decision to join Northwell Health. “Transitioning to a new position is one of the most unnerving things I have done, so I wanted to make sure that I picked the right company,” Nancy says. “After working with Lyndon, I knew Northwell would be an exceptional organization, because he was exceptional.” Nancy is living proof of the benefits of Northwell Health being a Military Friendly® Employer for five years in a row.
If you’d like to be part of an organization with an unyielding commitment to supporting veterans, take the first step at the Northwell Health Veteran Interview Day on November 9. Network and interview with hiring managers and executives, hear from keynote speaker Mark Solazzo, Northwell Health’s Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, and much more.
Nancy would like to remind all those attending the Interview Day that, “the career opportunities at Northwell are endless. You are only limited by your determination and drive.”
Meet the Sherlock Holmes of solving claim errors: Northwell Health’s Anthony McCallum
Give him a mystery.
Northwell Health’s own Anthony McCallum, CPC-I, CIRCC, CPC, CCS received the 2018 Omar Brito Life Achievement Award from the Roxbury Institute for Medical Management in recognition of his extraordinary personal and professional achievements. Here’s how he got here.
Anthony pursued coding over twenty years ago, starting with the CPC credential. He worked as a coder and coding consultant and then joined the Revenue Integrity Operations (RIO) team with Northwell Health in 2005 as an Outpatient Revenue Coding Specialist. “After a few years into my coding career and having worked for many years as a patient access representative, I was looking to return to a part-time position at Northwell,” Anthony said. “During the application process, the hiring manager picked up on my revenue cycle experience and felt I would be a good fit for RIO. From there I was interviewed, tested and ultimately offered the greatest opportunity of my life.”
While in RIO, he received three additional prestigious coding certifications, a B.S. degree in Health Care Management and an M.B.A. in Health Administration. “Northwell has provided a platform in which I have been able to advance. There is so much growth in this field and Northwell has provided an environment which encourages that growth. This has had a direct and positive impact on my career and job satisfaction.”
So what is the revenue cycle? According to Anthony, Revenue Cycle includes clinical and administrative functions which contribute to the capture, management, and collection of patient service revenue. RIO has the rare opportunity and skill of analyzing claims in their entirety and assuring that the medical record documentation supports every line item on that claim appropriately. The comprehensive analysis of claims and medical record documentation in conjunction with knowledge of charge capture processes allows RIO to identify the root causes of claim errors. Claim errors can be due to an array of issues; coding, charging, documentation, registration, and software application failures to name a few. RIO directs claims correction and works with the appropriate departments in an effort to mitigate future errors. Anthony feels like “in a sense, we are the Sherlock Holmes of solving claim error mysteries.”
Anthony is dedicated to providing continuous coding education with integrity and intelligence, and his contributions have also been recognized by the health information management community. “I was approached by Frank Chisena, the president of the Roxbury Institute for Medical Management; he explained that the award was given to prior students deemed to have excelled in the profession and he wanted to present me with the 2018 award due to my advancement in healthcare revenue cycle.”
Anthony’s greatest award is a rewarding career. “RIO is constantly seeking innovative ways to improve the organization’s bottom line is the most rewarding aspect of my job,” Anthony said. “It is particularly rewarding when RIO has identified additional revenue opportunities while mitigating claim errors and compliance concerns. It is gratifying to know that our work directly impacts the financial health of the organization, enabling Northwell to fulfill its mission.”
Written by: Laura Wood, MSN, RN, AGNP-C, Palliative Care, Southside Hospital
While all the other girls in my high school were stressed preparing for their sweet 16, I was handling the stress of preparing for an admission to the hospital. To say living with chronic illness isn’t a struggle would be a lie, but you learn how to adapt when you have no other choice. It was around Thanksgiving in 2005 when I was diagnosed with Lupus (SLE) and Idiopathic Thrombocytopenia Purpura (ITP). Multiple admissions to and from Cohen Children’s Medical Center along with weekly home infusions would cause any 16-year-old to feel angry and hopeless.
The details of my hospital stay are hard to recall but until this day I have never forgotten how the nurses made me feel. The feeling of vulnerability as a patient is difficult to explain until you have personally experienced it. Lonesome, angry, and hopeless; all words to describe the vulnerability overwhelming my emotions.
During my time of despair, I had encountered a nurse who I will never forget. This nurse didn’t know it, but she had changed my life forever. Maybe it was the way she listened to me, made me feel like I wasn’t alone, gave me support, and hope. She made me laugh, made me forget I was sick, and made me remember that despite my situation, I was still a 16-year-old girl who deserved to have fun and celebrate my sweet 16 like every other girl at school.
There was one thing I knew for sure leaving that hospital: I wanted to make others feel how this nurse made me feel during the hardest time in my life. I wanted to be just like her; it was in this moment that I realized my calling: I’m a Nurse and nothing will hold me back.
Fast forward to 2 years later I started my first position at Northwell’s Plainview Hospital as a patient representative in the admitting and discharge office. I spent 4 years in this position while enrolled at Molloy College for my Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing. After graduation I continued to work at Plainview as a Registered Nurse for 7 years while simultaneously achieving my Masters Degree as an Adult and Geriatric Nurse Practitioner from Molloy College.
Today as I look back I’m proud to say I have come a long way since I was in that dark, anger filled, hopeless place from 14 years ago. My current role as a Nurse Practitioner is in Palliative Care and I have never felt so much fulfillment in my life.
Being diagnosed with multiple chronic illnesses, most of which are considered invisible disease, has forced me to push and work harder in order to achieve the same accomplishments as a healthy individual. I always remember back to when I was 16 and how vulnerable I felt – if I have the power to make just one person feel less vulnerable, advocate for them, decrease their pain, and increase their comfort then I have no other option but to continue my calling. Palliative Care is exactly where I belong because I am able to help those who are like myself. In each and every patient I see a reflection of my 16-year-old self staring back at me.
At the end of the day before I lay my head down to sleep I can say with full confidence that what I do with my life isn’t a job, but a calling. Jobs are made with tasks for people to complete, but callings are for people whose task is never complete. The experience of the care is ongoing and is carried with both the nurses and patient for the rest of their lives. Nursing is my calling. I was Made for this.
It is Northwell Health’s policy to provide equal employment opportunity and treat all applicants and employees equally regardless of their age, race, creed/religion, color, national origin, immigration status or citizenship status, sexual orientation, military or veteran status, sex/gender, gender identity, gender expression, disability, pregnancy, genetic information or genetic predisposition or carrier s