Four-hour blood transfusions used to tax 14-year-old Akayllah McEwan’s mind as much as her body. While the healthy red blood cells pumped into her body treated her sickle cell disease, she struggled with the scourge of adolescence: boredom.
Then Child Life Specialist Sammy Sherman taught Akayllah to make “Blood Soup,” mixing water, red food coloring, marshmallows, red hot candies and toffees in mason jars to illustrate sickle cell disease’s effect on a cellular level and what the transfusions do to help her.
“I wanted to eat the food,” Akayllah giggled, then acknowledged, “I always kind of understood why I needed the transfusions. Sammy made it specific for me.”
Over the past decade, Delta has contributed more than $2 million to Cohen Children’s Medical Center. “Child Life is one of the programs not covered by health insurance,” explained Tricia Rumola, Delta Air Lines’ general manager of Community Engagement. “We hope our support will help families and patients have a sense of comfort going through an incredibly difficult time in their lives.”
Helping kids overcome fear and embrace hope
Delta’s sponsorship of Sammy’s position helps kids overcome fears and anxieties and learn to cope with challenging medical experiences. “My goal is to empower patients and families,” said Sammy, who holds a master’s degree in child life.
She uses Surgi Dolls and makes treatments more relateable to patients by helping them understand hospital equipment through therapeutic activities. Sammy also supports kids when they receive a terminal diagnosis, giving them space to enjoy time with their family, and feel like kids who happen to be sick — not sick kids.
“Sammy has an extraordinary ability to connect with children,” said Cynthia Rodriguez, Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy Program director. “While they may think they are just having fun with Sammy, she is undoubtedly teaching them, supporting them, and helping them to learn how to navigate their journey successfully.”
Sammy also connects patients with each other since they have limited opportunities to socialize with other kids. She started a monthly newsletter where they can submit jokes, stories and artwork to express themselves.
“Sammy is my go-to person at the hospital,” said Akayllah. “She takes my mind off of the transfusion and makes the hospital a normal area where I can be myself.”
“Sammy is really doing the work that is her life’s calling,” said Tricia. “Delta couldn’t be prouder to have our name connected to Sammy and the work she is doing.”
Why Joseph chose finance at Northwell over Wall Street
When Joseph Baglio accepted a position in Northwell Health’s Administrative Fellowship in 2003, he was walking away from a job on Wall Street.
“The same week I was offered a fellowship at Northwell, I was offered a job on Wall Street as an analyst,” recounts Joseph. “I did some soul searching and thought I wanted to invest my time in healthcare. I made the choice to come to Northwell for a year-long program and I’ve been here ever since.”
Today Joseph has advanced his career from starting as an administrative fellow to associate executive director of finance at Plainview Hospital and Syosset Hospital. In his role, he is responsible for the finance and operations management for both hospitals. Along with making sure his team have the resources they need to provide the best experience for our patients, Joseph manages the hospitals’ annual operating budgets, monitors patient volume, and develops capital and business planning. Joseph is also a mentor in Northwell’s 10-week Healthcare Management Program internship where he pays it forward to provide someone the education and experience he received starting his career.
It was his background in the Administrative Fellowship program that Joseph feels provided him with the experience to succeed in a role that balances operations alongside finance. “I’ve been exposed to different areas at Northwell which helped me prepare for the future,” says Joseph. “When you look at other organizations and roles in finance, they spend a lot of their day primarily only on finance. At Northwell, we’re the finance role of the future that’s just as much operations as it is finance. It makes for a career that’s not just emotionally fulfilling but intellectually stimulating.”
That is why he encourages other business majors to join the Northwell finance team. “There are so many opportunities here for those who are interested in finance. From hospital operations to corporate finance such as, accounting and financial reporting, it gives an individual a good foundation of how a healthcare organization operates from a numbers perspectives. Working in healthcare also means Joseph’s job is never boring: “Every year we are faced with many new challenges as the health system grows with the ever-changing industry.” It keeps the job from becoming routine and lets him use his experience and knowledge to help make sure our operations are fiscally viable.
But at the end of the day, it’s still all about having the ability to help people. “At Northwell, I am able to deal with a lot of day-to-day challenges that I would deal with in the market in a traditional finance role but I can feel good about my job because I’m helping people. It’s rewarding because I get the balance of being close to patients while still being on the business end of things.”
And Joseph’s work at Northwell isn’t over yet. “For me, I feel that not only has the organization invested in me through the fellowship program and other educational opportunities, I’ve invested a lot of time here too. It’s a two-way street, and I’m excited for what the future holds.”
Are you Made for a finance career at Northwell? Apply today!
Aldony’s journey to leadership at Northwell and in the Military Reserves
Growing up, Aldony “Al” Fernandez always dreamed of serving our country and being a soldier.
“I had the mindset that one day I would join the military and become an officer to not only serve our country, but also help guide, lead, and mentor others,” says Al.
This goal of helping to protect our country came true after Al had already started his Northwell career journey. After joining the organization in 2015 as a talent acquisition (TA) specialist, Al joined the US Army National Guard in 2016.
Today, Al has become a leader in the Reserves, and at Northwell as well. Along with his promotion to manager for the ambulatory region in 2018, Al has recently been promoted to a Lieutenant in the Army.
“Northwell is the most military friendly company that I know of,” says Al. “I have felt nothing but support and respect through my time at Northwell. Everyone has been not only understanding of my need to balance my work life, Army life and personal life, but also proud and thankful of my service.”
When he began his Northwell career, Al had the drive to keep learning. As a TA specialist, he worked on a number of projects both inside and outside of his department, took classes at Northwell’s Center for Learning and Innovation (CLI), and read self-development books. Since his promotion, Al has continued his CLI training with the Leadership Essentials Sessions.
But it was while training to become a Lieutenant where he found invaluable lessons in leadership.
“As I was attending the Army Officer Candidate School to become a Lieutenant, I took many leadership, counseling, and tactics classes. This plus the intense training helped me understand the value of leading rather than just managing,” shares Al. “It has truly defined what the word ‘team’ really means and the great accomplishments that working together as a unit can allow us to achieve.”
Northwell’s continued support of Al’s military leave has enabled him to continue to thrive both in the office and in the Army.
And serving in the Reserves has only made Al happier in his position at Northwell: “It has been a tough road, but definitely rewarding – today I am proud to call myself a Lieutenant in the US Army National Guard. It’s made me prouder of our organization and who we are, and it has helped me become selfless and a better leader here at Northwell.”
An Appointment With: Winnie Mack, SVP, Health System Operations
When Winnie Mack started her career as an OB registered nurse, she never expected where her career would take her. Since joining Northwell Health in 2002 as associate executive director at LIJ Valley Stream Hospital, her journey has led her to becoming associate executive director at two Northwell facilities, chief operating officer and nurse executive at Southside Hospital, executive director at Southside Hospital, and into regional executive director positions.
Today, Winnie is senior vice president of health system operations. In her role, Winnie is responsible for system periOperative services, the development and implementation of policy and procedure, senior leader adviser to Human Resources for Labor Relations, oversees Community Relations, and works with strategic planning on different programs. Up next, Winnie will become interim president and CEO of Nassau University Medical Center as part of their multiyear agreement with Northwell Health. “In all of the things that I have done in my career, the only thing I’ve ever really wanted to do was make a difference,” says Winnie, “I want to have a positive impact on patient care, on employees and on the community. I think this new position will afford me again the opportunity to help a distressed hospital and help stabilize it.”
We sat down with Winnie to hear about her impressive healthcare career and what’s still to come.
While at Southside, you helped fortify its position in Suffolk County and become a tertiary hospital. What initiatives did you lead there to help strengthen the hospital?
The mission at Southside Hospital was always to provide exemplary medical care with compassion and expertise to all in need. When I came to Southside as both chief operating officer and nurse executive, it already offered many services but they needed to be improved and upgraded. Holding both jobs allowed me to really familiarize myself with the staff. To go in and make the right organizational changes to positively impact the hospital, you have to get to know the staff.
One of the major accomplishments Winnie was a part of was starting an open heart program, opening and a large part of that was thanks to the support of the community. To gain that community backing, we started building out a community relations team. Our community relations team went out everywhere we could to talk about Southside, to talk about the changes we were making and to talk about the direction we were going
Along with getting the open heart program, we were able to get CARF accreditation for our extensive rehabilitation services, improved our medicine and surgery programs, received the Gold Stroke Award, built one of the busiest orthopedic programs in the system, and achieved a zero infection rate! We also brought in new trauma surgeons and became a level II trauma center and became the most eastern Northwell tertiary hospital.
How has your experience in a clinical career as a nurse helped prepare you to work in the corporate environment?
I started my healthcare career as a registered nurse in OB and went through several specialties that gave me a well-rounded clinical background. This clinical experience helped me to understand as an administrator in a hospital what issues could evolve and what needed to be done about them. I understood where clinical team members were coming from and was able to listen and relate to them. Having been a nurse in dialysis, medical/surgical, transplant, and critical care among other specialties, also allows me to utilize my clinical expertise to develop protocols. Understanding clinical operations, for me, has become an important piece of how I am able to be successful in administration.
Could you talk a little bit about Ideas at Northwell and how it is helping drive innovation across the health system?
I was given the opportunity to develop the new program called Ideas at Northwell that’s built to help drive innovation among Northwell’s team members. This is a tremendous program that’s taken a year in the making. As an employee engagement program, Ideas at Northwell creates a platform for team members to share their ideas in a challenge-based format to help improve efficiency and potentially save the health system money in operations. These ideas are first crowd sourced, then put to an employee vote and then go through expert review. Our goal is to help employees in their respective places of work within the organization to do their job better. Ideas at Northwell gives them a venue to share their ideas for improvements in processes to help us help them. Whether the ideas are for a better management of conference room scheduling or to remove certain processes that are extraneous, we want our employees to have a space to have their ideas heard. Our launch for our first system-wide challenge is May 6th.
What advice do you have for aspiring leaders?
One of the things that is really important is to lead with your heart. What do I mean by that? Do the right thing. If you always have in the back of your head to do the right thing, you can never go wrong. When you’re in a leadership position, you also have the opportunity to work with your team to energize them and inspire them to move up in their careers. Don’t micromanage – set the goal and let your people be creative and develop their own style to get you there.
It’s also important to always trust and champion your boss and to create the environment that your team is always on the same page. You may disagree, and that’s okay, but you want to remain a united team. Part of that unity is that I don’t say work for me, I say work with me. From the house cleaner to an associate executive director – this is a team, we work together. I also encourage leaders to keep their doors open unless they’re on a call or in a meeting. It’s important for anyone to have access to you and you can help short circuit big problems with visibility. Be visible and be available and you get a whole lot more.
EDIT: Since this interview has been conducted, Winnie has moved into her position of overseeing Nassau University Medical Center as president and CEO of NuHealth.
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.
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.”
Under the bold and delicious vision of Northwell Health’s VP of System Food Services Corporate Michelin Chef, Bruno Tison, the recipe for hospital food as you once knew it has changed. Michelin Chef Tison, along with other award-winning Michelin chefs like Andrew Cain, is helping Northwell Health redefine the culinary experience for patients, their families, and Northwell employees.
“I want to help cook better food for people who really need it,” says Chef Tison, “Northwell Health is a pioneer for redefining hospital food for 23 hospitals.”
A recipe for culinary success.
A native of northern France, Chef Bruno Tison began his culinary education at Belgium’s prestigious Institut Technique Des Metiers De L’Alimentation, where he graduated with highest honors and was awarded first prize for excellence in culinary achievement. His more than 30 years of experience includes serving as Executive Chef of the legendary Plaza Hotel in New York City. Chef Tison’s nouvelle cuisine has earned critical acclaim. Most recently, his leadership enabled the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn and Spa in California to receive the celebrated Michelin Star recognition for three consecutive years.
Chef Andrew Cain started working under an executive chef at the age of 15, received a Bachelor’s degree in Hotel Restaurant Management and went to work at the Fairmont with Chef Tison 10 years ago. They’ve made a great team ever since. This relationship is now helping to dramatically elevate Northwell Health’s food experience.
The two believe that crafting delicious meals shouldn’t change by location. “Whether it’s a patient in a bed, or a person in the restaurant,” says Chef Cain, “when it comes to cooking great food, you truly have to care about it.”
Redefining the culinary experience.
Having reached the pinnacle of the culinary profession, Chefs Tison and Cain were looking for a new challenge and the opportunity to bring the highest level of culinary expression not just to people who could “afford it” but to people who truly needed it, people whose lives could be changed by a world-class food experience.
That’s why Chef Tison joined Northwell Health and later brought Chef Cain onboard, with Chef Tison stating, “I came to Northwell because they are very serious about making this shift in the healthcare food industry happen.”
Chef Tison has championed a number of important initiatives for Northwell’s culinary efforts:
Bring outstanding talent from the outside and retrain existing chefs.
Having worked with Chef Tison for 10+ years, Chef Andrew Cain shared his passion for elevating the food experience for people who genuinely need it. With a background in Four- and Five-Star restaurants in New York, San Francisco and Washington, D.C., Chef Cain is helping Chef Tison bring a Michelin-inspired sensibility to Northwell Health. Northwell is also partnering with the Culinary Institute of America to attract the next generation of great chefs.
Knowing that Northwell is a place known for the most innovative clinical technology, Chef Tison is bringing this same commitment to modernizing the food service area.
Higher quality food.
This includes fresh, locally-sourced food instead of frozen, replacing instant coffee with fresh coffee, getting rid of candies/sugar and eliminating processed food.
Chef Tison’s ultimate goal is to deliver restaurant-quality food to patients, families and staff. “It’s a new frontier,” says Chef Tison, “and that’s exciting for new and tenured chefs alike.” He even has an eye on applying for inclusion in the Michelin Guide!
Helping patients take the next step: Discover the Clinical Coordination Center
The continuum of care is incredibly broad, and for patients looking to navigate this alone, the process can at times become overwhelming. That’s why at Northwell Health we created the Clinical Coordination Center, which takes patient referrals from our physicians and helps them discover what the next step should be in their path toward better health.
The Clinical Coordination Center consists of experts who are capable of addressing the needs of a patient and coordinating their access to care. They take into account the urgency of patient needs, their location, physician availability, and many other nuanced factors that play into providing the best possible care. Clinical Coordinators work at the center of Northwell, gaining insight into nearly every aspect of the health system. It’s the sort of role that attracts high-level intellectual caregivers, and fosters collaboration. The results of this team have been astounding. Patient satisfaction is through the roof reaching a whopping 95%, and physician satisfaction is at 93%.
The rewarding reception to the work being done at the Clinical Care Center is matched by a rewarding work environment. Clinical Care Coordinators benefit from a bright room, flexible hours, fun activities and, above all, a team of enthusiastic colleagues.
“There are no wrong numbers in this office. If you call us by accident, we’ll never steer you away. We are the yes people. Yes, we can!” – Ronda Gross, Assistant Vice President, Clinical Coordination Center
Northwell Health is excited to offer new opportunities to join this dynamic team in the following roles:
As a Patient Care Coordinator, you will be the eyes and ears of the Clinical Coordination Center. As the first line of defense, you will triage patients to determine the next step in their care and what the patient needs.
To qualify you must have:
Associate’s Degree required, Bachelor’s preferred
A minimum of three years clinical experience. Candidates with experience in careers such as, but not limited to, LPN, Medical Assistant, CNA, PCA, OR & ED Tech are encouraged.
Looking to work beyond the bedside? Join a team where you will have an even greater hands-on approach to patient care. In this role, you will help take patients through their entire care journey from triage to referral to outcome discussions and future follow up visits.
We’re seeking Registered Nurses or Nurse Practitioners with:
BSN and a Master’s Degree (MSN, MPH, MBA, etc.)
Clinical care experience required
Grow your expertise of our world-class health system while guiding patients, physicians, and a multitude of other departments toward a more seamless health journey.
Inside Northwell: How to Stand Out While Applying for Jobs in 2018
At our first Inside Northwell Facebook Live session, we sat down with members of our Talent Acquisition team who gave the best tips for candidates looking to join our team in 2018. Check it out!
1. How can candidates stand out while applying for jobs in 2018?
My best piece of advice would be to only apply to positions that you meet the minimum qualifications for. With the volume of applications we receive we can’t contact everyone and we are contacting only those who most closely match the department’s specific needs. If you don’t hear from us, you will remain in our database and we can contact you for other positions you are suitable for. Just because you were not the right match for one, does not mean you wouldn’t be the right match for another so don’t lose faith – the needs vary from department to department.
2. How can they make their resume stand out throughout the bunch/mix?
Your resume is a living breathing document so you can make changes as you learn or develop new skills sets throughout your career, even if you are not currently looking for a new job. Make sure you mention the special project that you have taken and the impact to the organization because it’ll show you ambition to make a direct impact. If you are looking for a new job, always remember, the job description is your friend – use the information provided to help you craft your resume and use the keywords they have listed within the job description in your resume too. If your previous experiences don’t exactly match the job you are looking for, don’t forget to add the transferable skill sets you’ve learned. (ie: “Customer Service” is really “Communication Skills”)
-Arthur Beechman, Clinical and Non-Clinical Recruiter, Talent Acquisition
Remember to add keywords. We have advanced technology that we are using to source through a variety of candidates. If you have the keywords within your resume our searches will be able to match with yours and pull up your information before someone else’s. Also, remember to send the final version of your resume. You wouldn’t believe the amount of resumes we receive with a coworkers/family members/metors edits on them. Always double check!
If you’re updating your resume, as you should be all the time, make sure that any past experience is referred to in past tense. If it looks like current tense language for a position you held 3 years ago, we notice that and it shows less attention to detail. Also remember to quantify information. If you work for an organization that we aren’t familiar of, it’s very helpful to a recruiter to have some sense of how large that organization is, adding the number of direct reports (if any) you have, if you’ve saved the organization any money and how you achieved that – this will help us quickly understand who you are and what you do for what type of organization.
-Esther David, Director, Talent Acquisition
3. What makes a candidate “made for Northwell Health”?
4. What are the most appropriate ways for them to follow up with recruiters?
5. What is your last piece of advice for our candidates?
Experiencing health care through the Healthcare Management Program Internship
Written by: Ketrah Mugambe
When I first started my summer internship at Northwell Health in the Healthcare Management Program, I thought I had a sound idea of what I wanted to do in my career. Being a science major, it made perfect sense to want to pursue healthcare from a clinical standpoint. I had no idea of what an administrative job in health care could offer. I figured – why not go against the grain a bit? Why not see what else is out there?
So I spent eight weeks with a little yellow notepad and a ballpoint pen, trying to absorb every aspect of health care management I would encounter. From finance to operations to data analytics, my learning curve was intense. My projects were new and overwhelming. And unfortunately for me, my pure science course load in undergrad proved to be absolutely zero help.
Every day in the office was different, and the variety of projects that I had was a true testament to that. To name only a couple, I was tasked to give suggestions of improvements to an oncology lab based on my observations, as well as to create an internal employee survey measuring employee satisfaction and engagement. I was working with real-time data, and important information that was of great use to my preceptors. It was a bit intimidating, determining the best way to utilize it all.
What motivated me, though, was the trust my preceptors had in me to get the job done, despite me being an intern with so much to learn. Throughout each of my projects, I was expected to know exactly what was expected of me, but to also know what my limits were and when to ask for help. I was called on to report back the results I found, making me feel like an integral part of the discussions that took place in that second-floor conference room. And most importantly, I was held accountable for ensuring that my output was my absolute best effort. Each day brought a different challenge, but I had the guidance and the support I needed to meet each one.
So while I came into my internship not really knowing what to expect, I can happily say that this summer turned out to be an incredibly rewarding experience for me. I not only learned a lot about Northwell, and their commitment to their patients and employees, but I also learned a lot about myself, and about what my capabilities are. This summer I had the great opportunity to be a part of a team, a team that needed me just as much as I needed them.
For those of you wondering where I stand in terms of my career plans now, the administrative side of healthcare has definitely caught my eye. The hustle and bustle that occurs behind the scenes, and not on a care facility’s main floors is an experience like no other. But overall, I have come to learn that there is definitely a career for me in healthcare, regardless of what path I will ultimately decide to take.
Submit your resumeto become a Summer Associate in the 2018 Healthcare Management Program Internship.
My journey in the Healthcare Management Program Internship
Written by: Jimmy Yoder, 2017 HMP Intern
I got the call I would be working in the Big Apple this summer in the middle of my finance class. Filled with excitement, I was practically squirming the rest of class. Needless to say, I didn’t do too well on the quiz that day. Four months later, I was on the way to my dream city for the summer to work at Northwell Health in the Cardiothoracic Surgery and Cardiology Service Line.
I’ve always had this obsession with living in a big city. Maybe it’s because I grew up in a boring suburb or maybe I just love breathing sub-par air. Regardless, I was made for New York. Northwell Health was the perfect internship for me. However, Healthcare Administration hasn’t always been my path. The majority of college was spent preparing for medical school. This let me dip my toes in the water and see if this is the right choice for me.
Day 1 at North Shore University Hospital rolls around and it was a whirlwind. For starters, my boss LOVES the stairs and my body does not love the stairs. The campus was and still is, so incredible. Almost a tiny city filled with thousands of employees and patients surrounded by world-class healthcare. From the get-go we had assignments. Whether it was data analytics, operations or marketing, we were pushed out of our comfort zone. I literally spent a week staring at excel trying to figure out that beast. The panic of not knowing a single thing about what I was doing began to hit. I sat down with one of the Management Associate Program associates and she told me you’re not growing if you’re comfortable. So I kept on trucking and utilized all the people around me. We were given work that actually means something and can benefit the service line, which not a lot of interns at other companies can say.
My Northwell Health experience has been one for the books. Aside from learning perhaps more information than I have in the classroom, the other interns have pushed the experience from great to incredible. A group of us, the out of state “commuters”, have gotten so close. From after work dinner, Broadway shows, happy hour and so much more, we became closer than ever. I think that is going to be the hardest part, going back to our respective universities and not seeing each other for an absurd amount of time. You know us millennials though; we will stay in touch through one of our 20 social media platforms. Lastly, I am so thankful I had such supportive preceptors pushing me to grow and challenging me, but most importantly helping me learn.
Whether my journey with Northwell Health continues or I end up someplace else, I’ll look back and know I was Made for this.
Update: Jimmy has been offered and accepted a full-time position at Northwell Health after he graduates from the University of Texas in May.
Submit your resume to become a Summer Associate in the 2018 Healthcare Management Program Internship.
An Appointment With: Senior Vice President, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer Ramon Soto
Welcome to “An Appointment With,” where we sit down one on one with leadership, doctors, nurses and more to bring you their stories. Today we’re meeting SVP, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer Ramon Soto, who was the most recent winner of the AHHE Hospital Executive of the Year Award.
How did you know that coming to Northwell Health was the right career move for you?
I didn’t at first. I was born in Brooklyn and raised in Patchogue. When I heard about the Chief Marketing Officer position at Northwell Health, then known as North Shore-LIJ Health System, I just remembered the small health care company from my childhood. After doing my research, hearing Michael Dowling speak, and learning about the advancements at the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research and the Hofstra School of Medicine, I fell in love. I saw the power of this organization and I knew there were stories waiting to be told. This is the best job I’ve ever had.
How has the rebranding process at Northwell Health impacted the organization?
Fundamentally, our hospitals used to run regionally and people associated themselves with the single hospital they worked for. Now people feel like they are all together, and there is a sense of community. This has helped improve our engagement scores. As separate entities, people didn’t know who we were and how we were all connected and now they see all of our locations as one. There has been an undeniable unifying effect on the inside, and ability to shine as a destination health care system.
What is your perspective on leadership?
90% of leadership traits are trainable and there are things you can do throughout your career to be a good leader. My philosophy is: don’t just “dabble” in anything, take it on with all you’ve got. You should know your stuff and strive to be the subject matter experts. When making a decision, you should bring everyone together to help. Leverage diversity of thought and unity in action. If you give people a voice, the execution is always better. If you can adapt your leadership style to fit the needs of your audience as well as the organization, you will be able to grow and flourish.
You recently earned the AHHE Hospital Executive of the Year Award. What have you learned from that experience and what did that mean to you?
The most important part of the awards evening was that my family was there and I was able to reflect on my heritage. This award made me think of my father. He came from Puerto Rico when he was 12 and he didn’t speak a word of English. He pulled himself up from poverty by going to school at night and working hard. He believed you always had a choice: work a job you enjoy or work a job as a chore. He also said to always stretch yourself, whenever you think you can’t do more, you can. His wisdom helped shape who I am today. I went back to get my MBA at 40 even though I had a successful career because of the drive he instilled in me.
Many people of diverse backgrounds have stories like this, and that’s why in terms of diversity in the workplace, it’s important to include individuals from all backgrounds based on their experience and what they’ve done. We need qualified candidates and we need to choose the best of the best. If we don’t include everyone in that pool of candidates, we’re missing out.
However, no institution should ever settle for people who aren’t the top or relax their standards to bring on talent that isn’t qualified.
What is an interesting fact that people should know about you?
I had a perm in high school!
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