Connecting with coronavirus patients, and their families
Northwell Health is proud to spotlight our front line health care workers. See how Northwell clinicians – doctors and nurses – are responding and working on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. Read their stories here.
Nicole Fishman, RN, isn’t just caring for COVID-19 patients at Huntington Hospital, she’s helping them communicate with their families too. Hear her story.
During theCOVID-19 crisis, there’s been an even greater focus on caring for our patients as whole people in light of very limited visitation policies. They sometimes get scared having minimal contact with their friends and families. But my staff and I have been proactively calling family members and giving them updates on their loved one throughout the day. We are also using iPads and tablets to Facetime and Skype with families, so they can share their love with our patients.
When we are communicating with families through tablets, I think about my own parents and how I would want them to be treated if they were in this situation.
It’s been amazing getting so much support from throughout our hospital. All of the people are are caring for are either suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patients. So everyone is isolated and requires a higher level of care. We are managing this by working as a team, staying strong and supporting each other in any way that we can. As expected, we’re taking everything day by day.
Wearing all of this additional gear can make it harder to breathe, which is why we need more frequent breaks. I try to take advantage of any time away, going outside for fresh air and to clear my head.
All ofHuntington Hospital’semployees have been so appreciative of the meals that we’ve received from community donations. It’s been very helpful to not have to worry about cooking or preparing food. We can focus on what matters most — our patients.
One thing I’ve been surprised about is that younger patients — people in their 40s, 50s and 60s — are deteriorating faster than I would have anticipated. Some don’t have a past medical history of pre-existing conditions.
I’m fortunate to have a very supportive boyfriend who’s at home cooking and taking care of things while I’m out fighting COVID-19. Many of the other nurses on my unit have supportive significant others who have been writing encouraging letters and packing food for us.
When I leave work, I take several precautions in an attempt to protect my boyfriend from this dangerous virus. I change my shoes before I get into the car and shower immediately when I get home. I take all of my clothes off right by the door and throw them straight into the washing machine on a hot water setting. I feel safer being on my unit versus out in the community because we’re all wearing the proper protective gear and the unit is constantly being cleaned.
As advice from someone who has witnessed the devastation COVID-19 causes, please listen to what everyone’s saying. Stay home. Only then can people hopefully stay out of the hospital. If you don’t have to go out, please don’t.
Even though the world seems on hold right now, for health care workers it’s more like business as usual. Caring for our patients in all circumstances is what we’re made for.
Nicole Fishman, RN, is a nurse manager at Huntington Hospital.
Beyond the call of duty: answering the call to deliver care
When it comes to veterans finding careers at Northwell Health, during or after their service, the opportunities are limitless. Take Stephanie Leibman, a registered nurse at Northwell and a member of the Army Reserves. She began her journey here in 2016 and quickly discovered this was the place she was meant to be.
Starting as a patient care associate (PCA) at Glen Cove Hospital while in nursing school, Stephanie experienced an accommodating and supportive environment that encouraged her professional growth and helped her discover a different mission that she was more than ready to accept.
“My nurse manager was always very accommodating with my school schedule, and all of the nurses that I worked with were always willing to teach me what they knew,” she says. “Northwell was constantly holding career-related events which eventually helped me move from PCA to nurse.”
What she details is just an example of the programs we have available to help develop our talent. Following her transition from a PCA to a registered nurse, Stephanie first gained experience in pain management before accepting an RN position at North Shore University Hospital (NSUH) in the Labor and Delivery department.
Although still new to the labor and delivery team, she’s quickly made herself at home within a department she’s dreamed of since her first day of nursing school. “Even though I’ve just started in labor and delivery, I love it,” she says. “I love the friendly and helpful environment, and how there is constant learning opportunities. I love being a part of such an amazing process and assisting women and their families through it.”
Her time serving the country, functioning as a healthcare specialist, provided her with a unique skill set that easily transferred to the work we do every day at Northwell. “In the Army Reserves, I’ve received a great deal of fast-paced trauma training which I find useful every day of my career. It really helped teach me how to function in high-stress situations,” she says.
Everyone who joins our team with a passion for redefining healthcare will find many opportunities for development and career growth. Northwell’s culture has tremendous revere and admiration for our veterans and reservists who have sacrificed so much to protect and keep our country safe. As Stephanie knows, there is always a place on our team. “I’d definitely recommend other veterans and military members to work for Northwell. The organization appreciates the work we do, and is flexible to reserve/army schedules.”
Celebrating acts of kindness among our family of Northwell heroes
Though we span across 23 hospitals and more than 750 ambulatory locations, our Northwell Health team is one big family. And as a family, our team members are committed to not only delivering the best patient care, but caring for each other and our communities.
Check out these stories of our clinical and non-clinical team members alike working to bring moments of positivity, hope and support amid COVID-19.
Finding Connections Hospital to Hospital, Unit to Unit
Kindness is connecting our teams across Northwell through video messages, photos, cards and other countless examples of ongoing support and humanity. For example, Krista Griffin, a patient access team member at Southside Hospital, raised money with her family to have catered food delivered to overnight workers in the ED. Also, the NICU team at Cohen Children’s Medical Center created and delivered care packages to other Northwell hospitals, and our nutrition and dining services teams baked fresh cookies for workers to bring home after a long day.
Bringing the Grocery Stores to our Team Members
Hospitals across Northwell realized the need to help support our healthcare heroes get the necessities they need at home. Hospital cafes have turned into temporary grocery stores, where our nurses, environmental services workers, physicians, therapists, transporters, techs and others can safely shop to stock their pantry or choose a freshly prepared meal to take home.
Stitching for our Heroes
Gloria Medina, a booking clerk at one of Northwell’s endoscopy practices, posted a call to action for all stitchers to help create artwork for our heroes. These custom portraits are being delivered to our healthcare heroes on the front lines as a way to say thank you and make them smile.
Finding Inspiration at Glen Cove Hospital
The 1 South Rehab team at Glen Cove Hospital created an Inspiration Tree within the hospital to leave small tokens of wisdom and motivation for team members and patients. These messages help them to find optimism and the importance of what matters most.
Chalk Art Acts of Kindness
Throughout the health system, chalk art has been popping up outside our hospitals. Messages from team members and our communities are being drawn to thank our workers and give them something bright and cheery to look at as they walk in and out of work.
Take 5 for YourSELF Fridays
The Employee Wellness team collaborated with myHealthBody to start a weekly series to encourage team members to take five minutes to care for themselves with “Take 5 for YourSELF Fridays”. The weekly videos and printouts include guided stretches and exercises to help relieve tension and grant wellness benefits that last all day.
We are all filled with gratitude for our wonderful Truly Together team. Their passion, dedication and kindness inspires us daily. To all healthcare heroes here and everywhere – THANK YOU!
My name is Melissa Black and I have worked in Oncology since I started working at Northwell’s Huntington Hospital in 2008.
When I was 15 years old, my mother lost her battle with lung cancer. Since then, becoming a nurse had always been my mission. I was truly touched by how much my mom loved and cherished her nurses – nurses who cared for her when she was a patient on the same Oncology unit where I now work all these years later. It’s like my life came full circle and I ended up exactly where I was meant to be.
My career journey with Northwell started when I was hired as a CNA. I became a unit secretary in 2010, a position I held for seven years up until I became an Oncology RN in March 2018. I consider myself so lucky to have been able to spend all 12 years growing my skills on the same unit at Huntington Hospital. Being surrounded by the Oncology teammates and managers who have been with me from the start has made my career transitions that much easier. Northwell’s tuition reimbursement program helped to lighten the financial burden as I obtained my nursing degree. The support of my colleagues and leaders throughout school was a tremendous part of my success.
I feel my experiences give me insight when I’m caring for our cancer patients since I can relate to what they are going through. By helping my patients and their families heal and cope with how cancer has affected their lives, I’ve been simultaneously helping heal myself as well.
I became a nurse because I wanted to be that sunshine in a patient’s life while they are in the hospital dealing with some of their darkest days. I wanted to be that someone the patient looked forward to seeing walk through their door, because they know I will try my best to support them through their pain, their sadness, and their fears. This has to be one of my favorite things about my job, knowing that sometimes just my mere presence plays a part in a patient’s healing. I feel lucky to be a part of a patient’s journey.
Becoming a nurse and caring for patients with cancer has made me better able to appreciate how beautiful and fragile life is. It’s a career I chose because I wanted to make a positive impact on the lives of my patients, but it’s the impact they make on MY LIFE that truly reinforces that I am exactly who I am meant to be – a nurse!
Nursing Students get a Golden Ticket to Northwell’s Nursing Showcase
The future of nursing is golden at the Northwell’s Golden Ticket Nursing Showcase! This year, more than 630 junior and senior nursing students from 50+ colleges attended to learn about Northwell’s nursing careers and culture. Our invitation-only event at the Crest Hollow Country Club in Woodbury, NY is an important way to identify and engage with nursing students for New York State’s largest health system.
At the Golden Ticket Nursing Showcase, students attended presentations from Northwell’s nursing leadership to hear about our careers including our externships and fellowships, advanced careers such as becoming a nurse practitioner and the future of nursing at Northwell . Panel sessions were also held featuring previous nurse externs and current team members to allow students to ask questions and hear about their experiences.
In addition to the panels and presentations, students explored the Nursing Careers Expo and Culture Center where they could meet and interact with our registered nurses and nursing leaders and learn what makes Northwell’s culture and careers so unique. Here students also had the chance to learn about more than 23 specialties in nursing such as PeriOperative, Emergency, Critical Care, Pediatrics, Home Care, Case Management, TeleHealth, Mother/Baby and many more.
Don’t miss this inside look at what it’s like to attend the Northwell Golden Ticket Nursing Showcase in our video recap:
Combining clinical and business skills as an RN case manager
Comprehensive. Complex. Holistic. Empathetic. These are some of the words that best capture how RN case managers approach their roles as care providers at Northwell Health. As an RN case manager your responsibility is to understand and create a care plan for patients from admission through discharge that best accounts for their clinical and psychological needs.
Get to know the thoughts and experiences of two of our case managers who exemplify the kinds of career journey our clinicians can pursue here at Northwell Health. Jennifer Taglich, RN MSN MPH CPN, is an RN Case Manager at Cohen Children’s Medical Center. Initially hired as a bedside nurse, Jennifer was attracted to her current role for its diversity and cross discipline impact.
Heather Gordon, RN BSN CCM, serves as the Director of the Case Management Department at Staten Island University Hospital. Her career here began at North Shore University Hospital as a neonatal ICU nurse and, then she went on to work in pediatric oncology. When she was offered the position as a pediatric home care discharge planner, she embraced it for the autonomy it provided her in coordinating complex discharge activities for the pediatric specialty population.
Both Jennifer and Heather place a high value on the way that their roles helped them broaden and develop their knowledge by introducing them to new business planning, communications and patient management responsibilities.
Heather says, “I chose to work in case management because it required nursing skills along with incorporating business process into discharge planning. I had to develop business management skills and learn to strategize plans for my unique case load.”
The same was true for Jennifer who told us, “I compare it to learning a new language. While the patients remained the same, my role was completely different. It’s given me the opportunity to learn about more aspects of nursing and grow as a nurse, as well as work with intelligent and passionate nurses who I view as role models.”
Both feel that the ability to communicate and lead a team effort is essential as they collaborate care with other disciplines, remove unpredictable barriers and help the patient be ready for discharge once they receive medical clearance. Heather says “In my role I am responsible for creating plans that involve an interdisciplinary team to support our pediatric patients. It gave me the incentive to expand my knowledge, take on more challenges and complexities, and also work with a great team.”
“This role has given me the opportunity to improve my communication and teamwork skills,” says Jennifer. “You see the big picture, including how every member of the healthcare team plays a role in helping the patients feel better so that they can go home.”
From delivering care in the US Army to Zucker Hillside Hospital
Before Laren Lamonaca delivered care as an assistant nurse manager at Zucker Hillside Hospital (ZHH), he delivered care in the U.S. Army.
In the U.S. Army, Laren served as a combat medic with an LPN identifier from 2005 until 2011. It was there where his medical skills grew, exposing him to experience in the ICU/CCU. As part of the 1 First Surgical Team, Laren worked under the leadership of two doctors who work at Northwell Health.
But his time in the Army provided Laren with much more than just technical skills. “The Army taught me leadership and the importance of duty to my country, my unit and my peers,” says Laren. “It taught me that giving respect is as important as getting respect.”
After he returned from deployment, Laren went back to school to become a registered nurse to further his healthcare career. Upon graduation, he accepted a nursing position that was a mixture of emergency and behavioral health nursing.
“Behavioral health nursing found me,” says Laren. “I fell in love with the behavioral health portion of my job and was then offered a job at Zucker Hillside Hospital. The rest is history.”
Laren started his ZHH career as a staff nurse in the acute geriatric psych unit and it’s a population he still loves working with today. “The stories they share of their lives are amazing. It’s very rewarding work,” he says. “Seeing a patient go from depression back to themselves after treatment is very heart warming.”
It was while he was working as a registered nurse at ZHH that Laren’s leadership saw his potential. He was promoted to an assistant nurse manager position where he continues to deliver compassionate care while helping lead his unit, a position he’s comfortable in after being in charge of new recruits in the army.
“I would highly recommend other veterans look for positions at Northwell,” says Laren. “I love working here, the environment is great. My coworkers really care for the patients we see on a day-to-day basis and the administration team is very supportive and engaging. I cannot say enough great things about working for Northwell.”
Northwell’s tuition reimbursement program offers endless opportunities for team members
At Northwell Health, we don’t just support our team members, we invest in their careers. Our team members are the heart of everything we do, and by helping them grow, we’re helping our organization grow.
With endless opportunities to expand their careers, many of our team members benefit from our tuition reimbursement program to take their career in a different direction with a new degree or expanding their skills with continued education.
Meet two of our nurses who have made a difference in their career by going back to school with help from our tuition reimbursement program.
From Patient Care Associate to Registered Nurse: Terrance Duncan
Terrance Duncan, RN, first started his Northwell career as a patient care associate (PCA) at North Shore University Hospital (NSUH) in 2014. As a PCA, Terrance quickly developed his clinical skills, becoming a champion on his units to help promote best practices in rounding and mobility and a patient experience ambassador. His passion for patient care even earned him a Northwell Health Caring Heart Award.
Though he loved being a PCA, Terrance knew that he wanted to continue his work with patients while expanding his own knowledge. “I wanted to become a nurse because I love that as a nurse I could work in many different career specialties.”
With the support of Northwell’s tuition reimbursement, Terrance went back to school and earned his BSN while continuing to work as a PCA. “Northwell has supported me tremendously throughout my nursing career,” says Terrance. “My nurse manager was very supportive working with my school schedule while the tuition reimbursement program helped me financially.”
Terrance graduated from nursing school in 2019 and accepted a position as a Medical/Surgical nurse at North Shore University Hospital where he continues to deliver compassionate care to his patients.
From Nurse Extern to Senior Clinical Appeals RN: Mariel Hughes
Since starting her nursing career as a nurse extern at Zucker Hillside Hospital in 2014, Mariel Hughes, MSN, RN-BC, has grown her passion for nursing. After graduating from nursing school, Mariel started as a Medical/Surgical registered nurse at Long Island Jewish Medical Center (LIJMC). In 2018, she was promoted to become a Medical/Surgical assistant nurse manager at LIJMC.
As a nurse, Mariel joined the Collaborative Care Council at LIJMC and eventually became co-chair. The Collaborative Care Council builds interdisciplinary relationships among care teams and lets nurses like Mariel have a voice in the decision-making of the hospital. It was in those years as co-chair that Mariel discovered where she wanted her career to grow. “While in this role I really found a love for leadership–being able to advocate for my fellow colleagues and finding fun and interesting ways to improve our overall work environment as a team,” says Mariel. “Once becoming an assistant nurse manager, I had the foundation I needed to continue my education in order to become a great leader.”
Mariel returned to school and graduated in 2019 from Capella University with her Master of Science in Nursing with a concentration in Administration and Leadership. “Through Northwell I was able to utilize tuition reimbursement which covered 95% of my entire master’s program! I definitely would have not been able to further my education due to the financial burden if it was not for Northwell’s tuition reimbursement program!”
Using her newly developed skillset, Mariel is able to deliver a different kind of care as a senior clinical appeals RN in the Centralized Denial Office. Working within the Centralized Denial Office means Mariel’s job includes writing appeal letters to insurance companies who deny medical coverage for patients who required a hospital admission.
“My favorite thing about being a nurse is being someone’s support system, whether it be physically, emotionally, mentally or even financially now that I work in appeals,” says Mariel. “It is one of the greatest feelings in the world when you make the slightest difference in someone’s day or life that they can carry on with them.”
When it comes to delivering care at home, there are several career opportunities available. In addition to providing clinical home care visits, nurses can also work as home care registered nurse liaisons, which is a vital role that helps our patients understand how to prepare for their path to recovery before they leave the hospital.
What does a career as a home care RN liaison entail?
These nurses meet with patients and their families to explain the different types of care and services Northwell offers to help patients recover once they leave the hospital. They also coordinate with the facilities and Northwell Health at Home to schedule visits and to ensure the patient has a smooth transition from care in our hospitals to care at home.
This unique nursing position lets nurses enjoy autonomy while still getting a lot of time with patients. “I’ve been with Northwell since 2012 and have flourished in this position ever since,” says Madeleine Cotroneo, a home care RN liaison with Northwell Health at Home. “With over 15 years of home care experience, I was looking to utilize my experience to help influence and evolve the patient’s transition from the hospital to their home and step away from bedside care.”
And as a home care RN liaison, nurses like Madeleine are able to do just that. Some of their day-to-day responsibilities include:
Assessing the patient to recommend the appropriate services
Communicating with doctors, therapy staff, social workers, and other healthcare professionals to better understand the patient’s needs
Explaining the options for services to the patient and family
Speaking to the physician to ensure continuity of care
“Speaking with the patients and their families is my favorite part of the job,” says Candie Decker, home care RN liaison. “Transitioning home after a hospital and rehab stay can be scary for the patients and their families. I like to think I assist with a smooth transition and put their minds at ease.”
Other advantages of the job? Home care RN liaisons work at multiple locations within a region, allowing them to meet and connect with different people. Following a traditional work week also guarantees them weekends off to spend time with their family and friends.
As a registered nurse for 25 years, Candie has found working in home care to be the most rewarding, especially her current position: “I highly recommend a RN liaison position to any nurse who enjoys working directly with people and who wants to make a difference in the lives of their patients.”
The important role of our Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists
The role of a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) is an invaluable part of our patient care teams. These advanced practice nurses work to safely administer anesthetics to patients during surgical cases. Whether they’re delivering anesthesia inside hospitals, private practices or specialty offices, CRNAs enjoy autonomy in their professional roles.
At Northwell Health, we know the important role our CRNAs play alongside surgeons and anesthesiologists. This Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist Week we talked with two of our very own CRNAs to hear about their careers and the impact they’re making every day here at Northwell!
Meet Sally Caldwell, CRNA, Lenox Hill Hospital
Sally Caldwell is a CRNA at Lenox Hill Hospital who pursued her certification after working as a registered nurse. It was her time in the ICU where she realized she wanted to be in an advanced practice nursing specialty. This background in critical care helped her throughout her extensive training and education to become a CRNA.
As a CRNA, she enjoys being able to care for one patient at a time as well as the additional responsibilities including administering medications, monitoring patients during surgery, and making sure patients are comfortable and safe after surgery.
“I love being a CRNA at Northwell because working here allows me the opportunity to provide top-quality patient care, and that’s something I’m proud of,” she says. “With Northwell I get to work with a great group of providers, from the surgeons and anesthesiologists to the nursing staff. CRNAs are a valued part of the anesthesia team here, so that makes me feel good about what I do.”
Meet Marianne Goodnight, Chief Nurse Anesthetist, Northwell Health Anesthesia
Marianne Goodnight currently works as the chief nurse anesthetist at Northwell Health Anesthesia. There, the CRNA team provides all types of anesthesia services to hospitals and surgicenters in Westchester County, Rockland County, Orange County, as well as New Jersey.
It was early in her nursing career that Marianne fell in love with critical care, learning everything she could about one patient and using all of her nursing knowledge and skills to ensure they received the best care possible. When she made the decision to further her critical care nursing education, it was her husband, a surgical resident at the time, who encouraged her to go to the operating room and meet the CRNAs.
Observing them in their day-to-day practice started her love for a career that has only grown. She enjoys that CRNAs must use interpersonal skills alongside their knowledge of medicine, pharmacology, and clinical skills.
“Our CRNAs at Northwell are highly trained, experienced anesthesia providers, who are very supportive of one another. I feel very blessed and grateful to have had such a wonderful team throughout my years here,” says Marianne. “Our CRNAS and anesthesiologists are a very cohesive team, working very hard every day for the same goal: to provide our patients with the safest and best anesthesia care. I encourage CRNAS to take a look at our exciting practice!”
Six reasons why an operating room fellowship could be right for you
Are you a new BSN graduate or experienced RN looking to take your career to the next level in the operating room? A periOperative fellowship could be a great way to gain the skills, experience, and confidence you need to be successful. Our six-month program combines lectures, workshops, independent study, role-playing, case scenarios, and simulation – all while providing hands-on experience in the OR.
Here are six ways our fellowship program can be instrumental in advancing the careers of truly ambitious nurses. You will:
1. Gain training not taught in nursing schools.
The operating room is different from just about any other environment and it is not typically part of the curriculum provided by most nursing schools.
“It is such a different atmosphere than what most nurses have been exposed to, and with little coverage of the OR in nursing schools, everything is new and different,” says Robyn Murray, an operating room registered nurse at North Shore University Hospital (NSUH) who went through the fellowship herself. “I would definitely recommend the fellowship to nurses so they can build a strong foundation.”
2. Promote the nurse’s role as patient advocate.
Our fellowships help you build confidence as a key member of the interdisciplinary team. You will be better prepared to speak on behalf of the patient.
“The biggest lesson I learned during my OR fellowship was to always speak up and advocate for the patient,” says Kristi Troha, a registered nurse in the OR at Southside Hospital. “Northwell offers an unbelievable opportunity that has shaped my career and I am so thankful for it.”
3. Better understand the importance of teamwork.
You will master the ability to develop and manage relationships with staff with all different skills and personalities. We’re all a team in the OR!
Today Marisa Baccarella is an assistant nurse manager for the OR at Long Island Jewish Medical Center but she fell in love with periOperative teamwork during her fellowship: “I love the teamwork aspect of the operating room. You get to work with a large interdisciplinary team made up of surgeons, anesthesiologists, CRNAs, surgical techs, and periOperative assistants. You’re all working together very closely to take care of a patient.”
4. Acquire the essential skills for successful patient outcomes.
Because the OR is fast-paced and ever-changing, it’s important to have the hands-on skills needed to be successful. We will teach you everything you need to know, including surgical counts, sterility procedures, patient positioning and more.
“I think the fellowship is the best transition for a nurse to start a career in the OR,” says Kerri Robertson, an OR nurse at NSUH. “After completing the didactic and hands-on parts of the program, I was confident to circulate and scrub during surgery.”
Nina Stoia, an OR registered nurse at Peconic Bay Medical Center
5. Work on diverse cases.
Our fellowships give you a thorough and comprehensive orientation to the OR. You will have the opportunity to learn every service line, including both the adult and pediatric populations.
Nina Stoia, a registered nurse in the OR at Peconic Bay Medical Center, also completed a periOperative fellowship with Northwell. She says, “My favorite thing about working in the operating room is the diversity of cases I take part in. Whether it be a total knee arthroplasty, a cataract extraction, or a robotic hernia repair; they all positively impact an individual’s quality of life.”
6. Gain a strong foundation for continued growth.
Whether you are just beginning your nursing career or looking to advance it, Northwell’s periOperative fellowship program provides an excellent foundation to build upon.
“Be patient with your learning,” advises Michael Alvarez, a registered nurse first assistant in the OR at NSUH. “We learn very little about the OR in school and the OR environment is like no other.”
Are you Made for an opportunity like this?
The next step in your career is up to you! To learn more about being a part of our fellowship programs, click here.
When Marybeth McManus, MPA, BSN, RN-BC started her career at Northwell Health it was a staff nurse at Zucker Hillside Hospital (ZHH). As her career at ZHH grew, Marybeth played an active role in the American Psychiatric Nurses Association where she is currently president of the New York Chapter. Her experiences at ZHH and beyond serve her well in her current role as chief nursing officer (CNO) of ZHH.
Throughout her career, Marybeth’s focus has always been on the destigmatization of mental illness and the development of a therapeutic healing environment for our patients and a healthy working environment for staff.
“The Zucker Hillside Hospital nursing staff is making a positive difference in advancing the mental health of our community,” she says. “To that end it is my priority to support our staff in providing the highest quality care with respect, kindness, and compassion.”
Read more from our CNO Corner interview with Marybeth.
What is one thing you wish people knew about being a behavioral health nurse?
Behavioral health nursing is a profession of the heart. Behavioral health nurses care for patients who have faced trauma and stigma, who are struggling to have their own voice and are particularly vulnerable. ZHH nurses care for the whole patient; their assessments include not just patients’ mental disorders, emotions and social interactions, but also their medical needs. Behavioral health nurses must have particularly astute assessment and critical thinking skills to observe and intervene in the early stages of a crisis and help patients who are struggling to stay in control. They must also use those same skills to identify changes in a patient’s presentation or mental status, which are often subtle signs and symptoms that are indicative of an evolving medical complication. Behavioral health nurses need to manage not just individual patients, but also the therapeutic milieu. ZHH nurses excel on person-to-person connections and instilling hope for patients on their journey to recovery. Patients and their families’ lives are better because of psychiatric nurses.
What exciting nursing initiatives are happening at Zucker Hillside Hospital?
Nursing at ZHH is trauma-informed, evidence-based and collaborative with many disciplines. Our nurses have participated in educational efforts to better care for their particular population. For example, our nurses on the Women’s Unit trained at LIJ Medical Center’s Labor & Deliveryunit to learn more about the signs and symptoms of labor and impending birth, as well as post-partum care. Many were trained as childbirth educators and lactation nurses as well to support our perinatal patients. ZHH is the only psychiatric free-standing NICHE designated hospital. Our two geriatric units have embraced the NICHE program, and many of the nurses are certified in gerontology by the ANCC and are NICHE geriatric resource nurses.
Our nurses on the adolescent and college units have been trained in Dialectical Behavior Therapy and our nurses on an adult unit are being trained in Cognitive Behavior Therapy-Recovery Based. In an effort to advance the patient experience, nurses have taken the lead on self-care initiatives including hiring a cosmetologist to help our patients feel better about their personal appearance. Other patient experience initiatives include the development of a spirituality program for patients and staff under the direction of our newly hired chaplain, coordination with the dietary department to improve the quality and choice of meals for our patients, pet therapy, art therapy, music therapy, as well as the initiation of Alcoholics Anonymous meetings on the inpatient service.
In addition to improving the experience of patients at ZHH, the Patient Experience Committee also addresses the needs of the staff in order to promote wellness and avoid burn out. Staff wellness programs offer holistic opportunities including reiki, healing crystals and essential oils, as well as their very own “Puppy Love” pet therapy day.
What makes working at Zucker Hillside Hospital unique?
The staff at ZHH are truly “Made for this.” It’s a calling to dedicate your life to the care of the mentally ill, and throughout the hospital you can feel the spirit of dedication, empathy, professionalism and love for our patients and their families. Workforce engagement scores are among the highest in Northwell, and the nursing score of 4.21 is above the national average. Our nursing satisfaction scores on the National Database of Nursing Quality Indicators showed that the majority of our units outperform the national average most times and all of our nursing units are either a Tier 1 or 2. Safety is paramount at ZHH; our quality measures improve annually and in 2019 we were very proud to report a 22% decrease in falls compared to 2018. Our falls with injury rate decreased by 78%, patient-to-patient and patient-to-staff aggression both decreased by 32%, and our seclusion minutes were reduced by 27%. These metrics speak for themselves; our staff is engaged, skilled and making a positive impact on our patients and their families.
What makes Northwell a great place to work?
Northwell provides outstanding opportunities for professional growth and advancement, including the Center for Learning and Innovation, encouragement for advanced degrees, leadership development programs, and the Nursing Mentorship Program and the Nurse Residency Program. I have benefited from numerous strong leaders and mentors at Northwell and am so proud to work for a health system that prioritizes the care of patients with mental illnesses!
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.”
Northwell Relay: Employee’s passion to honor a colleague gives birth to a new labor and delivery room
Over the span of six weeks, follow along with us during our first-ever Northwell Relay. Hear stories from our team members who are passionate about giving back to Northwell to support what matters most and making a real difference in patients’ lives.
Marianne DiStefano never counted the number of babies she delivered in her 30-year career, but it’s safe to say there were thousands. Everyone she encountered — coworkers, patients and families — recognized how much she loved her job as head nurse in labor and delivery atStaten Island University Hospital. It brought her indescribable joy.
This spring her coworkers honored her passion through the 2019 Northwell Health Walk at Staten Island. After Marianne’s passing in February 2018, her colleague Linda Spadafina set a team goal of raising $25,000 to name a labor-and-delivery room in Marianne’s honor within the new Gruppuso Family Women & Newborn Center, slated to be open late 2021.
“Marianne was a mentor and leader to many nurses during her career at Staten Island University Hospital,” says Laura Wenzel, senior director of maternal and child nursing. “It was heartwarming to see Linda and the staff collaborate with Marianne’s family to keep her legacy alive. Marianne continues to live on in the hearts of the nurses and families she impacted over the years.”
A star fundraiser raises the bar
Since the inception of the Northwell Health Walk at Staten Island in 2016, Linda Spadafina has been an exemplary committee member and team player who is made for unwavering support. As captain of Team Baby Steps, Linda raised more than $34,000 in the walk’s first three years to benefit Staten Island University Hospital. From “Taco Tuesdays” and “Waffle Wednesdays” to hosting big-ticket raffles and events, Linda’s fundraising tactics exemplify her creativity.
With 2019’s walk goal to honor Marianne, Linda took ownership of the challenge, bringing the hospital community together. “Even though we are part of a large hospital system, Staten Island University Hospital is still very much a community hospital,” Linda says. “The support that was shown at that walk in May is certainly proof of that.” With her persistence and dedication, and support from the walk committee, fellow employees and community members, the team surpassed their goal, raising nearly $30,000.
Employee generosity benefits our communities
Linda and her team exemplify the dedication that Northwell Health employees bring to their patients, each other and the places they work.
Northwell’s employee giving program —What matters most— offers team members additional ways to help us meet our $1 billionOutpacing the Impossiblecampaign goal. They can make a one-time gift, enroll in payroll deduction or contribute their myRecognition points to support the program or hospital of their choice.
Through their generosity and passion, Northwell Health employees like Linda are leading the way in helping push boundaries and redefine health care.
“Simply put, it’s a labor of love,” Linda says. “I do all of these crazy things because I love raising funds for this hospital and the community it supports.”
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.
An Appointment With: Iris Berman, VP, Telehealth Services
From the time she was a little girl, Iris Berman knew she wanted to become a nurse. Helping to care for her friend’s playground scrapes since she was six years old, Iris couldn’t have imagined that one day she would actually be a nurse with a bright future in medicine.
Starting her career as a registered nurse at Glen Cove Hospital more than 30 years ago, Iris worked per diem in a variety of environments before transitioning to culinary care. Discovering her passion for critical care, Iris eventually became a critical care nurse educator. It was as an educator working in stroke improvement where she first learned how Telestroke’s outcomes were bringing advanced care to patients through the power of technology in a way that wasn’t possible before. With this growing interest in Telemedicine, Iris jumped at the opportunity to apply for a job working in Telehealth within Northwell.
Today, Iris is the vice president of Telehealth Services at Northwell Health. “Telehealth highlights the opportunities and ability of our health system to be progressive, agile, and welcoming all at once,” says Iris. “I am one of the fortunate who truly loves going to work every day.”
We sat down with Iris to learn more about Telehealth Services at Northwell Health and how it’s an exciting career opportunity.
What are the benefits of Telehealth?
Telehealth uses technology (two-way audiovisual equipment) that enables patients and care providers to connect across distances, such as a hospital, clinic, office or home.
At Northwell, telehealth has grown monumentally in both acute inpatient, outpatient and direct to consumer (DTC) care. We have coverage of nearly 200 critical care beds in our Tele-ICU environment and use that platform to add other specialty care such as intensivist consultation to EDs, Tele-Neuro Critical Care, Telestroke Care, Teletrauma, Telepeds, Telehospitalists, Remote care to Skilled Nursing Facilities (TeleSNF) and the list will continue to grow. In addition we have a number of DTC programs (currently approaching nearly 30 programs) enabling patients to get care and consultation in their home, clinic, hospital and doctor’s office. Some examples include Tobacco Cessation support, Telegenetics consults, Neurology for movement disorders, Coumadin Clinic and more. These programs are helping to expedite time to expert opinion and mitigate complications that come from delays in care.
Why is Telehealth the future of healthcare?
As more people become accustomed to the digital world, they also become used to technology when they purchase services and encounter healthcare. In addition, the advent of improved technology makes this a more convenient way for everyone to access care on the go with a known provider no matter where they are. I believe care and outcomes will improve as we become more efficient in our access and consumption of that care. Telehealth also leverages nursing expertise in a technology-driven environment that is not as physically demanding, which is appealing for many nurses as well.
How can someone build a career in Telehealth?
There are a number of jobs in Telehealth and at Northwell we are continuing to expand our reach. Jobs will continue to grow and will rely a great deal on gaining experience at the bedside. If you like to mentor, Tele-ICU is for you. As we grow, jobs will continue to expand into areas that may include triaging of calls, training, project management and business analytics. NPs and PAs are especially gaining in popularity as part of a remote Telehealth team.
What is the best career advice you have for those looking to get into TeleHealth?
First and foremost it’s important for nurses to get bedside experience. This is necessary in order to become an expert in the field before transitioning into a Telehealth role. If you are interested in informatics and process design, find a way to thread it through your clinical experience. More and more jobs will look somewhat hybrid as we continue to evolve. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box. And lastly, be sure that you are comfortable with being on camera if you are looking to be in the patient care arena of Telehealth.
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.
2019 President’s Award Finalist: Leader of the Year
Each year, Northwell’s President’s Awards recognize team members who not only surpass our expectations and standards of excellence, but also those who drive innovative business outcomes.
The Leader of the Year award recognizes an individual who is made for Northwell Health because Northwell was not made for just anyone. It’s their spark and instinct to care that changes lives. This leader always acts with intent, with heart and with passion. They communicate openly while providing empathy and support, gains and shares expertise with others, acts honestly, professionally, and consistently achieves high-level results. Meet this year’s finalists.
Mary Brennan, RN Associate Director, Nursing Education, North Shore University Hospital
Mary Brennan’s dedication to improving the lives of patients inspires colleagues and many well beyond Northwell. She is a worldwide thought leader on wound and ostomy care, improving on the prevention and treatment of skin wounds, and teaching others how to help patients and their families avoid suffering.
Her work combating pressure wounds has led to the naming of a medical condition in her honor . Working with Nurse Manager Kathy Trombley, the pair identified the differences between pressure injuries and terminal tissue injury. This research has yielded a tool that assists nurses in identifying patients who are in the last hours of life, which allows team members to empathetically communicate with family members.
A Wound Care Symposium first proposed by Mary has turned into an interdisciplinary two-day conference at Hofstra University that attracts both physicians and nurses. Her leadership includes publishing papers on wound care, as well as building and overseeing a North Shore University Hospital team of more than 100 skin care champions. Her creative strategies have contributed to the success of this program, keeping others engaged and involved in identifying best practices to reduce incidents of pressure injuries. Thanks to her efforts, hundreds of team members at Northwell and thousands of others around the world know how to prevent and treat thiscomplex clinical problem.
Ryan J. Guda, RN Nurse Manager, Dialysis Services, Ambulatory
Building on his array of experiences in different fields, Ryan Guda has rebuilt a workplace that adapts to change and established a culture of respect with dramatic effects on the quality of care.
Shortly after joining Northwell in 2015, Ryan met with each team member to hear their opinions about their work environment. By listening and acknowledging his team’s feelings, he was able to re-direct negative behavior in a nonjudgmental manner and win their trust. Even his adept computer skills helped during a transition to electronic record-keeping.
Ryan quickly became an agent of change that has improved the work environment and directly affected the quality of services delivered to patients living with end-stage renal failure. He was successful in turning the team members’ fear of change into hope.
Marcia Hall, RN Director, Patient Services, Northwell Health At Home
Marcia Hall is known for her enthusiastic, even disposition and willingness to step up to assist team members. She has a talent for connecting with patients and staff alike. As a leader in a busy business unit, Marcia sees her role as the person who supports, teaches and always tries to lighten the load of those in the office and out in the field. By making herself available to patients and team members alike, she is able to allay concerns and offer encouragement to those who need it.
Marcia was an early adopter of “Leader Rounds,” an innovative approach more difficult to accomplish with patients in the community, and advises supervisors to take time each day to assess what they are seeing in patient care, to spot trends or potential problems.
As a leader determined to spread positivity, Marcia looks to motivate people to be their best, whatever the challenge. She stands by team members who might feel overwhelmed by the responsibilities of caring for patients in the field. Reducing unnecessary hospitalizations is a key part of the Health At Home program and requires attention to detail. Above all, she demonstrates a strong ability to connect with patients and their families, a calming force to those facing a difficult situation.
Robert Kerner Jr., JD, EdD, RN, EMT-P, CHSE Assistant Vice President, Patient Safety Institute, Assistant Professor, Hofstra Northwell School of Graduate Nursing and Physician Assistant Studies
Dr. Robert Kerner engages his team through reflective questions, allowing team members to self-direct on projects and listening to them in a style that makes everyone feel that they’re a valuable part of the team. He demonstrates concern for his colleagues, both personally and professionally, strengthening their connection to their profession and their colleagues. Dr. Kerner is committed to educational and clinical innovation and regularly puts forth new methods to meet the needs of our customers.
His ability to bring innovation in education from PSI to the units has been instrumental in allowing team members from Northwell to benefit from these efforts. Dr. Kerner has and continues to nurture relationships with both new and seasoned customers, as well as serve outside communities. Leaders from across Northwell reach out to Dr. Kerner to assist with projects that will enhance communication, situational awareness and competency skill sets in a variety of venues.
Paula McAvoy Senior Administrative Director, Hospice and Palliative Care, University Hospice, Staten Island University Hospital
Compassion and a set of values that includes connectedness, awareness, respect and empathy guide the work of Paula McAvoy. She is 100 percent committed to caring for those facing the end of their lives. She ensures that her team members feel valued and engaged as they apply those beliefs to their patients and each other. Paula believes in an open-door policy to make sure open lines of communication are maintained.
Despite her heavy workload, she sets an example for colleagues with her commitment to professional development. She leads a session “Building High Performance Teams” as part of Northwell’s Leadership Essentials program.
In nearly 30 years at Staten Island University Hospital, she has excelled in any number of roles, where she began as an on-call hospice nurse, and has become a recognized expert in the field of end-of-life care.
A deeply held concern for the suffering of refugees, victims of war and poverty has stirred Nina Ng to travel the world to deliver compassionate care to those in need. Nursing was the career she chose and for the first few years, she focused on learning all she could to develop her career. Then a trip to Haiti to care for orphans after a hurricane refocused her priorities and has nurtured a desire to take a leadership role in health care by helping the underserved, underprivileged, abused and forgotten people of war-torn and destroyed countries. After several trips abroad, including into a war zone, Nina has a desire to continue to expand her influence locally, regionally and globally, and continues to find new ways she can positively affect the lives of others.
Nina’s desire to lead isn’t limited to the world stage. She insists on accountability and recently published an article in the Journal for Emergency Nursing about workplace bullying.
Nina also has taken the initiative to reduce pressure wounds in patients with enhanced collaboration between the Emergency and Inpatient departments.
Northwell and Syosset Hospital benefit from Nina’s leadership and compassion, and her actions represent a total commitment to our values.
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.”
2019 President’s Award Finalists: Nurse of the Year
Each year, Northwell’s President’s Awards recognize team members who not only surpass our expectations and standards of excellence, but also those who drive innovative business outcomes.
The Nurse of the Year award recognizes a nurse who is made for going the extra mile for his or her patients, families and colleagues. Exemplifying our Northwell values and behaviors, this individual delivers high-quality clinical care and a compassionate patient experience. Meet this year’s finalists.
Angela Daly, RN Physician Partners, Cardiology at Southampton
Inspired by the extra efforts she saw nurses and others doing to take care of her mother, Angela Daly knew nursing was what she was meant to do. During the course of her career, she’s demonstrated efficiency and compassion, finding the small ways in which nurses can have a major impact on patients’ lives. Angela has solved problems, finding ways to improve how nurses were deployed throughout the Cardiac service line and how information was conveyed.
Taking a creative approach, Angela developed a telephone triage and patient education guide for her Flex Pool to demonstrate the best workflow in addressing patient calls, elevating patient concerns to providers and educating patients in a way that they can understand. Her guide is used throughout Northwell’s Cardiac service line. Angela also sends letters to every doctor that her patients see to ensure interdisciplinary communication is intact and that the patient’s treatment course with an investigational drug product is considered in the spectrum of their care. When she saw some information wasn’t making its way to all inpatient team members, she worked to develop chart notes that would be delivered to those who need them. And after realizing that more nurses were needed in the Cardiac service line, Angela worked to create a “Float Pool,” and recruited more than 90 nurses, trained them to cover the practices and developed guidelines so that the nurses would have the tools they needed to care more efficiently for our patients.
Alexa Damone, RN Medical Surgical Unit, Glen Cove Hospital
Alexa Damone’s passion for her work is evident to her patients and colleagues by constantly learning new skills to improve medical care.
Alexa has the ability to relate to patients and their families through her caring manner and attentive demeanor. Her deep commitment is evident to her patients and her colleagues and was recognized by the hospital when she was honored in the hospital’s first “Breakfast with the Stars.” She is empathic, compassionate, an excellent communicator, possesses solid clinical and problem-solving skills and serves as an advocate for her patients.
Her commitment to helping peers is inspirational. Upon returning from a sepsis conference, Alexa shared her newly developed knowledge with her peers to improve the identification and prompt treatment of sepsis. She was a part of a project on infection control that led to better hand hygiene and infection control practices on the unit. Alexa is involved in another project aimed at improving the patient experience. With diabetes becoming increasingly prevalent, especially among the elderly, she attended a two-day workshop recognizing the importance of diabetes knowledge, management and education, enabling her to become a unit champion and valuable resource for her peers and patients.
Maryann Portoro sets a calm tone for patients and team members who, in the sometimes chaotic emergency care environment, need reassurance and compassion. She has devoted 45 years of her nursing career to caring for patients requiring emergency interventions. Maryann’s nursing role is characterized by her philosophy “Don’t worry, I’ve got it.” She is noted for her quick assessment and innovative interventions to support excellence in patient care. She demonstrates her leadership skills by taking charge while not losing her compassionate approach in the Emergency Department, sometimes rocking babies, other times holding the hand of an upset or frightened patient.
Maryann’s care doesn’t stop with patients; she provides timeouts to ease a team member experiencing grief after a loss.
Her sensitivity to people’s needs is in real time with positive, thoughtful recognition. She uses her abilities to think quickly and creatively in any situation, de-escalating a crisis by knowing just what to do to calm and control a situation. Her dedication extends to finding and implementing ways to improve new nursing care delivery models.
Dominick Pugliese, RN Northwell Health At Home
Dominick Pugliese represents the future of Northwell Health nursing care. As a young RN he has already impressed his supervisors with his ability to learn quickly and with his commitment to caring for those in need. Joining Northwell Health At Home just a little over a year ago, he made the switch from a hospital Respiratory Care Unit to Home Health because he wanted to work with patients as their primary nurse in their homes. He had been inspired by his involvement with Project Hope on Staten Island. He was among the part-time team member who went door-to-door to provide crisis counseling to families who were suffering from the fear, anxiety, anger and helplessness after the destruction wrought by Hurricane Sandy in 2012. He rode on a medical bus, which was run by nurses.
At Northwell Health At Home, he mixes an interest and skill in using technology, such as the telehealth program, with devotion to hands-on care that depends on personal attention to a patient’s needs. Dominick’s potential led to his appointment to a task force that created Northwell Health At Home’s Heart Failure program, which was recently certified by the Joint Commission.
Jeffrey Rosa, RN Surgical Intensive Care Unit, Long Island Jewish Medical Center
Passion for his patients and awareness of the complexities of navigating the emotions and needs of those in the Surgical Intensive Care Unit drive the care provided by Jeffrey Rosa. He witnessed the excellent care provided to his grandmother, and, later, as a paramedic, responded to the horrors of the Sept. 11 attack at the World Trade Center, which solidified his determination to become a nurse.
At Long Island Jewish Medical Center (LIJMC), Jeffrey is known as “the go-to player,” someone who has made it his business to know everything he needs to know about every patient in a unit where extra compassion, understanding and respect for what patients and families are going through are crucial. He is completely dedicated to inspiring and teaching new nurses to share his passion and expertise. He coaches, mentors and serves as a role model for his peers. Jeffrey lectures the hemodynamics portion of the nursing fellowship curriculum and shares his passion for work he does daily.
Jeffrey participates in countless committees, including the Magnet task force, and as co-chair of the Surgical ICU’s Collaborative Care Council, he facilitates the agenda and pushes LIJMC nursing units to share innovative solutions and champion new ideas and processes.