Our Transitional Care Management Team Delivers Compassionate Patient Care—After A Hospital Stay
When you consider a career in health care, you’ll likely picture patients being treated by nurses and doctors at a hospital or doctor’s office. But what about the care provided afterward? At Northwell, ensuring a patient continues on the road to good health following discharge is just as important as treating them during their stay — and that’s when the Transitional Care Management (TCM) team steps in.
As a TCM senior program manager, Chris Choi knows that “it takes a multifaceted team, which even includes the patient and family, to help guide those in need to step ‘north’ along the path of wellness.” That passage north is charted with the careful teamwork of roles ranging from nurses and doctors to social workers and care management coordinators.
TCM teams follow up with patients after they leave the hospital to ensure they stay the course toward wellbeing and rejoin their communities. The work of TCM also impacts organizational goals such as reducing patient readmission, which is critical for a health system caring for more than 2 million people annually within 23 hospitals and nearly 800 outpatient sites. “I coordinate the implementation of organization-wide strategies designed to meet operational objectives,” says Chris, “as well as provide hospitals with data and analytics to support their process-improvement efforts.”
Chris began his Northwell career journey as an intern in 2017, and it was then that he realized the direct impact his work would have on patients. His internship project was to develop a self-management workbook for patients recovering from a cardiothoracic procedure. According to Chris, “At the end of my internship, I was able to visit the patient recovering at home. It was amazing to know I had made even a small impact on the life of this patient!”
From his days as an intern to his current role, Chris always loves working directly with the teams treating our patients. “Although I am not involved in direct clinical care, I love that I am still able to contribute toward the health care of thousands of patients though our transitional care programs.”
Throughout the growth of his Northwell career, Chris was encouraged by leadership to expand his knowledge of what it means to work in health care by receiving opportunities and resources to be creative. He believes the care the organization shows not only to patients but also to employees is just one part of what makes Northwell Health a Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For®. Chris continues to see opportunities ahead of him, and he feels confident about forging ahead on his career path: “I know that in every position, within every portfolio of work, the organization will help me excel and guide me to always be patient-centered. My managers and leadership support me by the way they communicate, teach and lead by example.”
Chris recommends a career in health care –whether in clinical or non-clinical roles–to anyone who understands “it’s important to stay humble. We learn from both our own experiences and from our team members. It’s a process of constant discovery that offers ways to support patients.”
Redefine what you think it means to work in health care and discover a career well cared for at Northwell Health.
When You Think Westchester, Think Northwell Health
Westchester, known for outdoorsy fun and chic shopping hubs in the Hudson Valley, is also home to two award-winning hospitals, each recognized for the care they give and the positive work environment they provide Northwell Health employees: Phelps Hospital (Phelps) and Northern Westchester Hospital (NWH).
Located in Sleepy Hollow, N.Y., Phelps holds firm to a credence of going above and beyond medicine, taking into account not only an unwavering commitment to the community’s health, but also the well-being and support the staff needs to minister quality health care. “I would recommend Phelps to any nurse looking for change. You will be supported throughout every aspect of your career,” says Cecil Bonitto, registered nurse at Phelps Hospital. Phelps is proud to be listed by U.S. News and World Report as a High Performing Hospital and is honored for their numerous awards in cancer screening and care, among other highly coveted endorsements, none of which is made possible without the passionate workforce behind the services.
Northern Westchester Hospital (NWH), in Mount Kisco, N.Y., likewise praises its staff for two recent achievements: the designation of its Institute for Robotics and Minimally Invasive Surgery as a Center of Excellence in Robotic Surgery by the Surgical Review Corporation (SRC); and Magnet® recognition for nursing excellence for the third time. NWH’s commitment to improving the health of the people in the community is recognized by U.S. News and World Report with a ranking of #15 on its Best Regional Hospitals list. “I am surrounded by so many amazing individuals who give it their all, day in and day out,” says NWH emergency room nurse Samantha Miness. “It is truly remarkable to be among some of the best in providing care and comfort to our community.”
Both facilities continuously seek ways to create and promote a workplace that inspires the good work they’re known for. Never was this a more pressing need than during the height of the pandemic, when each hospital created a wellness garden as an oasis for employee reflection. These sanctuaries bring the vibe of nature and local community into the hospital setting while providing sources of nourishment for patients and employees. They also serve as a place for personal growth through opportunities to learn about horticulture. “It’s a great and friendly work environment,” says Natalia Avendano, a NHW patient care associate. “It feels like family, and there is always room for growth.”
These two highly regarded, state-of-the-art hospitals factor into Northwell Health’s recognition as a Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For®. Northwell is also devoted to creating an environment that is open to all, where everyone feels like they belong, regardless of their background. In fact, Northwell welcomes the sharing of diverse ideas and voices, which sparks innovation in medicine and care. “I was encouraged to continue my education and I received financial assistance with the Nursing Promise Program offered by Phelps,” says Phelps registered nurse Karla Vallejo.
Both Phelps and NWH embody all that Northwell aims to be: pioneers in both medicine and employee experience. The hospitals strive to impact the quality of life of everyone in the community — whether they live, work or visit Westchester.
So when you think of quality healthcare in Westchester County, you should also think of Northwell Health.
Explore nursing opportunities and discover a career well cared for by taking a look at available Nursing and Nursing Support Roles at Phelps and NWH .
Celebrating Women in Medicine: Meet Dr. Chunyan Li, PhD (EE) and Dr. Christina Brennan, MD, MBA
The world of medical research — often a behind-the-scenes sector — houses some of the most brilliant minds: transformational thinkers who envision the bigger picture of improved health for all. At Northwell Health, where we champion diversity and inclusion across our workforce, we are proud of our many women scientists who are leading the way in research innovation.
In honor of Women in Medicine Month, we spoke with Chunyan Li, PhD (EE), and Christina Brennan, MD, MBA — two exceptional leaders at the Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research — about their experiences and their thoughts on encouraging women to pursue careers in science. The Feinstein Institutes is the home of research for Northwell Health. Teams of researchers work tirelessly to discover treatments and innovations that change the future of medicine not only for our patients but the world at large. Read below to learn about the incredible work of these two powerhouse women in medicine, and how innovations at Northwell are born out of a fervent belief that voices must be heard at every level and from every background.
What research have you been involved with at the Feinstein Institutes?
Chunyan Li: I helped develop an innovative laboratory research program focused on two major problems in clinical neurosurgery — traumatic brain injury (TBI) and subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) from ruptured brain aneurysms. We have found that stimulation of the nerve that provides sensation to most of the face and tongue, increases blood supply to the brain due to its connections with cerebral vessels.
Christina Brennan: As the vice president of clinical research, I oversee the clinical research program for all of Northwell, which includes supporting our 300-plus research coordinators and 400-plus clinical investigators. My days include facilitating clinical research trials and studies, and on the management side I act as an anchor for our teams of researchers, sustaining their growth and the growth of our clinical research program.
What first drew you to the field of clinical research?
Chunyan Li: I grew up in China and was fascinated by engineering and scientific research from a young age. During my graduate studies I met Raj K. Narayan, MD, chairman emeritus of neurosurgery at Northwell and was introduced to the many research opportunities relating to the brain. Dr. Narayan recruited me to Northwell. Our work in applying electrical engineering and computer science techniques to brain monitoring received a Department of Defense grant. Throughout my time at Northwell, my work has evolved to focus more on patients, which is an exciting and fulfilling direction.
Christina Brennan: I was inspired by the juncture between patients and science. In our work, patients have the opportunity to participate in clinical research and together we have the ability to advance medicine and help the patients of tomorrow.
Why would you recommend the Feinstein Institutes to others interested in careers in science, particularly women?
Chunyan Li: The Feinstein Institutes is a very special place for research — small enough to build relationships, large enough to make an impact. There are different ways to have an influence in science at the Feinstein Institutes and I particularly like the focus on clinical translational work. Working bench-to-bedside gives me the chance to interact with physicians. What we do is aimed at finding new and better treatments for conditions for which there are currently not enough answers.
Christina Brennan: A career at the Feinstein Institutes provides the chance to change the trajectory of medicine and science because the areas in which you can put your hands and mind to work seem endless. Now more than ever, the world has its eyes on clinical research. It’s an exciting time in the field.
How has your work been supported by the Feinstein Institutes and Northwell?
Chunyan Li: I work in a very supportive environment. I have been able to learn research techniques through unique experiences I did not have while in graduate school. Here, you never feel alone because we always have access to mentors who are selfless in the sharing of their ideas and encouragement. Additionally, as a female faculty member, my lab received support from the Advancing Women in Science and Medicine (AWSM) program, which has allowed us time to develop prospective treatment methods and obtain further funding from federal institutions.
Christina Brennan: Personally, I was able to pursue my MBA through Northwell’s support at Hofstra University. I continue training and getting educated through my work at the Feinstein Institutes and through the many organizations we partner with. I agree that a big aid in our ability to grow as women in medicine is the AWSM program initiated by our very own Dr. Betty Diamond, Director of the Institute of Molecular Medicine at the Feinstein Institutes. It gives me confidence to know that the advancement of career opportunities and career satisfaction for women are important missions here at the Feinstein Institutes and across Northwell Health.
How has Northwell and the Feinstein Institutes impacted both your personal and professional growth?
Chunyan Li: Research can feel like a competitive sport, but it’s reassuring to know that Northwell Health is a big proponent of supporting research through funding and programs. In my 11 years here, I have grown as a scientist and faculty member, and that is much in part because of the strong foundation holding us up at both the Feinstein Institutes and Northwell.
Christina Brennan: The health system has endorsed my participation in conferences, research boards, and other opportunities to present as a leader in clinical research. This has been both personally rewarding for me and has added to my professional development.
Why do you believe Northwell Health has been named a Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For®?
Chunyan Li: There is no single answer to this question. For me, Northwell has provided great opportunities to develop myself as a researcher and to find better answers for difficult-to-treat diseases of the nervous system.
Christina Brennan: “Impossible to narrow it down to one reason. It’s the opportunities, the stability and the culture of trust.”
Chunyan Li, PhD (EE), lab director, Translational Brain Research Laboratory, Institute for Bioelectronic Medicine, the Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research and the Department of Neurosurgery Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwel
Christina Brennan, MD, MBA, vice president, clinical research, Feinstein Institutes
A Career in Care Management at Northwell Means a Fulfilling Role with Endless Room for Growth
A career in health care is often pursued by people who are passionate about caring for others. Health care is a broad industry with so many touchpoints for improving the health of our communities, but some of those communities need extra help reaching their health goals. Northwell Health Solutions programs provide care coordination to those needing assistance with accessing medical care as well as mental health, substance abuse, social, and family support services.
Impacting community health requires a combination of compassionate employees dedicated to helping people and a health system committed to keeping the “care” in healthcare—and that’s the case with the Northwell Health Solutions team. “I love helping others,” says Jessica Torres, supervisor, HARP Care Management at New York Health Home. “Something like scheduling an appointment and advocating for your own health can seem simple, but it can be difficult for a lot of the patients we work with.” Fellow care management supervisor Alexis Bustillo adds, “The organization is constantly innovating to ensure that they deliver the best care possible.”
This commitment from a health system alone may be what some candidates expect when seeking a career in health care, but as Jessica and Alexis quickly learned, at Northwell you’ll also raise your career expectations. They both joined New York Health Home in 2018 and rapidly grew in their roles. “The reputation about Northwell is true,” says Alexis. “Its friendly work environment, the flexibility, and advancement opportunities are real.”
A positive workplace and knowing your career is well cared for fuels the success Alexis and Jessica have achieved, which includes working with their teams and the Medicaid community to get patients to their providers, assist them with housing and connect them with counseling support services. ““From the moment I interviewed with Northwell, I knew this is where I wanted to be. Knowing that I have been able to make patients’ lives more manageable is everything,” says Jessica.
When asked what makes Northwell a Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For®, Jessica and Alexis couldn’t call-out just one reason. They noted the culture, the room for growth, the support from leadership, incredible benefits like tuition reimbursement, and the investment in training and developing all employees — regardless of role or title.
Both Alexis and Jessica believe that joining Northwell Health was one of the best decisions they’ve made and would recommend it to anyone seeking a meaningful career where real differences are made in the communities we live in.
Health and Wellness Isn’t Just about Our Patients: It’s about Our Team Members, Too
We spoke with Michael H. Goldberg, executive director at Long Island Jewish Medical Center (LIJMC), about his dedication to making wellness a top priority for employees at LIJMC and all of Northwell Health. Michael’s healthy initiatives have had a real impact throughout the health system — and with tens of thousands of followers on social media, Michael has inspired people far beyond the walls of LIJMC with his passion for healthy living at home and at work.
Michael has been with Northwell for more than two decades, beginning as an intern in 2000. “I was inspired by the executive leadership’s commitment to improving the lives of the people in the communities we serve,” he says. “I knew Northwell had values that aligned with my own — and was a place where I could help make a difference.” Throughout his tenure, Michael has committed to living Northwell’s core values, whether it’s helping other Northwell team members achieve their health goals or driving clinical and operational initiatives at LIJMC that ensure safe, efficient and innovative care to all patients.
Northwell expects collaboration and contribution from all employees, regardless of role, considering its CEO is known for saying things like “Ability is in everyone” and for noting that innovation is stifled when employees are expected to just do their jobs and aren’t encouraged to share new ideas. So it’s no surprise that Michael continually goes above and beyond his operational responsibilities to champion initiatives promoting employee self-care.
These initiatives include the new LIJMC fitness center available to hospital employees 24/7, healthier meal options at campus cafés thanks to menu changes made by Northwell’s very own Michelin-star chef Bruno Tison, and health challenges like the Northwell Heroes Challenge. The annual Heroes Challenge, a testament to Northwell’s “team of one” culture with hundreds of employee participants, is a fitness event to raise money for the Caregiver Support Fund, which provides resources to team members in need, such as programs and services related to emotional and psychological well-being, as well as financial support for essential and crisis services.
Michael still marvels at how far Northwell leaders go to improve patient and employee well-being. “Wellness goes beyond physical and nutritional health at Northwell,” Michael says. “There are many offerings for mental wellness, too. From transcendental meditation to acupuncture to our employee assistance program, the support available to all our team members is unparalleled.”
That level of support inspired Michael to run in the 2019 New York City Marathon and upon announcing his commitment to running as part of the Northwell Health team, the accolades, tips, support and donations to the caregiver support cause on his behalf started pouring in.
That’s what you can expect from colleagues at Northwell. What you’d soon learn, as Michael knows so well, is that your coworkers aren’t just colleagues — they’re family.
If you’re looking for a workplace that does things differently — through a mission to create an environment where you can build relationships, thrive in positivity and make a difference in the community — then we invite you to discover a career well cared for at NorthwellCareers.com.
Day in the Life: Respiratory Therapist at North Shore University Hospital
Meet Lian Shanhai, who started her Northwell career journey in 2020 as a respiratory therapist with a neonatal/pediatric specialty certification at North Shore University Hospital (NSUH). Within her first year at Northwell, Lian has learned to be a team player and develop skills that helps her grow as a Respiratory Therapist.
Her day-to-day routine varies but her current role includes performing respiratory care as prescribed by a provider for the diagnosis and treatment of respiratory illness in patients of all ages, from premature newborns to geriatric patients. Within her role she responds to all codes, Level I traumas, and rapid responses depending on her assignment for her shift.
First things first, Lian looks to see what her assignment is for the day once she arrives to work. Next, she prints out her patient list, which includes their ordered treatments. Then she reads the report from the previous shift and attends a huddle meeting, after which she goes to her units. This is where her team begins their rounds with the providers and develops a plan for the day, which can include examining patients’ airways and suctioning when necessary, performing ventilator checks, and providing additional treatments. “During the shift I also assist with intubations, transport patients on ventilatory support to procedures and attend high-risk deliveries in Katz Women’s Hospital at NSUH,” says Lian.
“My favorite thing about being a respiratory therapist is the connections I get to make with my patients and their families,” says Lian. “I treat every patient I come into contact with as if they were my own family and I’m able to provide relief for my patients.” Part of Lian’s role is to explain to family members how the ventilator works and how we are helping their loved ones. “It is very difficult to see a loved one intubated and on a ventilator but I get to provide peace of mind to their family members.”
EDITORS’ NOTE Since joining Northwell in 2008, Maxine Carrington has served in progressively responsible leadership roles and has successfully driven team member engagement and development at every layer of the health system. Most recently, she served as deputy chief human resources officer where she was responsible for the design and implementation of strategic initiatives related to the team member experience, career and performance development, change management, workforce diversity, equity and inclusion, corporate social responsibility and compensation. She previously held several regional and site HR roles. Prior to joining Northwell, Carrington was a manager and attorney with the New York City Mayor’s Office of Labor Relations. In addition to mentoring within and outside of the organization, she is an instructor with the Center for Learning & Innovation, Northwell’s corporate university, and serves as a co-sponsor of the organization’s business employee resource groups. She is also a trustee of the 1199 Pension Fund serving employees for the New York Region and serves on the board of The INN (Interfaith Nutrition Network), a not-forprofit organization that provides essential services to assist those challenged by hunger, homelessness, and poverty. Carrington holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and Africana studies and a master’s degree in educational administration and policy studies from the University at Albany in New York. She obtained her Juris Doctorate degree from New York Law School.
How has the role of the chief human resources officer evolved?
As companies and organizations have evolved over time with an emphasis on culture, people and technology, the landscape has become more competitive and there is an increased need to elevate efforts to attract and retain talent. We are committed to caring for our patients, but it starts with caring for our people and providing an atmosphere where they want to work and stay so that we can fulfill our mission. The human resources officer needs to be engaged in business strategy and not just have a seat at the table, but have a voice at the table. Northwell’s focus on caring for our people has been at the forefront this past year in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. We increased our efforts to support the well-being of our 76,000 team members and we have seen the impact of those efforts in our increased employment engagement numbers and recent elevation from #93 to #19 on the Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For® list. We are now working to make sure we sustain this momentum in caring for the well-being of our people.
You mentioned culture. How are you able to maintain culture with the size and scale of Northwell Heath?
The first priority is to define the culture and we do this by starting with our mission, behavioral commitments, and values. We refer to our values as the “trulys” – to be truly compassionate and truly innovative, for example – and this bonds the organization across our 76,000 team members. We have many locations and each has a local culture, but they are all connected by our Northwell mission and values. We work to ensure sustainment of our culture through our hiring, selection, recognition and compensation practices.
How critical is it for Northwell Health’s workforce to mirror the diversity of its patients and the communities it serves?
Our President and CEO, Michael Dowling, makes it very clear that this is of great importance and has his commitment. He recently discussed with me the need to more effectively surface diverse talent in the organization. We created a team within Northwell about a year and a half ago called Fair Employment Practices and in addition to a focus on immigration, they lead our workforce diversity, equity, and inclusion strategy. Many other teams also play a role – it is a comprehensive and integrated strategy. Key objectives include preventing bias in the hiring process, driving organizational commitment, and increasing the representation of underrepresented groups in leadership. Parallel to that focus is a major commitment to inclusion. While we can increase representation, if people don’t feel that they have a voice and that they belong, we will not be able to retain that talent. We have invested heavily in education with an inclusive leadership course, unconscious bias training and cultural competency education. We will be expanding our impact by providing equity, diversity and inclusion education for family members of our team members. We are also driving these efforts at our medical school and experiencing positive outcomes. There is a strong voice and commitment from our dean in partnership with faculty, students and a dedicated physician leader to attract and support our diverse student population.
You devote your time as an instructor at the Center for Learning and Innovation, Northwell’s corporate university. Will you discuss the mission and impact of the Center?
It was Michael Dowling’s vision many years ago to have our own university. The university is comprised of our Center for Learning and Innovation (CLI) and the Patient Safety Institute (PSI). PSI is about ensuring quality patient care and safety outcomes. CLI houses enrichment learning, leader preparation, development programs and more. Its offerings include emotional intelligence, coaching and conflict management. The Center provides an opportunity for our team members from all over the organization to connect, learn and grow together. We continue to evolve the work of the Center to ensure that its programs and offerings are relevant and supporting the organization’s needs.
Northwell Health was on the front lines of the pandemic and treated more COVID patients than any other health system. How proud are you to see the strength and resilience of your team members during this challenging and uncertain time?
Proud is an understatement. I would not work anywhere else. We have a saying at Northwell – “I am made for this.” We also have a new branding campaign called “Raise Health.” The work that we have done for years, especially around culture development and emergency management, enabled our people to be made for this and they demonstrated their character, selflessness, courage and resilience during this unprecedented time. It is a privilege and honor to raise the standard of health alongside them.
Northwell Health is committed to fostering a diverse and inclusive work environment where people from all backgrounds are accepted, celebrated and respected. Discover a career well cared for here.
Kimouy Williams on Delivering Passionate Care as a PCA
As a patient care associate (PCA) at Long Island Jewish Medical Center, Kimouy Williams spends each day with our patients putting all she has into helping make their time at Northwell Health a little more comfortable.
Even when her day consists of wearing multiple hats, Kimouy is eager to greet and attend to each patient, assisting them in getting up, bathed, dressed, and ensuring that they have all they need to be comfortable throughout the day. “I always make sure my clients have snacks and a clean bedside table. I know the effects that hunger can have on a patient’s mood and being attentive with cleanliness is an important part of being a successful PCA.”
A patient care associate is a fulfilling career that Kimouy truly cherishes. “My career at Northwell is something that I’m very proud of. I’m excited to continue my journey here and being given the opportunity to advance my education in nursing while working with incredibly dedicated healthcare professionals who are committed to providing the best care to every person who walks through our doors”, shared Kimouy when asked why she loves working at Northwell.
When Kimouy left Jamaica and came to the US almost five years ago, she knew she wanted to pursue her passion in caring for others like she did for her late grandmother, who taught her so much about hard work and perseverance. “These traits are very much a requirement for me to succeed in my role. Choosing a career at Northwell was an easy decision because they not only offer amazing benefits, they also support my dreams of furthering my career in healthcare.”
Join Kimouy and the incredible nursing support team in a career well cared for at Northwell. Apply today!
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Raise your career expectations on Staten Island – with more growth opportunities even closer to home
Did you know: the average person who commutes one hour to work (each way) spends approximately two years of their life sitting in traffic by the time they reach retirement? A shorter commute means greater work-life balance. At Northwell Health, we have numerous Staten Island ambulatory care locations, which means it’s even easier to choose a closer commute matched with a valuable and rewarding career—one with growth and opportunity.
To give you more insight, read below to hear from Northwell medical assistants and administrative support associates who shared their experience of what it is like to work at some of these Staten Island locations.
“Prior to working at Northwell, I had a very long commute which made my workdays feel longer,” says Caty Takemoto, lead patient account representative with Northwell Health Physician Partners — Cardiology in Dyker Heights. Caty is responsible for billing, collections, third-party reimbursements, computer data entry, and retrieval. “Coming from New Jersey, the commute to Staten Island is relatively easy for me now and I love listening to my favorite songs in my car as I make my way to work.”
Katie Burns, senior medical assistant for Cohen Children’s Northwell Health Physician Partners Pediatric Surgical Specialists in Staten Island, also appreciates working closer to home and describes her professional growth and development with Northwell as fulfilling and life changing. “I have grown professionally throughout my time here at Northwell by taking on new challenges whenever they arise. As a medical assistant, many of my scoliosis surgical and bracing patients are young adolescents. It’s here that I can reinforce positive body image and provide emotional support to help them feel more confident as they heal.”
Helen Ruiz is a practice lead administrative support coordinator at Staten Island University Hospital South, Cardiology Department. Her role encompasses making sure that the physician at her practice has everything he needs to provide the best experience and care for our patients. “Working at Northwell Health in Staten Island has been extremely rewarding for me. My day begins with an easy commute and continues at a job where I am constantly learning new things and meeting great people who are very dedicated to their work. There is an opportunity to grow here, and I am grateful to be a part of the Northwell Health family.”Helen not only coordinates clerical duties, but she also greets and directs visitors, answers phones, takes messages, schedules appointments, collects payments, and maintains inventory of all office supplies.
Learn more about Staten Island opportunities at our ambulatory care centers here.
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.”
Pierre Mouawad’s career journey from lab technologist to lab director
Since starting his Northwell Health career journey as a blood bank technologist at Lenox Hill Hospital (LHH) in 2009, Pierre Mouawad MBA, MT, has been able to grow tremendously within the clinical laboratory team. His growth, from technologist to lab director, is a story that continues to inspire the laboratory team members that he leads at LHH.
By 2013, Pierre was promoted to a transfusion safety officer and later became a performance improvement manager before his current title of director, all while at LHH. Pierre’s ambition and drive for growth was supported by the health system through leadership training programs at the Center for Learning and Innovation and through mentorships with several leaders and team members. And in 2017, Pierre was also able to earn his MBA with support from Northwell Health’s tuition reimbursement program.
Today as director of operations in Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Pierre oversees the laboratory services at LHH. The laboratory is comprised of 14 areas of specialization within Clinical Pathology, Anatomic Pathology, and Blood Bank. Pierre leads a team of 200 plus members including managers, supervisors, technologists, phlebotomists and administrative staff.
Last year, Pierre and his team were honored to be recognized on a national level with LHH being named Medical Laboratory Observer’s 2020 Lab of the Year. “This recognition made my team and me very proud of our excellent strategic outlook, culture and education, training and quality.” Pierre himself has also been recognized by Healthcare Performance Insider for his laboratory leadership throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I love working with talented scientists and hard-working individuals who are knowledgeable professionals and want to come to work every day,” says Pierre. “The laboratory world has grown so much, and I believe that innovation and culture are the key drivers to be successful in this industry”
Pierre’s hope is that his story inspires both students and other young technologists. “My passion is to mentor students to pursue a career in the laboratory field. Seventy percent of clinical decisions are based on lab results, so laboratory professionals are essential to the healthcare industry – even more so during this pandemic with all the COVID testing,” says Pierre. “I hope to continue inspiring colleagues to grow in the field by learning and being the best versions of themselves through excellent work ethic, challenging themselves, practicing kindness, and being passionate, emotionally intelligent, and empathetic.”
Pierre’s vision is emblematic of the leadership throughout the health system. Growth opportunities similar to those in his journey are available to all employees. The support he received through learning opportunities, benefits such as tuition reimbursement, and the encouragement for sharing ideas are not unique experiences but rather the values that have made Northwell Health once again a Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For® and 2021 Best Health System for Diversity by DiversityInc.
Discover a career well cared for as a clinical laboratory professional at Northwell Health. Apply today!
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.”