Continuing her growth and creating unforgettable memories—meet Diane Geraci RN, BSN, OCN
In honor of Nurses Week, which Northwell Health is celebrating throughout May, we are highlighting some of our amazing nurses as they share stories about their careers, growth and experiences. Throughout her 36 years as a registered nurse at Staten Island University Hospital (SIUH), Diane Geraci has achieved both professional and personal growth.
Continuing her education and evolving her skillset
Diane started her nursing career journey in 1985 as a graduate nurse at SIUH. “It was my favorite hospital to do the clinical rotations,” she says. From her first days at SIUH, she knew she would grow and learn within the same hospital.
“Northwell and SIUH have been very supportive of my growth,” Diane says of a career that’s included roles in rehab/orthopedic surgery, the operating room and ambulatory oncology.
Because continuing education is very important to Diane, leadership encouraged her to enroll in oncology certification courses and offered tuition reimbursement for a Bachelor of Science in Nursing at the College of Staten Island. “It took four years and a lot of hard work, and I graduated with a BSN—and all thanks to the ease of the program because of Staten Island University Hospital. I’m so thankful for their encouragement and financial support!”
Not only did Diane receive her BSN, she also obtained her nursing certification in oncology and immunotherapy to further her knowledge in her field.
From Harvey to hockey: experiences she’ll never forget
In August 2017, Hurricane Harvey made a Category 4 landfall in Texas, devastating much in its path. Northwell quickly assembled a medical mission team to assist at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. When Diane received the email about the catastrophe, she immediately volunteered to go!
“MD Anderson Cancer Center needed oncology nurses who were certified and who had a chemotherapy/immunotherapy certification, and thanks to SIUH I was certified in both,” she says. “The MD Anderson staff was great to work with, and I met so many cancer patients from all around the world. This truly was one of the highlights of my career.”
When Diane and her team returned home—with indelible memories from the front lines of care—they were greeted with a dinner reception and the opportunity to meet Michael Dowling. “I thank these two hospitals for their generosity to the teams, and for Northwell helping out a devastated community in another state.”
Another unforgettable moment of Diane’s career at SIUH was winning Northwell’s ”Win it Wednesdays” contest, a weekly prize drawing hosted by Northwell’s internal communications team on the Northwell Life Facebook page. What made it unforgettable wasn’t just the fact she won—it was what happened next.
Diane’s prize was a lavender, official New York Rangers hockey jersey. The jersey was too big, so she wanted to give it to a hockey fan. Her floor and nurse manager alerted her that there was a teenage boy—a big Rangers fan—who wanted a jersey as part of his Make-A-Wish request. “He was being treated for lymphoma on the pediatric oncology unit, which was right next to my unit,” says Diane, who met the boy and gave him the jersey!
When the social workers within the unit heard about Diane’s gracious act, they reached out to the team and received box seat tickets for the patient’s family to attend a home game! “It was meant to be,” she says.
Reflecting on her fulfilling career, Diane says, “Northwell is a great place to work! I feel well supported and encouraged to continue my growth with nursing and create more memories.”
What Nicole Natale Learned on the Frontlines During the Pandemic
In honor of Nurses Week, which Northwell Health is celebrating throughout May, we are highlighting some of our amazing nurses as they share stories about their careers, challenges, and experiences. Nicole Natale faced one of her greatest challenges early in her career and her experience on the frontlines during the COVID-19 pandemic has shaped friendships, as well as her understanding of what it means to be a nurse.
Currently a registered nurse at North Shore University Hospital (NSUH) in the Neurosurgical Intensive Care Unit (ICU), Nicole Natale began her career in 2017, as a nurse extern at Huntington Hospital. Nicole fell in love with critical care after experiencing the various facets of nursing care while floating from the emergency room and ICU, to the medical-surgical and pediatrics floors during nursing school.
As fate would have it, Nicole was invited to interview with the Neurosurgical ICU at NSUH shortly after losing her aunt to glioblastoma brain cancer just before graduation. The loss of her aunt to brain cancer left Nicole feeling like she was destined to work with neurosurgical patients.
After successfully landing her dream job at NSUH, Nicole’s budding career took an unexpected turn. After she finished the critical care fellowship orientation, the world was suddenly turned upside down as the COVID-19 pandemic began. Being a new graduate in a global pandemic was one of the most challenging obstacles Nicole has ever faced, but she credits the support of her coworkers, her managers, and Northwell leadership for making the experience less tumultuous. As Nicole put it, “Northwell made me feel safe, cared for, and supported, and I am forever grateful to work for this health system.”
Despite the incredible hardships, the experience was invaluable, as Nicole learned so much so quickly. Her coworkers became her role models and her support system as they leaned on one another to survive. “It was such a scary time for all of us. Working in a COVID unit feels like you’re in a battlefield. Working in these conditions brought my work team together and the bonds I have with my coworkers grew so strong that they are like family to me.”
It is this level of support that Nicole cites as one of the many reasons she would encourage anyone to work at Northwell given the opportunity. Examples of the support she receives from Northwell include career growth with clinical ladder and research committees and physical and mental well-being with things like the Lavender Room where staff can relax and unwind. Northwell is proud to advocate for its nurses and all of our team members, at every step of their journey.
Explore nursing opportunities and learn more about a career well cared for at a Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For®
In honor of Nurses Week, which Northwell Health is celebrating all month long, we are sharing the stories of some of our incredible nurses and their inspirational journeys. For Nicole Martinez, she decided to become a nurse all because of a smile.
It all began when her mother was being cared for at Long Island Jewish Medical Center (LIJMC) for pancreatic cancer in 2005. Although her mother’s outcome was not the one Nicole’s family had hoped for, the amazing nurses, doctors and patient care assistants left a lasting impression. The day Nicole was told her mother only had one week to live, she walked into the room expecting tears but instead found her mother smiling with her nurse. Reflecting on that moment, Nicole says, “To this day I do not know what that nurse said to make her smile, but I remember thinking here is a 46-year-old woman who was just told she was going to die…and someone made her smile.” That moment and that smile was what led Nicole to become a nurse so that she too could help others find comfort during the most difficult time in their lives.
After her mother passed away, Nicole needed to pause her education to help support her family, so she took a position as a receptionist at LIJMC where she worked for two years before applying and being accepted to nursing school. With the support of Northwell, her manager, and her coworkers, Nicole was able to continue working full time while attending school full time with support from Northwell’s tuition reimbursement program. Her determination and hard work paid off when she graduated with her Associate Degree in Nursing and began working as a registered nurse on the same floor where she was a receptionist. But she wasn’t finished yet. Nicole went on to complete her Bachelor of Science in Nursing, once again aided by tuition reimbursement and encouragement from Northwell. But she still wasn’t finished. After transferring to the Ambulatory Surgery Unit, (ASU), Nicole again set her sights a little higher and completed her master’s degree. She was then promoted to her current role of assistant nurse manager.
About her amazing accomplishments, Nicole says, “Northwell gave me the opportunities, the strength, the financial support, and the courage that I needed to attain my goals. I tell everyone to this day if you want it, there is no excuse. Thank you Northwell for the past 15 years. Because of you, I am who I am today!”
How We Celebrated Our Nursing Health Raisers During Nurses Week!
National Nurses Week is here and at Northwell Health we are celebrating every moment of it. In fact, we will be celebrating all month long to honor our 18,000+ nurses across Long Island, Manhattan, Queens, Staten Island and Westchester. After a year unlike any other, we are stronger today because of our registered nurses’ commitment to raising the standard of care in the communities where we live, love and belong. And as we reflect on the selfless individuals the whole world considers heroes, it fills our hearts with gratitude to call these incredible men and women our colleagues, our friends, our family, and our neighbors.
During Nurses Week, Northwell has many activities planned to honor our nurses including, virtual cooking classes, blessing of the hands, award ceremonies, wellness initiatives such as yoga and wellness retreats, among other activities.
Hear why our nurses in their own words love working at Northwell and how they feel supported.
“Endless opportunities to shoot for the stars.”
“I love working as a nurse with Northwell because its more than a job, it’s a family. The support, the encouragement, the camaraderie, and the overall feeling that you are part of a team making a difference in people’s lives.”
“There are so many opportunities for a nurse at Northwell. Follow your passion and seek new challenges.”
“The fact that I’ve been a nurse at LIJ Medical Center since 1980, way before it was Northwell, speaks of my trust and dedication!”
“I love being a nurse at Northwell because I have the pleasure of working and meeting people with diverse backgrounds to improve the health of our communities.”
“Being a Northwell nurse is like having a second family and a home. Great teamwork, support, a safe place to work and my voice is heard. I like Northwell’s values and commitment to our patients and community.”
“I love being a Northwell nurse because I work with a great interdisciplinary team. Northwell supports my career advancement and continuing education.”
“Compassion amongst team members to provide the best care possible for our patients.”
“I love the ability to work in all different areas of nursing and be able to stay with a system who supports me.”
“I work with a phenomenal group of nurses who never hesitate to help one another, and who I consider to be my friends. We’ve all been working away on the COVID floor, staying strong for our patients and each other.”
“Because you come to realize at some point in your career that nurses are a powerful group that can affect and guide change. Our patients and our communities deserve the voice we can give them.”
Join our team members and discover a career well cared for. Apply today!
Recognizing our skilled nursing facility team members
As National Skilled Nursing Care Week is approaching, Northwell Health would like to recognize the dedicated and compassionate care of our skilled nursing care facilities. Our skilled nurses and certified nurse assistants provide the highest quality care to patients requiring both long-term and short-term care.
Meet some of our team members from the Orzac Center for Rehabilitation:
Alice Caressimo, Registered Nurse
As a registered nurse, Alice’s role is to educate her patients and their families about her patient’s health and help discuss their plan of care. “My work experience with Orzac has been very rewarding,” says Alice. “The compassion and support from the nursing managers and nursing staff I feel is what makes us a great team and contributes to the excellent care we strive to provide.”
Courtney Caldero, Registered Nurse
Working as a registered nurse at Orzac, Courtney not only takes care of rehab patients but she is also a long-term care and hospice nurse. Her daily responsibilities involve wound care, pain management, patient and family advocacy, safe medication administration, and patient safety. She is a proud nurse who loves her job and finds it very rewarding. “You are more than just a nurse,” says Courtney. “You are your patient’s and their family’s sense of comfort–their educator and ears. The profession is not easy by any means but being able to assist and support people through what is the most difficult time of their life is what’s beyond rewarding.”
Nina Bianco, Registered Nurse
As a registered nurse, Nina believes her patient’s physical, mental, and spiritual wellbeing is priority. She performs an age-specific plan of care based on the individual needs of each patient. Within her first year working as a new nurse during a global pandemic, Nina was supported by her team through every step. “Working together as a team and effective communication are the essentials for providing quality health care and safety.”
Donna Douglas, Certified Nurse Assistant
As a certified nurse assistant, Donna’s role is to provide the patient with the most dignifying care, and assist with their Activities of Daily Living to help them feel strong and confident enough to return to their community. “Working in my facility is extremely rewarding because I gain new perspective on aging. I also get an opportunity to interact with patients daily during a difficult time in their lives when they are away from their family and in a new environment,” says Donna. “I try my best every day to make this tough experience as easy and rewarding for the patient as I can.”
Andrea McDonald, Certified Nurse Assistant
Working as a certified nurse assistant, Andrea provides compassionate care to her patients. Her responsibilities include direct patient care and putting a smile on their face! Her favorite thing about her job is her team who go the extra mile for their patients. “I find working at my facility rewarding because my team is pleasant and competent and I have professional, caring managers,” says Donna.
The rewarding work of a surgical technologist at Northwell Health
The work of surgical technologists in our operating rooms is a vital part of the perioperative services at Northwell Health. Working alongside our surgeons and nurses, surgical technologists who prepare our operating rooms, arrange equipment, and help team members during surgeries. This Surgical Technologist Appreciation Week and every day, we celebrate our team members.
Meet Jason Dizon, a surgical technologist at Plainview Hospital who is just one of these integral team members keeping our operating rooms running smoothly and ensuring patient safety every step of the way.
Jason has as a surgical technologist at Plainview Hospital for almost five years, but his love for the operating room has him planning to stay until he retires. Working in surgery means his job is never mundane, and each case brings him a new opportunity to learn. Innovative surgeries in our hospitals also provides the chance for Jason to grow his skills as he helps prepare the OR with cutting-edge technology and works as a member of the surgical team.
At Plainview Hospital, Jason focuses mostly on orthopedic cases, such as total joint replacements or spine cases, but has been able to experience work on a variety of specialties. “I have grown a lot working at Plainview Hospital,” says Jason. “We have great leadership that supports us and it’s a great place to work because we are able to learn from a diverse group of team members.”
And within his role, Jason also develops his skillset by helping to teach others. “Teaching and speaking with surgical technologist students and nursing students helps me improve my communication skills,” says Jason. “It’s taught me to always use patience and understanding as students grow in their skills.” Working with the enthusiastic students and helping to teach them about working in perioperative services is one of Jason’s favorite parts of his job. With perioperative services not often focused on in schools, Jason is there for what is often the first look these students get into an operating room. It’s an eye-opening experience he values being a part of.
But it’s not the only responsibility that makes Jason so passionate about what he does. “I love my job. I love science and health, and as a surgical technologist, I’m able to learn every day about the human body and how it functions. To see firsthand how we heal patients and take care of them is very rewarding.”
Interested in a surgical technologist career at Northwell? Apply today!
It is Northwell Health’s policy to provide equal employment opportunity and treat all applicants and employees equally regardless of their age, race, creed/religion, color, national origin, immigration status or citizenship status, sexual orientation, military or veteran status, sex/gender, gender identity, gender expression, disability, pregnancy, genetic information or genetic predisposition or carrier status, marital or familial status, partnership status, victim of domestic violence, sexual or other reproductive health decisions, or other characteristics protected by applicable law.
Northwell Health reserves the right to amend all terms of employment.