My first year: what it takes to be a nurse practitioner
The road from nurse to nurse practitioner (NP) presents new and exciting challenges, from managing complex care on a new team and oftentimes, working in a new environment. Taking this new path involves stepping outside your comfort zone to follow your passion.
In recognition of National NP Week, we spoke with NPs across our hospitals to get a look inside their journey thus far, including lessons learned and how they’re continuing to grow and develop as an NP.
It involves teamwork
As a new NP graduate, it’s important to communicate effectively with other clinicians on the care team – that includes not being afraid to ask questions and providing support to one another. Scott Snorteland, FNP-BC, from North Shore University Hospital feels a support system is crucial to a smooth transition into the role. “Without the help of my supervisor and my colleagues, I don’t know how I would have gotten through the first month. Teamwork is crucial to your role as an NP,” says Scott.
Merin Jacob, MS, ANP-C, who works in Employee Health Services (EHS) for Lenox Hill Hospital believes teamwork is most effective when you’re working with likeminded people. “Working in healthcare, we all have the same goal – to better the health of our patients and take care of each other. It’s important to put their safety and health first, and it makes it easier when you’re surrounded by those likeminded people who have the same goal in mind as you.”
Get comfortable with being uncomfortable
When you’re faced with new responsibilities and a new work environment, it can be overwhelming. However, it’s important to get past your insecurities, stay positive and be able to accept those new challenges. Meghan Billia, MS, FNP-C, who practices palliative care at Huntington Hospital found having a mentor helped her get through the first couple of months. “It’s so important to have people to go to and ask for advice or bounce ideas off of. My mentor, Nanci Berg, NP-C, was that person for me and really helped me through that transition period.”
A new challenge can also be exciting. Scott went from an RN in pediatrics at Cohen Children’s Medical Center to now working with adults as a family nurse practitioner in cardiovascular and thoracic surgery. “I knew going into this role that it was going to be challenging for me, but that’s partly why I took it. Getting out of your comfort zone and overcoming your fears is how you continue to grow.”
It’s more than clinical work, it’s about making connections
As a NP, making connections with your patients goes far beyond the bedside. You follow patients through a continuum of care – from 1:1 consults in an outpatient office to an inpatient stay, through discharge and back for follow-ups – it goes full circle. You build a sense of trust with your patients and it makes caring for them that more efficient.
Merin says working as an NP in EHS makes her feel like she’s part of a small community. “I spend time talking and building relationships with my patients because I know they may need to come back for follow-ups or new needs. You build a sense of trust with them and it’s a continuity of care outside the walls of the exam room that really makes a difference.”
Continue to grow
Every time you treat a patient, you’re faced with another opportunity to sharpen what you’ve learned. And ongoing education is crucial to being a successful advanced clinical provider. Scott, now seven weeks into his role as an NP, says he’s learned so much and is looking forward to continuing to intellectually challenge himself and advance his career.
“I’m amazed at how much I’ve learned from my first week as an NP to now. Going back to school provided me with the foundation I needed, but it always comes down to the hands-on experience. I’m still learning, and I’m OK with that because it’s how I’ll continue to reach my goals.”
Becoming an NP doesn’t just happen overnight or in orientation, recalls Tova Miller, AGACNP-BC, who practices internal medicine at Forest Hills Hospital. “It’s about understanding what you don’t know and utilizing what you do know. Being confident and continuing to learn helps you understand why we’re doing what we’re doing.”
Let your passion guide you
The hardest days can often leave the greatest impact on your career. It makes you remember why you made the choice to transition into an advanced role and challenge yourself to continue to do better.
“I feel that I’m really making a difference,” says Tova. “I make sure our patients are receiving the best patient care and it’s my goal to get them out of the hospital as soon as possible, and be safe while doing so. As an NP, I know I’m making a positive impact on peoples’ lives and it brings me happiness when I know I’ve done something to improve their quality of life.”
Making the transition is something you have to be ready for, according to Scott. “As challenging as it is some days, it’s equally rewarding. As nurse practitioners, we’re here to be role models and pave the way for higher education for other nurses. I’m excited I took this leap to advance my career and I hope others take the opportunity to do so.”
Investing in the future of nursing with our Nurse Extern Program
Our Nurse Extern Program is providing junior BSN students with a unique experience at the bedside within a Northwell Health hospital. Every summer, selected nursing students have the opportunity to participate in our rewarding eight-week paid program. Guided by preceptors, these future nurses develop a strong skill set all while strengthening their passion for delivering care.
This unique experience is a powerful stepping stone for nursing students. Nurse externs spend their program shadowing nurses to see first-hand what it’s like to work in a hospital setting. By introducing them to specialties they won’t see in their clinical rotations, such as the operating room, students enter their senior year with more confidence and a better understanding of which specialty they want to develop their career in.
Beyond learning how to deliver bedside care, students participate in educational in-services presented by our nurse educators and leadership, while building lasting relationships with their peers. Externs also work together to complete a final project to present to nursing leadership at the end of their program.
The 2019 program hosted 91 nurse externs at 15 hospitals in over seven specialties, a 30% increase in nurse externs since 2018.With the growth of our program, more students are able to gain an invaluable foundation to build their nursing career.
Hear from 2019’s summer Nurse Externs on why they loved our Nurse Extern Program:
University of Michigan
“Not only did Northwell’s externship program provide me with the tools to enhance essential nursing skills, but it also allowed me to understand that the smallest act of caring is the true vulnerability of nursing.”
“This summer I had the opportunity to work as an extern in the OR. In just eight short weeks, I learned more than I ever thought possible through both my time on the floor and educational sessions. Every aspect of this program fostered my growth as a nursing student, and it was truly an invaluable experience.”
St. Joseph’s College
“My externship was the most informative eight weeks of nursing knowledge and practice that I have experienced thus far in my career. The Southside Hospital nurse educators and staff provided me with education, engaging experiences and knowledge that I will utilize throughout my entire nursing career.”
“This has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. You not only gain experience in both clinical practice and critical thinking, but you also get to form a relationship with your preceptor who quickly becomes an incredible mentor and role model. I was able to learn the intricate inner workings of what life is like being a bedside nurse on the floor.”
Eizle Bianca Salonga,
“My experience in the OR externship at Long Island Jewish Medical Centeris truly unforgettable. The action I’ve seen, the knowledge I’ve gained, and the confidence I developed is unparalleled to all my clinical rotations combined. The staff also welcomed me with open arms since day one and I truly felt like I was a part of the team.”
“My experience at Zucker Hillside Hospital as a nurse extern was extremely rewarding. This program has given me added confidence in my nursing abilities as I enter my senior year at Villanova University.”
“This was an amazing opportunity that will not be forgotten. Every day I learned something new as I worked hands-on with my preceptor. I gained so much knowledge, critical thinking skills, and imperative lessons that will help me excel as a future registered nurse.”
Sacred Heart University
“The Nurse Extern Program not only provided me with the tools to succeed but guided me along the way. I received hands-on experience, which allowed me to utilize the skills I’ve learned with the support from an amazing preceptor. I will take this with me throughout my nursing career.”
Mount Saint Mary College
“My experience this summer boosted my confidence and provided me with countless learning opportunities. As I progressed through my eight weeks I adapted, gained confidence and saw what nursing really is. This experience introduced me to an amazing hospital staff who enhanced my clinical skills.”
“My externship will forever have an impact on the way I approach my career in nursing. For eight weeks in the Pediatric ICU I worked alongside the most welcoming preceptors. Not only has this increased my clinical and practical experience and confidence, but it has shown me the true importance of caring for families, in both good times and in bad.”
“This program not only made me a better nurse but a better person. With the entire staff wanting to help and teach you everything they know. I am so lucky I was able to spend this summer working in the emergency program at Northern Westchester Hospital.”
Saint Joseph’s College
“The externship program allowed me to further build up my nursing skills. It taught me time management and efficiency. This program proved to me why I love nursing so much. Getting to do what I love at an earlier stage encouraged me to keep learning and do my best for the people I will caring for in the future.”
“The externship allowed me to build myself as a professional and prepare for employment following graduation. I have this externship to thank for skills I was able to develop this summer, and hope to return to Northwell as a registered nurse.”
“I had an amazing opportunity as an extern working with fantastic nurses in the PACU. This program has helped me gain lifelong knowledge and confidence in my skills, how I care for my patients, and my communication with other healthcare professionals. I feel so much more confident entering my senior year of nursing school.”
“Working as an extern in the OR I got to learn what it was like to connect with patients and help them stay relaxed during their procedures. The staff was super welcoming and made my learning experience so great. I felt confident walking away with the knowledge I’ve gained and the new skills I’ve learned. ”
Faces of Oncology Care: Northwell Health Cancer Institute Research Nurses
As one of the largest cancer programs in the New York metropolitan area, the Northwell Health Cancer Institute treats more New Yorkers for cancer than any other health care provider. With the trust of so many, our oncology team members work passionately to help patients thrive.
Unique partnerships such as with the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, help this goal as Northwell’s research nurses have the opportunity to work on innovative clinical trials that provide patients with the most promising treatments. And beyond just providing care, their compassion is changing the lives of our patients and their families.
Meet some of our inspiring research nurses below and hear what makes them passionate about oncology research.
Having worked at Northwell Health since 1987, Diane has been a registered nurse in various specialties including post-partum, nursery, medical/surgical, telemetry, and cardiovascular.
But Diane’s interest in clinical research was always in oncology research. “I lost my oldest sister to cancer when I was 12 years old. I witnessed firsthand the impact a cancer diagnosis can have on an entire family. The respect and dignity that was shown to my sister and our family still resonates within me to this day,” says Diane. “That is what inspired me to become a nurse and Northwell Health enabled me to fulfill my dream including earning my bachelor’s degree in 2016.”
This passion for oncology care has only strengthened since she’s become a research nurse “I love working in oncology because each day I have the opportunity to make a difference in someone’s life. I come to work knowing that inside this building we have the ability to change lives forever through clinical research. Clinical research is important because it works to find better ways to prevent, detect, or treat cancer and learn new approaches to therapy.”
Beyond just the clinical trials that Diane works on every day to help improve the lives of patients with cancer, she is also a leadership committee member for the Long Island chapter of the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition (NOCC). Through her volunteering, Diane is very active in helping spread awareness of the signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer with the hope to empower women to advocate for their own health.
Her commitment to research, care and education have not gone unnoticed. In 2017 she was recognized as an NOCC Nurse Honoree as well as being recognized as the Northwell Health Clinical Research Nurse of the Year in 2018. But for Diane, it’s very rewarding seeing the impact her work has on patients.
“I look forward to seeing my patients and their families share their life stories. Seeing them celebrate milestones in their lives and knowing it is because they are in a clinical trial is a gift to me.”
Julia started her Northwell nursing career at Monter Cancer Center where she worked as an oncology research nurse on the solid tumor team. In 2017, she transitioned into a new role as a phase 1 research nurse where she cares for patients that are being treated for the first time in their trials.
Julia started as a rehabilitation nurse caring for a large number of oncology patients, and thought her skills could transition into another area of nursing. “I felt that there was something larger out there to fulfill my curiosity and desire in healthcare. Oncology is continuously changing with respect to knowledge, learning, research, treatments and opportunities,” says Julia. “I felt that this field could feed my curiosity and at the same time satisfy my desire to help my patients.”
As an oncology research nurse, Julia is always looking for new and improved treatments with a commitment to helping enhance her patient’s quality of life. In her position, Julia is able to work with innovative treatment modalities and drug combinations that have not been tried yet. “It’s very exciting and rewarding knowing that I am part of creating history.”
And her passion extends beyond research – just a few short months after starting at Northwell, she was awarded with the Patient Recognition Star. “This recognition demonstrated that even the smallest thing we do for our patients means a lot to them,” says Julia.
After receiving her Master of Science in Nursing, Shirley started her clinical research career at Northwell in 2003 initially, as a clinical research nurse practitioner in pulmonary medicine.
In 2015 Shirley returned to research and today is a clinical research nurse for the Breast/GYN Research team at Monter Cancer Center (MCC). “My mother was a breast cancer survivor and I felt this position would allow me to add a very personal touch to the clinical aspect of my job when working with and caring for patients and families,” says Shirley. “Having the privilege to participate in another person’s healthcare journey motivates me to deliver the best patient care. My mother’s journey with breast cancer reminds me that my actions can have a powerful impact on the lives of a patient and their family during an emotionally stressful time.”
Her dedication, ability to establish deep therapeutic bonds and empathize with patients was recognized when Shirley was awarded the 2017 Northwell Care Award during MCC’s patient experience week. Shirley was also invited to be a mentor in the Northwell Health Clinical Research Professional Mentorship program.
Shirley enjoys working as a clinical research nurse and because of the role’s versatility, she is able to represent Northwell Health as a member of the Symptom Intervention Committee for the Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology national group and also conducts breast cancer awareness information sessions in the community.
When she first started in oncology, Shirley met a patient who changed her life: “When I met the patient and her husband, she shared her personal wish, which made me feel honored to be taking part in her care. She was determined to live long enough to see her son go to his prom.” This instant connection Shirley had with her patient strengthened her passion and with each study visit, Shirley and her patient became closer and developed a bond.
“The most memorable part of her treatment was when she came in and showed me the pictures of her son’s prom,” says Shirley. “She beamed with delight as she told me how she helped her son get ready for the big night. I was overcome with a sense of joy and satisfaction knowing I had been a part of helping her achieve this goal. My role in clinical trials research had given this patient hope. I will never forget her and can never thank her enough because this patient and my mother represent that even just one moment can matter.”
Shirley says “the possibilities are endless as a clinical research nurse” and looks forward to what the future has to offer at Northwell.
Against the odds: A nurse’s journey to working at LIJ Medical Center after beating cancer
When Nicole Rivera, RN, was diagnosed with cancer at six years old, she was given only a 10% chance of living. Despite these odds, Nicole’s battle with cancer ended in triumph. “I kicked cancer’s butt and to this day, I remain in remission – 18 years and counting,” says Nicole. “Cancer took my right leg but not my life.”
It was her experience fighting cancer that inspired Nicole to become a nurse and ultimately lead her to her career at Long Island Jewish Medical Center. “I wanted to become a nurse after having amazing nurses help care for me as I fought cancer in one of the hardest battles of my life,” says Nicole. Today Nicole works as a cardiothoracic/surgical oncology step-down nurse where she finds her experience gives her a special relationship with her patients.
“My history has made me a stronger and better nurse because I know how it feels to be on the other side of things,” says Nicole. “I know what it feels like being that patient in bed feeling despaired. My story has allowed me to connect with patients on a deeper level.”
Overcoming the challenges she has had to face, including wearing an above-knee prosthetic, has reminded Nicole of the importance of remaining grounded in life and as a nurse. “It’s important to stay humble and never take health for granted. Every day we see people complain over the little things in life, while there are people out there fighting for their life.”
And it’s a fight that Nicole knows firsthand she can help patients through just by being there for them. “My favorite part of being a nurse is seeing the smile on a patients face knowing I helped make a difference,” she says. “Whether it be something as simple as filling up their water, helping escort them to the restroom or providing comfort after bad news. Their smile makes it all worth it.”
It was both Nicole’s passion and her inspirational story that led to her being nominated as a 2019 New York Mets Nurse Hero. She was recognized at the New York Mets Nurses Night game as one of ten nurse heroes for their dedication to providing exceptional care for patients. Nurses received customized scrubs and got to stand on the field during the first pitch.
Throughout it all, Nicole has always known she was made for nursing, “I put my heart into my patients every day and cannot imagine being in any other profession.”
At Northwell Health, we know our strongest asset has always been our people. That’s why we give our nurses the support they need to grow their careers here. Watch our video to discover why our nurses–whether in emergency, oncology, home care, women’s health, periOperative and more– love working at Northwell.
Operating Room Nursing Careers at Northwell Health
Meet Ana, an operating room registered nurse at North Shore University Hospital. Learn about how Northwell has supported growth in her career from surgical technologist to RN and why she loves coming into work as an OR nurse every day in the video below.
Women’s Health Nursing Careers at Northwell Health
Hear from Joelle, a registered nurse working as a practice manager in women’s health. Discover why she’s proud to be a women’s health nurse and how Northwell has supports nurses in their journey to leadership in this video.
Home Care Nursing Careers at Northwell Health
For Melissa, working as a Northwell Health At Home nurse gives her the unique opportunity to work independently and form close bonds with her patients. Discover why our home care nurses take pride in being able to deliver exceptional care and health education to patients in the home in the below video.
Oncology Nursing Careers at Northwell Health
Hear from Iris, nurse manager at Monter Cancer Center, on the impact of being an oncology nurse at Northwell Health and working at the cancer center that treats more New Yorkers than any other health care provider. Watch below to learn how Northwell gives oncology nurses the resources you need to grow as a nurse and deliver exceptional care to their patients.
Emergency Nursing Careers at Northwell Health
Hear David, assistant director of nursing at Lenox Hill Hospital, talk about his love for working as an emergency room nurse. Discover why a nursing career in Northwell Health’s emergency rooms could be Made for you in the video below.
From neonatal staff nurse to periOperative leader: Gloria’s nursing journey at Northwell Health
When Gloria Collura, MSN, RNC, NEA-BC started her career at Northwell Health 31 years ago as a staff nurse, she didn’t know where her journey would take her.
Starting as a young nurse, Gloria transitioned to working part-time in the neonatal intensive care unit when she had her first child. But as her children grew, so did her career aspirations. And with the encouragement from her leadership, Gloria was able to focus on developing herself professionally.
“I never had to sacrifice my family or work-life balance at all in order to succeed in my career,” says Gloria. “Northwell really enabled me to grow professionally as well as personally.”
After becoming an assistant nurse manager, Gloria benefitted from Northwell’s tuition reimbursement program and earned her master’s degree. From there she became a nurse manager before moving into leadership positions in periOperative services.
Today, she’s the senior administrative director II for Patient Care Services/PeriOperative Services at the Center for Advanced Medicine (CFAM). Here, she runs the ambulatory surgery center which operates on over 7,000 people a year and the PST department which sees approximately 21,000 patients a year – quite the journey from her start as a staff nurse!
The transition to become a periOperative nurse was a natural one for Gloria. “As a neonatal nurse, you are in the operating room a lot. With exposure to the OR, I was encouraged by leadership to earn my master’s and get into ambulatory surgery. Using the knowledge and experience you’ve gained in one specialty and bringing it to a new area can have great results.”
Even with all her accomplishments, Gloria knows it’s important to never stop developing her professional skills. In fact, she’s recently earned her Nurse Executive Advanced Certification – an accomplishment she never thought she would be encouraged to earn.
“At Northwell, we’re always told not to be afraid to fail,” says Gloria. “Don’t be afraid to expand your wings, don’t be afraid to be innovative, and don’t be afraid to move forward. I’ve taken leaps that I don’t think I would have taken without the support of the organization and its leaders.”
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.
Eight reasons to join the oncology care team at Northwell Health Cancer Institute
Our team members at the Northwell Health Cancer Institute are committed to providing advanced oncology care that improves the lives of our patients. Whether you’re a nurse, pharmacist, researcher, advanced clinical provider, or laboratory technologist, Northwell offers fulfilling career opportunities at one of the largest and most innovative cancer programs in the New York Metropolitan area. Discover eight reasons to work at the Northwell Health Cancer Institute.
1. One of the largest cancer programs in the NY area
The Northwell Health Cancer Institute has a variety of locations across the New York metro area so you can provide comprehensive cancer care from screening to survivorship right in your community. From the Imbert Cancer Center in Bay Shore to the Monter Cancer Center in New Hyde Park, we’re providing highly complex care in one connected system.
2. Develop meaningful relationships with patients
Helping care for a patient in their most vulnerable times makes a lasting impact on both the patient and the provider. “Sometimes just listening or holding their hand makes a difference,” says Iris Fleming, nurse manager at Monter Cancer Center. “You’re on the journey with them, guiding them through a difficult time in their lives and making it that much easier with small gestures.” Knowing how important these relationships become, the Cancer Institute also hosts an annual Survivors Day.
3. Oncology Nursing Society’s 2019 Employer Recognition Award
We invest in our team members. Monter Cancer Center was awarded Oncology Nursing Society’s 2019 Employer Recognition Award for its outstanding initiatives in promoting professional development and educational opportunities for its nurses, including starting an oncology nursing fellowship program.
4. Work with leading oncology specialists
Work alongside our 200 oncology physicians who are national and international cancer leaders in 25 specialties and drive the latest advances in cancer care and cancer research. Richard Barakat, MD, physician-in-chief and director of cancer, leads all cancer services and research at Northwell Health, including the Cancer Institute.
5. Affiliation with Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
Our partnership with the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, a world leader in cancer research, means the Cancer Institute is able to provide patients with the most cutting-edge therapies for cancer. This unique collaboration promotes research that helps advance the process of turning discoveries in the lab into clinical practice.
6. Opportunity to help develop new treatments through clinical trials
With over 30 years of experience in cancer clinical trials, the Cancer Institute has enrolled over 10,000 cancer clinical trial participants. Be a part of the development of new treatments that help save lives.
“I have the opportunity to work with new treatment modalities and new drug combinations that have not been tried yet,” says Julia Trojanowski, oncology research nurse at the Center for Novel Cancer Therapeutics. “It is very exciting and rewarding knowing that I am part of creating history.”
7. Treat truly complex and rare conditions
With over 16,000 cancer patients seen annually, the Northwell Health Cancer Institute has experts able to treat virtually every type of Cancer disease diagnosed. And with this variety of cases comes highly complex care that many specialty cancer centers cannot offer.
8. Access to innovative and ground-breaking technology
Work with the latest groundbreaking technology to provide patients the best care possible. Technology that includes the Gamma Knife Icon. The Cancer Institute is the first and only center on Long Island to offer this radiosurgery technology that allows radiation oncologists and neurosurgeons to target tumors and other conditions in the brain with ultra-high precision and frameless technology.
“The Cancer Institute delivers innovative care to patients by assuring that the latest medications and equipment are available for diagnosis and treatment,” says Dr. Smitha Chacko, pharmacist at Imbert Cancer Center. “Northwell also continually arranges for clinicians, nursing staff, and pharmacy staff to be educated on the newest research and data.”
Delivering critical care from the front lines to the Cardiothoracic ICU
For Jared Singer, a career in the military fueled his passion to help people in critical situations.
Jared, now a Cardiothoracic ICU registered nurse at Lenox Hill Hospital, served active duty in the United States Air Force for five years following high school. During his time in the military, he was exposed to various forms of emergency medicine training. His dream: to ultimately become a flight nurse and perform emergency medical evacuations out of helicopters.
With this goal in mind, Jared earned his Bachelor of Science in Nursing after his service. But to become a flight nurse, Jared knew he’d need critical care experience from a hospital. After applying to numerous ICU units across the five boroughs with no response, Jared’s professor recommended Northwell’s Critical Care Nursing Fellowship.
Following his professor’s advice, Jared attended a military veteran career event so he could meet with recruiters. “No hospital would take a chance to invest in me besides Northwell Health,” says Jared. “The military veteran career event let me promote what I could bring as an individual to recruiters, directors, and I even personally met Northwell’s President and CEO Michael Dowling. I felt a part of the team as soon as I walked into that event.”
Meeting with Northwell team members gave Jared the opportunity to showcase the skills that his unique experience as a veteran brought to nursing. “Not even a week after that event, I was sitting down with the manager of the Cardiothoracic ICU in Lenox Hill Hospital–my dream job.”
Finding a new mission in the Critical Care Fellowship
From there, Jared’s career as an RN in the Critical Care Fellowship at Lenox Hill Hospital began. In Phase one of the program, he learned the systems, pharmacology and equipment specific to the ICU. With help from his educators, the simulation lab, and hands-on experience, Jared was given the foundation nurses need to be comfortable, as well as the critical thinking and theory necessary to thrive in such a high-speed environment.
Jared’s skills are continuing to grow as he works as a nurse on the floor during Phase two of the fellowship program. As part of his fellowship, he cares for critical patients and works hand-in-hand with nurses, PCAs, physician assistants, respiratory therapists, surgeons and others – and there is something to learn from everyone. “I was able to stand in during a seven-hour surgery and was blown away with the technology, professionalism, and skills every individual had in performing such intricate procedures. My eyes were wide open in absolute awe of what we’re able to accomplish as a team for each patient we interact with.”
And for Jared, the Critical Care Fellowship is only the beginning of his career at Northwell and the new adventures he seeks.
“I have climbed Mt Fuji; I’ve been interviewed on live TV Christmas morning; and I’ve even jumped out of a plane 14,000 feet above the Hawaiian shores, but nothing compares to the rush and feeling of the satisfaction I get when I make medical interventions that can be the difference in the outcomes of my patients.”
Delivering state-of-the-art care in North Shore University Hospital’s new Transplant/Surgical ICU
Northwell Health has recently opened a state-of-the-art Surgical/Trauma and Transplant Intensive Care Unit at North Shore University Hospital (NSUH). The new 13,000 square feet unit cost nearly $24 million and is an important step as NSUH prepares to launch Long Island’s first liver transplant program.
The new unit is not only an example of Northwell’s commitment to its patients but also to its employees through investment in the latest technology that will make it even easier for employees to provide top quality patient care 24/7.
“The unit is very nice. It’s more up-to-date and we have more resources. Everything is accessible within the patient room, you don’t have to move equipment in and out. Meds, charting, supplies – it’s all already in there,” says Jessie Dominique, respiratory therapist at NSUH. Her fellow respiratory therapist Margarette Timothee agrees, “It really makes our work easier.”
With 18 private rooms for its patients, the unit will focus on delivering care for trauma, liver transplants, colorectal surgeries, pancreatic islet cell surgeries and other complex surgeries. It will also work to support NSUH’s Level I trauma center.
“I can already see the benefits of the new and updated technology for the patients,” says Jaclyn Gomez, registered nurse at NSUH. “The bigger rooms are nice and having things like wireless technology and medicine securely available in the room really helps the patient experience.”
The new unit uses innovative technology that enhances the patient’s experience, while also ensuring that staff members have access to advanced equipment and technology to ensure they can provide priority patient care with ease. A few examples include ground-breaking eICU systems, which provide immediate access to telehealth support and around-the-clock patient monitoring. Other innovative enhancements include advanced lighting, glass privacy windows instead of curtains to reduce the spread of germs, an infrared badge system that shows when a patient is being attended to and by who, and a new patient lift technology for safe patient handling.
10 ways we celebrated Nurses Week at Northwell Health
With 16,000+ nurses across Long Island, New York City, Staten Island and Westchester, there were thousands of reasons to celebrate Nurses Week at Northwell Health. Nurses Week is a time for nurses to reflect on the countless lives they’ve touched throughout the year and honor the differences they’re making for patients, families and coworkers. Celebrations across the organization recognized the dedication, skill and compassion that RNs provide 365 days a year. Nurses Week is not only a celebration but a true representation of Northwell’s culture and commitment to our nurses. See below for only 10 of the many ways we celebrated Nurses Week. Also, explore job opportunities and apply to join our creative, fun and compassionate nursing team.
1. Walked the red carpet
To kick off the week, many of our locations gave our nurses the celebrity treatment. Rolling out the red carpet let each nurse take center stage as they arrived to work.
2. Recognized outstanding team members with awards
Our nurses are Made for delivering outstanding care and there are countless records of nurses going above and beyond for their patients. Sites across the system honored some of their brightest stars at their Center of Excellence Ceremonies with various awards from Rookie Awards to Humanism Awards to the prestigious Zuckerberg Award. Hearing the amazing stories about the nominees and winners recognized their compassionate care while inspiring other nurses.
3. Food, food, and more food!
From ice cream sundaes to hot breakfasts, nurses were spoiled with sweet and savory treats. Hospitals and ambulatory locations brought in every type of food imaginable throughout both the day and night shifts. Not only did it keep our nurses well-fed but it provided them with an opportunity to celebrate and bond with their fellow nurses.
4. Took time for wellness and self-care
Just as our nurses are committed to caring for their patients, Northwell is committed to the wellbeing of our team members! Nurses were able to take time to relax and unwind in a variety of ways–from relaxing with our pet therapy dogs to enjoying Reiki and massage therapy. Some sites also hosted lessons on stress management techniques and self-care workshops to empower our nurses throughout the year.
5. Fun in photobooths
In between rounds, nurses were able to have fun in photo booths and take pictures with coworkers to create photographic memories of all the fun they had throughout the week.
6. Dressed up for Spirit Days
Hospitals and locations throughout Northwell hosted a crazy scrub week, a favorite sports team day, college swag night, and more, to let nurses share their interests beyond scrubs. Some even dressed up in their best Florence Nightingale costume in celebration of one of the most famous nurses!
7. Won big with our basket raffles
The basket raffles during Nurses Week are legendary across Northwell for not only their big prizes but the creativity and teamwork that goes into them. Many sites hosted themes for their basket raffles and the enthusiastic nursing teams worked together to fill and decorate their baskets. After voting and announcing a winner, the prizes then went home with lucky nurses from each unit who won.
8. Listened to keynote presentations from Phyllis Quinlan PhD, RN-BC
Northwell’s Phyllis Quinlan PhD, RN-BC spoke to nurses at Peconic Bay Medical Center, Northern Westchester Hospital, and Cohen Children’s Medical Center to help teach them self-care practices and to develop their emotional intelligence. “Nurses are among the most generous people on the planet,” says Phyllis. “Their ability to turn their compassionate nature into the action we call caregiving is a precious gift that they are willing share. It is vital to make time to reconnect,, refresh, celebrate and rejuvenate.”
9. Blessing of the Hands
The Blessing of the Hands is a voluntary non-denominational tradition that recognizes and unites nurses around the world who use their hands daily in the caring of patients. During this special ceremony, warm water is gently poured over the nurses’ hands to refresh and renew their spirit and help their hands continue to heal those that they touch.
10. Spent time together
And most importantly, our nurses were able to spend time Truly Together! Throughout all our activities, nurses reflected on the results of their teamwork and hard work the past year and energized them for the year ahead. At Northwell, our nursing units aren’t just coworkers, they’re family.
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.
18 ways LIJ Forest Hills Hospital is Made for this
Located in Queens, LIJ Forest Hills Hospital offers a unique place to work within Northwell Health. This fast-paced hospital is deeply connected with its community. With exciting growth in clinical and non-clinical areas and a passionate team serving our diverse community, there’s never been a better time to work there.
We talked to the close-knit team to hear why they love working at LIJ Forest Hills and what makes them Made for Northwell Health.
Find out what our LIJ Forest Hills team members are Made for:
Nurse Practitioner, Gastrointestinal
"I‘m Made for making a difference. It’s very rewarding to me to help someone and see the positive changes in their lives."
"I‘m Made for teamwork. Any department or any position that needs my assistance, I don’t mind going out and helping because we are a team here at Northwell."
Registered Nurse, Med/Surg and Hospice
"I‘m Made for laughs because I like to see my patients smile even when they’re in tough situations."
PCA, Emergency Department
"I‘m Made for smiling because I want to ensure that when the patient comes in, they’re always greeted with a smile. A smile goes a long way. It gives patients hope and comfort."
"I’m Made for helping people. I love for patients to be comfortable and to learn from me and the other staff on how to care for their new babies."
"I‘m Made for resiliency. Being in the operating room is an adventure every day. It’s a stressful place to be but at the same time, it‘s rewarding. You’re able to help the surgeon accomplish their mission.
Registered Nurse, Critical Care
"I’m Made for being a team player. I like to boost the morale of my coworkers and push them to the max of their capabilities."
Turnover Tech, OB
"I’m Made for helping people at Forest Hills Hospital."
Nurse Practitioner, Internal Medicine
"I‘m Made for patient centered care. Every patient is unique and if you don’t look at patients as individuals, you won’t be able to do the best job you can in treating the patient as a whole."
PCA, Med/Surg and Telemetry
"I‘m Made for helping. Helping is so much more than it sounds - it’s a skill. It’s seeing the big picture and filling in where needed.You have to know when to help, where to help, and how to help."
Registered Nurse, Emergency Department
"I’m Made for advocating for my patients. A lot of the patients we see in New York might not have family with them and need someone to advocate for them."
Registered Nurse, Labor and Delivery
"I‘m Made for preparing new moms. My job is to welcome mom into Labor and Delivery and explain to her all of the benefits of the care she’s going to receive while she’s in her labor process."
Registered Nurse, ICU
"I’m Made for communication. Communication is one of the most important aspects of working at a hospital.
"I‘m Made for staff development. Staff development is important to me because it’s essential for every nurse to do what they’re best at and what they love the most. I get to know all of my nurses and find out what their goals are because I love that collaboration in getting them to where they want and need to go."
Ludney Jean Baptiste
"I’m Made for happiness. Whenever I enter a room, I make sure the patient has a smile on their face."
Registered Nurse, ICU
"I‘m Made for compassion. My compassion makes me able to put myself in the shoes of my patients and their family’s. This truly lets me provide the best care I can."
Assistant Nurse Manager, Cardiac
"I’m Made for teamwork. I want to ensure all my staff work as a team in taking care of patients to give the best quality care."
"I‘m Made for love and respect. I love people and respect people’s opinions and that is what LIJ Forest Hills Hospital is all about."
Conducting more than 550,000 visits each year across Long Island, Queens, Manhattan, and Staten Island, our home care nurses at Northwell Health At Home are committed to bringing outstanding, innovative and award-winning care Northwell is known for right to the patient’s home. A commitment that has led our home care services to be recognized among the top 500 providers nationwide three years in a row by Homecare Elite and earning the Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval for Heart Failure Certification – one of only a handful of organizations in New York State to achieve this distinction.
Serving as the link between patients with their physicians to ensure continuity of care, home care registered nurses help patients in the comfort of their own homes. Traveling to see their patients helps build a close bond between the nurse and patient while awarding greater flexibility and autonomy outside of the hospital setting.
Meet two of our team members and hear why they love being home care nurses at Northwell Health At Home.
What do you love about being a home care registered nurse?
Working as a Home Care nurse has given me the opportunity to see “behind the scenes” in my patient’s life. Many times, there are challenges at home that contribute toward a patient’s illness and access to healthcare, such as lack of transportation or the inability to read small print on medication bottles. Working in home care gives me the ability to prioritize my patients’ needs and provides flexibility in my day.
Why is the work of home care nurses so important?
As a home care nurse for Northwell Health at Home, I have the opportunity to help my patients transition easier from hospital to home. Many patients have been away from home for weeks, sometimes months, and they are overwhelmed when they arrive home. Often, they have new medications or changes they don’t understand, wounds that have not healed and different types of equipment that are required. Returning home doesn’t always mean their skilled needs have ended. Patients and their families require support and education. I can help the patient prevent another hospitalization and have the best possible outcome.
What advice do you have for people looking to become home care nurses?
When considering a career in home care, you must have flexibility as well as good communication and organizational skills. The home care nurse is responsible with coordinating all services the patient requires at home including physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, home health aide services and social work in conjunction with the patient’s physician. Timely follow up when changes are made in the patient’s plan of care, treatment or medications is crucial. The nurse is responsible for coordination with the multidisciplinary team on a regular basis to best meet the patient needs.
What do you love about being a home care registered nurse?
I’ve worked in a lot of different areas of nursing and for me, I feel that home care gives me the opportunity to really build a relationship with my patient and their families. It encompasses the whole picture which allows us as nurses to treat and help our patient heal better.
Why is the work of home care nurses so important?
Patients heal better at home. Home care nurses provide the proper one-on-one education, therapy, and overall care to help patients remain home and more independent.
What advice do you have for people looking to become home care nurses?
The beauty of nursing are the opportunities we are able to have in caring for patients, whether in a hospital or at home. Home care nursing is more than just medicine and diagnoses, it’s helping the patient live their best life in the place they feel the safest – home. If you enjoy a more personal relationship with your patients, it’s a great avenue.
An Appointment With: Karen Gleason, Vice President, Cancer Service Line
Nurse. Nursing Director. Assistant Vice President. These are all titles that Karen Gleason, RN, BSN, OCN has held since starting her career at Northwell Health. Today, Karen is the vice president of the Cancer Service Line. Each step in her career has helped her develop a broader perspective of nursing and healthcare administration and has also inspired Karen to receive her oncology certification from the National Oncology Society, as well as a certification in patient experience.
Karen’s drive for continuing her education and development is one that is reflected in how she leads and encourages the oncology team to further their own professional development. In fact, the Monter Cancer Center received the 2019 Employer Recognition Award from the Oncology Nursing Society thanks to Monter’s initiatives that support professional development and provide educational opportunities for its oncology nurses.
We sat down to talk to Karen about growth in oncology care and career options at Northwell’s Cancer Institute.
How has oncology care grown and how is it continuing to grow at Northwell Health?
Over the past several years there has been a significant shift in oncology care driven by more targeted diagnostic techniques and development of new immunotherapies and supportive care drugs. Northwell Health has always had a very strong commitment to the care of oncology patients and has continued to support the growth of the program by building state-of-the-art treatment centers in our communities. In 2016, the Imbert Cancer Center opened in Bayshore, Long Island and brought multidisciplinary physician practice, radiation medicine, medical oncology and imaging under one roof. In 2017, the Cancer Center at Phelps Hospital opened bringing state-of-the-art services to the community. In 2018, Dr. Richard Barakat joined as the physician-in-chief and director of the Cancer Institute, as well as senior vice president of Northwell’s Cancer Service Line.
What innovative procedures or technologies are being used by our oncology team?
The health system continues to be at the forefront of new diagnostic techniques, treatments and services. There is continuous use of new state-of-the-art oral and infusion drug therapies and we continue to develop our clinical research programs to bring available, cutting-edge clinical trials to our patients. We have established a transformative relationship with Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory to speed the development of new cancer therapies.
We have new and exciting programs for 2019 that include a pancreatic cancer program where Northwell is collaborating to develop pancreatic cancer organoid models from patient tumors. Organoids allow scientists to examine a patient’s tumor outside the body and identify drugs that are effective in the treatment of cancer.
Can you talk about the new Center for Pregnancy and Cancer?
The Center for Pregnancy and Cancer is a specialty program that focuses on the treatment of cancer during pregnancy. Approximately 1 in 1,000 pregnant women are diagnosed with cancer while pregnant in the U.S. each year. That’s why we’ve created a program that includes highly specialized experts in the fields of maternal fetal medicine, gynecologic oncology, hematology/medical oncology, neonatology, and reproductive endocrinology. Each specialist brings their own perspective and experience to help create a truly individualized treatment plan for both mother and baby. A dedicated nurse navigator seamlessly guides patients through their treatment plan.
What types of jobs are available in oncology?
The care and treatment of cancer patients take the efforts of a dedicated, diverse and focused team comprised of various roles
Career opportunities within the Cancer Service Line include:
Nurse navigator — their clinical expertise and training guides patients and their caregivers, and ensures they are scheduled timely and appropriately with the best clinical care team for their disease
Practice nurses – partner with the patient throughout their treatment and serve as an ongoing source of support and education and are available to answer any ongoing questions.
Infusion nurses – administer, monitor, and educate our patients in complex chemotherapy and immunotherapy treatments.
Research nurses — coordinate, evaluate and follow a patient’s participation in clinical trials.
Advanced care practitioners — who create individualized plans of care and guide cancer patients throughout the cancer journey from diagnosis to treatment and into survivorship.
Administrative professionals — drive the operations and program development in the Cancer Service Line.
Financial staff — assist patients through the complex insurance and reimbursement processes.
The team also includes social workers, nutritionists and genetic counselors, as well as highly specialized and skilled oncology pharmacists and laboratory professionals.
What is your best piece of career advice?
Embrace every challenge as an opportunity.
We ensure that the oncology patient and their family receive a dedicated team that provides intense care, guidance, patience, empathy and clear explanations and management of expectations throughout their journey. A career in oncology can be demanding but it is incredibly rewarding work. You can really make a difference in the life of patients who are undergoing one of the most challenging circumstances a person can face in their lifetime. Our team has an overwhelming sense of pride in everything we do. At Northwell we incorporate the voices of our team members into our decisions which helps cement our culture and make Northwell an engaging and rewarding place to work.
In her career, Irene Macyk, PhD, RN, NEA-BC has always aspired to do more, “when I get comfortable in a role, I feel compelled to change it. Although there was no premeditation to lead, I was always the person to raise my hand to try something new.”
This drive to take on new challenges has led to Irene’s impressive 10-year career at Northwell. Irene started as a director of nursing education at Cohen Children’s Medical Center (CCMC), and has held various leadership positions throughout the health system. The energy and enthusiasm that she experienced in that first interview at CCMC inspired her desire to be part of the Northwell team. Today, Irene is the chief nursing officer and associate executive director for patient care services at Lenox Hill Hospital (LHH), Manhattan Eye, Ear and Throat (MEETH), and Lenox Hill Greenwich Village (LHGV). Read more from our CNO Corner interview with Irene.
In what areas are Lenox Hill Hospital, MEETH and Lenox Hill Greenwich Village experiencing the most growth in nursing?
Nursing at LHH, MEETH and LHGV are experiencing growth is so many ways. Looking at quality, safety, patient experience and nurse engagement, we are in the top half of the nation for the past two years. Our professional footprint is strong with BSN rates at 93% and RN professional certification rates at greater than 40%.
Could you talk to the exciting things happening in your surgical services departments?
Over the past few years our surgical services have grown and received national recognition for excellence. We have a very active cardiothoracic program, a comprehensive neuro surgical service and a mature and well-respected orthopedic presence. Additionally our general surgery and GYN programs are continuing to innovate and challenge the status quo by implementing our enhanced recovery after surgery (ERAS) protocols.
What are some key nursing initiatives in 2019 at your hospitals?
Key nursing initiatives in 2019 for LHH, MEETH and LHGV all involve continuing our evolution as a culture of excellence. In its third year, our shared governance model continues to mature and nurses are the key decision maker in how nursing practice is conducted. We have nursing quality, evidence based practice and research, education, recruitment and retention and an advance practice council. In these councils, clinical RNs and leaders work together to create a healthy, professional work environment and drive the professional image of nursing. In 2018 alone, we had over 28 evidenced based, process-improvement projects that were completed and are in different stages of dissemination. With the desire to celebrate nursing accomplishments, we put in our application for ANCCs Magnet® recognition, and this year we are gathering the sources of evidence and documenting the stories to showcase.
How can nurses take advantage of growth and professional development opportunities at LHH, MEETH and LHGV?
As members of Northwell Health, we have an entire community of support for professional development. Clinical RNs can take advantage of guidance from clinical experts in the nursing education department at LHH, or seek professional development for the various programs offered at Northwell’s Institute for Nursing (IFN) and Center for Learning and Innovation (CLI). Nurses can also become a mentor or mentee in our mentorship program or take advantage of the generous tuition reimbursement by continuing their education at a master’s degree level.
What is the most important quality to have as a nurse?
Resilience. Nursing is hard work but we are privileged to work with people in a very vulnerable time in their lives. The ability to think critically, re-prioritize at a moment’s notice and stay calm under extreme pressure are key qualities of a nurse. In any given day we laugh, we cry, are a sounding board for the frustrated and a shoulder for someone grieving. This privilege can deplete one’s empathy banks and challenge one’s spirit. Resilience is the ability to maintain one’s core purpose and integrity among unforeseen shocks and surprises, the ability to bounce back, to regain strength and come back strong.
What is the best advice you’ve learned over the course of your career?
“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” – Henry David Thoreau
Are you Made for a nursing career at Northwell Health? Apply today!
Celebrated on March 19th, National Certified Nurses Day is a special day that allows us to acknowledge all nurses who have gone the extra mile to earn professional certification in their specialty practice area. All of our Northwell Health nurses are committed to improving care delivery and positive outcomes for our patients and families and those who have earned professional certification exemplify their commitment through national recognition as a certified nurse!
Why get certified? Achieving certification affirms the knowledge, skill, and practice within a specialty of nursing. The certification is nationally recognized and promotes a dedication to lifelong learning that is above and beyond the state requirements to practice as a nurse.
Northwell Health boasts a nursing certification rate that is above the national average for Magnet ® hospitals.
Northwell Health offers professional development programs that support nurses in getting prepared to successfully earn certification including continuing education programs and discounts on selected certification exams. Northwell Health also recognizes professionally certified nurses through our certified RN bonus pay program.
This year, there’s even more to celebrate! Congratulations to Launette Woolforde, EdD, DNP, RN-BC, vice president of System Nursing Education and Professional Development at Northwell for being named a winner of 2019’s Certified Nurse Award by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). Launette was recognized for demonstrating the value and impact of specialty certification and creating a pathway to help 16,000+ nurses at Northwell achieve certification.
“Becoming certified has been one of the proudest achievements I’ve obtained in my career and also a necessary step in the continuum of my professional growth. It has allotted me a chance to be recognized for my knowledge and skills as a nurse and has enhanced my confidence when providing care.”
Katherine Somefun, BSN, RN -RN IIIntensive Care Unit NPPEC, Northern Westchester Hospital
“Northwell Health at Huntington Hospital made it financially possible for me to obtain dual ANCC certifications by reimbursing me for the out of pocket costs. Without this assistance it may not have been feasible for me during these difficult times. Additionally, the continuing education programs including a medical surgical certification preparation course prepared me for success.”
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.”
An Appointment With: Jaclyn Schindler, Clinical Director, Medicine Service Line
Just as Northwell Health’s Medicine Service Line continues to grow so has Jaclyn’s career within the organization over the past 16 years. Today she serves as the clinical director of the Medicine Service Line, which includes more than 100 internal and family medicine practices across the New York metropolitan area..
Throughout her career, including her start as an RN patient education coordinator, Jaclyn has always felt encouraged to spread her wings by her senior nursing leaders. Nominated into the High Potential Program, she gained exposure to health care experts, skills and concepts that helped her develop professionally.
The experience Jaclyn gained throughout her tenure at Northwell has helped her lead tremendous growth in ambulatory care since 2017. Learn more from her about the Medicine Service Line and advantages of working in ambulatory practices.
Tell us about the growth of the Medicine Service Line.
Since I joined this team in 2017, the outpatient Medicine Service Line has grown in both size and scope, and today is spread geographically across Suffolk and Nassau counties, Queens and Manhattan, with partnerships in medical outpatient groups in Staten Island and Westchester.
We have doubled the amount of nursing staff, both registered nurses and nurse practitioners, as these roles have become essential to effective patient management and facilitation of access to care.
Our team is highly structured to provide support to individuals and keep everyone connected. Communication is valued and opinions are sought from all. Talent is welcomed from all areas, and existing team members are encouraged to grow through opportunities for promotion.
Could you talk about the various types of Medicine Service Line practices and locations?
The majority of Medicine Service Line practices are centered on primary care in internal and family medicine. Many specialties exist within the service line, including: endocrinology, rheumatology, GI, pulmonology, gerontology, hepatology, nephrology, infectious disease, and occupational health.
Services include preventive health measures, annual assessments, treatment of acute illness, and overall health promotion. Scope has expanded during the past decade as the focus of medicine has shifted to promoting wellness rather than solely treating illness. More care is delivered out of the hospital, and attention given to lifestyle changes and holistic measures.
A portion of our practices support academic partnerships. Medical residents treat patients in supervised clinics and participate in ongoing grant and research activity.
Thus, Medicine is the largest and most diverse service line within Northwell Health!
What types of positions are available within the Medicine Service Line?
The ambulatory team is centered around the office site, whether a two-person or 30-person practice.
The team is typically led by a practice manager, with physicians and advanced care providers (NP, PA, CNM) treating patients. Other positions include medical office assistants, licensed practical nurses, practice office associates, front desk staff, billers, and other support functions. On-site teams may also include registered dietitians, certified diabetes educators, pharmacists, and behavioral health coaches.
The role of the registered nurse is shaped in ambulatory locations to add value to the patient visit and facilitate achievement of health care goals. RNs practice at the top of their license; they administer medication, provide patient counseling, and enable care through medication/treatment renewals, referrals, and preventive care services. Patients may also have “Nurse Visits” which capitalize on expertise in nursing science and allow enhanced access to provider appointments. These visits allow patients to receive care directly from nurses and may include Coumadin management, blood pressure checks, vaccination, and diagnosis-specific education.
And, there is a huge amount of behind the scenes support in the areas of project management, finance, leadership, quality review, and business development.
What are some of the advantages of working in an ambulatory practice?
Ambulatory is an exciting and rewarding opportunity for career and skill development.
Smaller teams than inpatient counterparts mean that the work environment is truly collaborative, and all disciplines learn from each other.
Relationships developed over time with patients and their families contribute to professional reward and purpose, where one can see the effect of invested effort.
All staff have a great impact on quality output, patient experience, patient empowerment, improved health outcomes, and quality of life for our customers.
Cognitive and critical thinking skills, as well as engagement of technological advancements, are essential to success.
Ambulatory setting provides work-life balance for those who wish to make a difference in health care yet have personal home and/or family obligations to juggle.
Schedules tend to be more regular, without overnight shifts, most major holidays are off, and the weekend and evening obligations are reduced, depending on the site.
Do you have any advice for people looking to get into internal medicine?
Understand the environment. Visit a practice if you can and note what you think works or does not work. We are always looking for new solutions.
Nurses can check out the Ambulatory Nurses’ Association (AAACN) website. Ask colleagues or interviewers to describe the differences between inpatient and outpatient settings. If you are looking for a supportive role, achieve certification if offered, such as for a medical assistant.
We look for individuals who have a passion for people, and demonstrate creative thinking, excellent customer service, and the ability to work well with team members.
We’re growing! Explore the new additions we’re making at LIJ Forest Hills Hospital!
Exciting things are happening inside LIJ Forest Hills Hospital! We have brought several major programmatic expansion and facility modernization projects to our community and the patients we serve over the last couple of years. This means more career opportunities in a wide variety of clinical and non-clinical areas. Check back often for the latest openings.
Here are some of our newest developments:
Breast Health and Mammography Program
Our brand new revolutionary mammography program led by Dr. Daniel Settle, board-certified radiologist, and mammographer, provides quality breast imaging to our community. Designed with our partners in Northwell Health’s Imaging Service Line, we’re working Truly Together from referral to mammography reading (completed by board-certified radiologists, fellowship trained in mammography) with additional procedures including Ultrasound and/or MRI if necessary. Our mammography suite is equipped with state-of-the-art mammography equipment and our entire program will soon be accredited by the American College of Radiology. Our director of breast surgery, Dr. Susan Lee, is available for immediate consultation and/or surgery, should that be recommended.
New Life Center (Labor & Delivery, NICU, Post-Partum Unit)
Our already Baby-Friendly designated hospital has recently undergone a total renovation. We’ve built a brand new post-partum unit, creating an amazing environment for patients and families, and renovated our well-baby nursery and Level 2 neonatal intensive care unit.
Telehealth and telestroke programs
Telestroke is a telemedicine technology that utilizes a computer screen and video camera to allow our board-certified, fellowship trained stroke neurologists to quickly evaluate patients presenting with stroke symptoms, even though those stroke neurologists may not be on-site. Through this technology, patients, families, and our health care teams in the Emergency Department can speak to Northwell Health specialists via the computer screen/camera, who can readily evaluate a patient with stroke symptoms to determine the best course of care. This is just one part of our continuous goal to renovate our Emergency Department to be on the forefront of medical advancements.
In 2019, LIJFH opened its non-denominational meditation center with the input and help of chaplains from our community. This quiet space in the hospital provides an area for staff, visitors, and patients to reflect. This meditation center will also offer services from different community-based spiritual leaders who dedicate their time at the hospital.
MEETH the team at Manhattan Eye, Ear, & Throat Hospital revolutionizing perioperative ambulatory care
Throughout 2018, Manhattan Eye, Ear & Throat Hospital (MEETH) worked hard to increase the efficiency and quality of care in our ambulatory OR in New York City.
As part of this effort, MEETH had the exciting addition of robotic surgery in November, making us the first Northwell Health ambulatory center to perform robotic surgery. The program launched with Robotic Assisted Hernia Repair and Robotic Assisted Cholecystectomy cases to great success. The addition of robotic cases within MEETH empowers our team to deliver state of the art and highest quality care to our patients.
By allowing surgeons greater precision, dexterity, control, and visualization, robotics have proven to contribute to less post-operative pain and discomfort, minimal scarring and improved patient recover times. The OR team here at MEETH is very excited and proud to be able to offer this great service to our patients!
The OR Team at MEETH has also started doing ambulatory Total Shoulder Replacement Cases. We’ve also increased our ENT, GU, General Surgery, and GYN case volume to help better serve patients. This increase in volume has come along with a steady increase of our on time start times for the first cases of the day – with a 10% improvement over 2017.
Our collaborative care council has been revitalized to help improve our work environment with collaborative feedback from our team. Employees also participated in the MEETH Career Day Panel which helped introduce high school students to different healthcare opportunities and help excite them about joining the industry.
Not to mention, there’s always something to celebrate! One of our surgical technicians presented in-service focusing on the history of surgical technologists and the proud moments from MEETH during Surgical Technologist Week. In celebration of Perioperative Nurses Week, MEETH hosted our very own fashion show in which the staff created designs from unused OR supplies. During the holiday season, we hosted an International Holiday Breakfast/Lunch during which our team could bring in and share their traditional food to celebrate our diverse heritages.
CRNAs go above and beyond while their patients are under. Learn more in Northwell Health’s CRNA Fact Sheet:
CRNAs are invaluable members of our patient care teams. Every year, they safely administer more than 45 million anesthetics to patients in the U.S. through a safe and cost-effective way. Explore this fact sheet and learn more about this noble profession:
What is a CRNA?
CRNAs are advanced practice nurses who’ve earned the credential of Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist after passing a certification exam. They have over 2000 hours of advanced clinical training. CRNAs work with healthcare providers, ranging from surgeons and anesthesiologists to dentists and podiatrists and administer anesthesia to all surgical cases.
Where do CRNAs practice?
Wherever anesthesia is being delivered, CRNAs are there, caring for patients. Inside private practices, surgical suites, specialty offices, Obstetrics and U.S. military sites, CRNAs are caring for millions of people around the world each day.
What makes CRNAs so important to health care?
CRNAs are also a cost-effective alternative to anesthesiologists, making a huge difference for patients and insurance companies fighting against rising healthcare costs. CRNAs aren’t just important to save on healthcare costs, in many rural communities of the U.S., they’re vital as they are the primary anesthesia care provider. In many states, nearly 100% of rural hospitals rely on CRNAs as the sole providers for anesthesia care, meaning that without CRNAs, surgeries would be impossible.
What education is required to become a CRNA?
The minimum education and experience required to become a CRNA include:
● Baccalaureate or graduate degree in nursing or other applicable major
● Valid registered professional nursing license and/or APRN
● Minimum of one-year full-time work experience, or its part-time equivalent, as a registered nurse in a critical care setting within the United States, its territories, or a U.S. military hospital outside of the United States.
● Graduation with a minimum of a master’s degree from a nurse anesthesia educational program accredited by the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs
What is a CRNA program like?
Depending on the university, nurse anesthesia programs can vary from 24-51 months. Most programs have gone or are in the process of offering the DNP as the entry to practice terminal degree. After 7-8.5 years of study, professionals leave fully prepared for their position, graduating with immense clinical experience that averages to 9,369 clinical hours. All of this work culminates in a master’s or doctoral degree from a program that’s accredited by the Council of Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs.
As an acknowledgment of CRNAs’ growing importance and educational expectations, by 2025 all CRNAs will receive a doctoral degree. Once they receive a degree, a CRNA graduate they must also pass the National Certification Examination before they can start practicing on their own.
What are the career opportunities for CRNAs?
CRNAs are highly regarded advanced practice professionals who enjoy real autonomy and incredible professional respect in their roles. Since they’re are solely responsible for the anesthetic care of their patients, their compensation reflects that immense responsibility. Beyond their degrees, some CRNAs utilize their fellowships to specialize in areas of anesthesiology like chronic pain management.
How do I become recertified as a CRNA?
We’re excited that you want to become recertified as a CRNA! You can enroll in the Continued Professional Certification Program, an eight-year program that’s dividing into two four-year cycles. Administered by the National Board of Certification and Recertification for Nurse Anesthetists, the CPC is based on four components: traditional continuing education, professional development, core content modules, and a comprehensive exam.
We’re celebrating CRNA Week! Meet Michael Greco who is spearheading big changes for CRNAs at Northwell Health
It’s Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNA) week and at Northwell Health, we’re celebrating all week long. CRNAs are advanced practice registered nurses who provide anesthesia care to patients. These hardworking advanced practice nurses are responsible for patient safety before, during, and after anesthesia.
To start off our celebrations, we spoke with Michael Greco, Ph.D., DNP, CRNA who is the director of the Nurse Anesthesia Services at Northwell Health. It’s noble work that he feels privileged to be a part of, “my favorite part of being a CRNA is that there’s no other profession where you’re going to meet your patient for the first time and that patient is going to give you all of their trust to maintain their care and keep them comfortable when they’re at that most vulnerable. I am lucky to get to develop that instant relationship, to make the patient and their family feel comfortable, and deliver the high-quality care that they deserve.”
Through Northwell’s collaboration with Columbia University, Michael was introduced to Northwell and then offered the opportunity to lead and expand the nurse anesthesia practice and direct the Northwell Health nurse anesthesia program as it is being developed. The position was directly in line with his professional values to develop his students, staff and himself professionally and clinically. Now, he’s pushing the anesthetics services and agenda even further. Michael says, “I’m a firm believer of risk-taking, so I took a risk to leave a job I was comfortable in because I saw that there was an opportunity to further my professional mission.”
Working toward a mission is a sentiment Michael learned in his over 10 years of service as a nurse anesthetist in the military. He served in Iraq, Italy, Germany, and throughout the continental US including West Point Military Academy. Michael says his military service was invaluable to his growth, “No school, no seminar, and no course could equip me with the skills that I gained from serving in the United States Army.” Now, he’s using those skills to lead four CRNA teams, two in Staten Island and two in Manhattan.
Leading four teams is a lot of work, and Michael’s dedication to the various responsibilities in his role makes him a truly inspiring asset to Northwell Health. As a director of the Nurse Anesthesia Services, he oversees the education of CRNAs, holds training seminars, accredited by the national association of Nurse Anesthesia, to help educate staff and grow their knowledge on certain anesthesia principles. He supervises CRNAs practicing within their scope and ensures standards are met. Michael works closely to make sure operating rooms have enough coverage to run fluidly and no cases are delayed. He performs clinical appraisals and hires CRNAs. He’s responsible for employee oversight and is in constant communication with the staff in regards to compliance and best practice, as well as any employee issues that may arise. Simply, Michael is a huge asset to CRNAs at Northwell Health.
Michael is working to develop a robust CRNA program and increase the numbers of staff while also building partnerships with other schools like Rutgers University and Columbia University to bring students into the operating room and train the next generation of CRNAs. “I live by the standard that if I’m not developing my staff, I’m not doing my job. A career in Nurse Anesthesia requires a commitment to life-long learning, each and every staff member is on a continuous journey to pursue education – if not to return to school the journey is to read and appraise the literature with a scholarly mindset. This allows my staff to deliver the most current and evidenced supported care in their practice” With that mindset, Michael plans to take his staff into the simulation lab to look at high-risk situations, so they’re equipped with the skills and experience to provide care when complications arise.
“It’s an exciting time because the practice of being a CRNA at Northwell is evolving. Where else would you want to be? As the program evolves, opportunities will present themselves to further grow your career. There’s no better time to be part of the nurse anesthesia profession in this department than now.”
CRNA week is a great time to get out there and educate not only our nurses but the public on the importance of CRNAs. We’ll be using this week to put nursing at the head of the table. Every breath, every beat, every second, CRNAs are there providing top-notch care to their patients. Learn more about our CRNA opportunities here.
Photo: Northwell Health supervising nurse practitioner Sheila Davies (pictured center) with her Follow Your Heart team members.
Making a shift in your nursing career: How to become a nurse practitioner
Deciding to transition from a registered nurse (RN) to a nurse practitioner (NP) is a big decision. The commitment to obtain the additional education and training for this prestigious designation is significant. And while it may not be for every nursing professional, those who take the step to become an NP gain many new opportunities.
For Sheila Davies, a Northwell Health supervising nurse practitioner, the decision to become a nurse practitioner was made early in her nursing career. She started her career with Northwell as a surgical intensive care trauma nurse but wanted to continue her education after receiving her bachelor’s degree.
“I knew I wanted more,” says Sheila. “Health care is continuously changing, and I realized that becoming an NP would open up more doors for me and better prepare me for those ongoing changes.”
She enrolled in day classes at Stony Brook University while continuing to work nights at North Shore University Hospital (NSUH). She completed the NP master’s degree program in two years and immediately accepted a position in NSUH’s open heart intensive care unit.
Like Sheila, Peggy McCormack also launched her healthcare career as a registered nurse. With an associate degree from Nassau Community College, Peggy continued to work full time while attending Columbia University for a dual BSN/MSN degree, and graduated as an adult NP. At the time of graduation, Peggy already was working on NSUH’s cardiothoracic service team, which was expanding. She interviewed for one of the open positions and was hired as a NP on the post operative cardiac surgery floor.
For both Sheila and Peggy, mentors were very important to their career development, helping to orient them in their new roles. They knew that surrounding themselves with skilled and experienced professionals would help them achieve their own successes.
“It was hard work but exciting, challenging and rewarding,” says Peggy. “I was fortunate to work with a team of dynamic practitioners who were clinically outstanding, took pride in the care they provided, had strong work ethics, and on top of all that, they were funny.”
For Sheila and Peggy, their focus on education didn’t stop after they became NPs. Sheila continued her education by earning a doctorate in nursing practice. This has enabled her on her path of becoming a change agent in healthcare. She currently leads the Follow Your Heart team who were finalists for the 2018 President’s Award for Teamwork. The program is one of a kind and provides essential follow-up visits for cardiac surgery patients at their home or post-acute care location.
Peggy’s pursuit for personal and professional growth led her to obtain a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree from Hofstra University with a subspecialty in quality management. The program helped her gain greater insights into the business side of health care. With her additional education, Peggy became a clinical liaison, helping with improvement projects. She advanced to the role of supervisor of medicine advanced clinical providers and helped to develop a structured orientation program for new hires at NSUH, which has resulted in improved employee engagement, recruitment and retention rates.
For both employees, the support that Northwell provided was pivotal to their success.
“I was given the flexibility I needed to pursue further education and achieve in my career,” says Sheila. “I’ve been able to constantly improve my skills and knowledge.”