Every moment matters: How Nilda Adair is making a difference with patient experience
Connecting to people and making a difference are the cornerstones of why so many people start their healthcare careers. Nilda Adair, Chief Radiation Therapist at Lenox Hill Hospital, strives to ensure her team never forgets the spirit of caring that brought them to the industry.
Nilda’s career in radiation medicine had an unlikely start, after a career in Human Resources, Nilda took time off to raise her children. During this time, she sought out meaningful ways to connect with her community, Nilda began volunteering in radiation oncology at Long Island Jewish Medical Center (LIJMC). It was this experience that shifted everything. “When I started volunteering in radiation oncology, I felt so inspired by the employees – by their passion, their enthusiasm, and their motivation,” Nilda says, “I thought, ‘when I grow up, I want to be like them’ and I knew immediately I wanted to pursue a career in radiation oncology with Northwell.”
Volunteering inspired Nilda to go back to school to become a radiation therapist. She didn’t want to become a radiation therapist just anywhere – her heart was set on a position at LIJMC, “I knew if I’m going to work, Northwell is where I wanted to be.” After starting with per diem work at Northwell as a radiation therapist in 1997, Nilda transitioned to full time after just a few months.
However, her career goals didn’t stop there. Nilda’s passion and commitment to her work helped her move her way up through her years at Northwell, serving as a supervisor before becoming chief in 2013. If the day to day responsibilities didn’t keep her busy enough, she also became the Patient Experience Culture Leader for radiation medicine. In this role, Nilda is responsible for overseeing the local patient experience – leading and effecting change. It is this unrelenting passion for delivering the best care to our patients that reminds Nilda daily why she joined the healthcare industry.
Throughout her rise in Radiation Medicine, Nilda’s love for patient experience never wavered. The role of chief would mean taking a step back from interacting with patients directly, it also provided her with the opportunity to increase quality of care through empowering others. “I realized that by empowering my team, I’m able to help even more patients,” Nilda says, “We’re able to meet our goal of making sure that every patient feels like someone is spending time taking care of them, and that they don’t feel like a piece in a production line.”
Her role as a culture leader was a trajectory that started early on in her career. Over the years, Nilda was given the opportunity to work projects that led to improved patient experience. Embracing these opportunities meant that she was part of the team that help reduce the number of reduce the number of days between consult and treatment for specific disease sites, improved therapist workflow efficiency increasing the amount time team members spend crucial points of care, and to drive performance in our safety culture just to name a few.
Serving as a culture leader has allowed Nilda to expand her own knowledge of what matters to patients, “I’ve learned that a patient’s experience isn’t just impacted by the staff they interact with. It’s important to realize that all senses play a role in, not only, how we are perceived but impacts the overall feeling the patient has when they leave the hospital.” By taking every moment of the experience into consideration, Nilda and her team can deliver the best care experience for patients.
No matter her position, Nilda always remembers that spark that ignited while she was volunteering, “Focusing on patient experience helps us all remember the spirit of why we chose health care in the first place – make a connection, to help people, and to make a difference.”
Are you Made for outstanding patient care? Explore current job opportunities across our healthcare system.
Bringing families together through the power of compassion
Sometimes, the most heartbreaking situations grant the greatest opportunity for us to provide genuine compassionate care. This was the case recently at North Shore University Hospital where care providers across several units and two hospitals worked together to help a father and daughter reunite as a family for one last time.
A fifteen-year-old girl came into the Emergency Department at North Shore with asthma exacerbation. Due to the circumstances that surrounded her condition, she needed to be transferred to Cohen Children’s Medical Center. However, while she was still in the ED, her care providers learned that her father was a patient at that same hospital with a terminal condition.
Not knowing how much time he had left, the patient wanted to be able to visit her father before her transfer. It took teamwork from staff at both hospitals to act quickly in order to make one girl’s wish a reality.
At Northwell Health, being Truly Compassionate is more than just a figure of speech or a slogan on a wall. It is an everyday commitment. The ED Attending, RN staff and leaders at North Shore and an RN from Cohen Children’s work together to escort the girl – with telemetry monitoring and oxygen in place – to her father’s room. There the staff remained with them to maintain her care so the patient could visit her father for two hours.
Nurses proved Northwell’s values with their dedicated care, going above and beyond by remaining well past the end of their shifts to ensure a daughter shared precious time with her father. The hospital teams worked as one to bring their patients comfort and assurance during life’s most difficult times.
It was an emotional scene, and one that reminded care providers why they went into their fields in the first place. “This is an event that will stick with many of us for a long time to come,” said Marissa E. Tang, BSN, RN at North Shore University Hospital, “I personally know I will be remembering and speaking of this event myself.”
Following her time with her father, the patient was transferred to Cohen Children’s to receive the care she needed. The patient and her family showed immense gratitude that thanks to the teamwork and compassion from both staffs, a girl was able to spend time with her father who passed away the next day.
Her nurses consider it a privilege to have been able to contribute to their important final visit. Jessica Jardin, RN, BSN, CEN, and Assistant Nurse Manager at the Department of Emergency Medicine, North Shore University Hospital will never forget that day, “I know this situation resonated with my colleagues and myself, and in such a case there is no way we would have denied these two the opportunity to have such precious little time together. The collaborative team effort worked because we all wanted to see the best possible outcome of a painful situation for our patient and her family.”
Helping patients take the next step: Discover the Clinical Coordination Center
The continuum of care is incredibly broad, and for patients looking to navigate this alone, the process can at times become overwhelming. That’s why at Northwell Health we created the Clinical Coordination Center, which takes patient referrals from our physicians and helps them discover what the next step should be in their path toward better health.
The Clinical Coordination Center consists of experts who are capable of addressing the needs of a patient and coordinating their access to care. They take into account the urgency of patient needs, their location, physician availability, and many other nuanced factors that play into providing the best possible care. Clinical Coordinators work at the center of Northwell, gaining insight into nearly every aspect of the health system. It’s the sort of role that attracts high-level intellectual caregivers, and fosters collaboration. The results of this team have been astounding. Patient satisfaction is through the roof reaching a whopping 95%, and physician satisfaction is at 93%.
The rewarding reception to the work being done at the Clinical Care Center is matched by a rewarding work environment. Clinical Care Coordinators benefit from a bright room, flexible hours, fun activities and, above all, a team of enthusiastic colleagues.
“There are no wrong numbers in this office. If you call us by accident, we’ll never steer you away. We are the yes people. Yes, we can!” – Ronda Gross, Assistant Vice President, Clinical Coordination Center
Northwell Health is excited to offer new opportunities to join this dynamic team in the following roles:
As a Patient Care Coordinator, you will be the eyes and ears of the Clinical Coordination Center. As the first line of defense, you will triage patients to determine the next step in their care and what the patient needs.
To qualify you must have:
Associate’s Degree required, Bachelor’s preferred
A minimum of three years clinical experience. Candidates with experience in careers such as, but not limited to, LPN, Medical Assistant, CNA, PCA, OR & ED Tech are encouraged.
Looking to work beyond the bedside? Join a team where you will have an even greater hands-on approach to patient care. In this role, you will help take patients through their entire care journey from triage to referral to outcome discussions and future follow up visits.
We’re seeking Registered Nurses or Nurse Practitioners with:
BSN and a Master’s Degree (MSN, MPH, MBA, etc.)
Clinical care experience required
Grow your expertise of our world-class health system while guiding patients, physicians, and a multitude of other departments toward a more seamless health journey.
We lead with compassion. When someone is battling a disease like addiction, our first step, our first move, is one of empathy. That’s why we were excited to meet Darryl Strawberry.
Darryl Strawberry has overcome incredible adversities. As a professional baseball player, he’s an eight-time All Star, a four-time World Series Champion, and a two-time Silver Slugger. But during his recent visit to Zucker Hillside Hospital, he made it clear that his greatest challenge came from a foe off the diamond: Addiction.
Strawberry spoke in emotional detail about his personal journey from addiction to recovery. Referencing his new book, “Don’t Give Up on Me,” Strawberry advised his audience that no matter the addiction, there is hope and possibility for anyone in search for a better life.
“We have to step up as a society,” he said, “and I want to thank everyone at this hospital who works to make life better for those who need it. Recovery is possible, but we all have to help. The people who work here in this hospital – just know that this is not a job, it’s a calling. It’s about letting every person who walks through your door know that their lives matter.”
The Department of Psychiatric Rehabilitation at ZHH hosted the event that provided inspiration and empowerment to staff, peers, and clients.
“With the current opioid crisis facing our nation, presentations such as Darryl’s heighten awareness to the growing problem and the effect on our communities,” Chief Nursing Officer Marybeth McManus said. “We are grateful to those in recovery who speak up with such a positive message, and to the health care providers so committed to caring for those on the journey to recovery.”
Looking to take up arms in the battle against addiction? Zucker Hillside Hospital has open RN night positions for inpatient adult units and geropsychiatric units, and a .5 ECT day position. Previous medical experience preferred for the geropsych units and ECT.
Our dedication to employee and patient safety in action
Coming together to serve others, that’s what we do here at Northwell Health. And when it comes to protecting our patients, communities and employees, we do everything in our power to do so. Our Administration and Security teams over at North Shore University Hospital have proven just that.
At the end of 2016, the Security team at NSUH knew that they wanted to implement a few changes to make their campus safer. “At any moment of the day, anyone could come onto our campus and walk right into the hospital. With recent events throughout the United States, we wanted to ensure the safety of our patients, their families, and our employees,” said John Ferrigno, Director of Security. On average, over 900 people per hour were entering the hospital through the Main Lobby and they wanted to be able to monitor who was coming in, and for what reason. Que the idea for an employee entrance, where employees would have to scan their ID’s in order to access the building. Que a visitor check-in process and optical barriers to ensure those visiting were there for the right reasons.
“We didn’t want any former employees to have access to our building and we didn’t want to have anyone who wanted to cause harm to others to be able to walk in.” John Ferrigno, Director of Security
The Security team came together and reached out to employees throughout each unit, department and floor to see if they wanted to become a part of their council. At these meetings, the 50 employees who made up the Employee Security Advisory Council worked together to create a plan – this was their timeline:
October 1, 2016: Locked exterior entrances
November 6, 2016: Officers stationed at Visitor Entrances to encourage employees to display ID badges
November 15, 2016: Developed and met with Employee Security Advisory Council
April 20, 2017: Launched the Employee Entrance
June 22, 2017: Visitor Check In Policy began – optical barriers installed but inactive
July 20, 2017: Optical Barriers activated at Visitor Entrances
“When we reached out to employees to become a part of the council they were extremely eager to join. They continuously brought up great ideas and pushed us to think differently. We realized that this was a big concern of theirs and we loved working with each one of them.” Derek Anderson, Associate Executive Director, Hospital Operations
Throughout this process, NSUH has grown their security team from 67 officers to 90 officers and has partnered with Nassau County Police to ensure they had the best security precautions in place. Hour-long trainings were held by Nassau County’s Chief of Patrols who taught employees how to protect themselves in case of an active shooting. This incredible partnership has allowed NSUH employees to feel safe and ready in case of an emergency.
With this new partnership, the support of senior leadership and the excitement of our employees, we know the new employee entrance is here to stay.
“We don’t budge with the new system – no matter what your role is within the health system, or who you are coming to see, you are following the new rules.” John Ferrigno, Director of Security
At Zucker Hillside Hospital, it doesn’t just take clinical knowledge and skill to do what we do. It takes a special spark, a unique passion for treating patients as the unique and valued individuals they are. We’re profoundly committed to the compassionate care of people suffering from a wide range of behavioral conditions and addictions. We’re also passionate about our leadership role in the field as we pursue new treatments and solutions for helping people through extremely difficult challenges.
“As co-chair for the Evidence-Based Practice and Nursing Research committee at Zucker, I’m focused on initiating practices to improve patient care and satisfaction.”
–Tara Shajan, RN
We’re excited to be able to share our knowledge and best practices with the behavioral health community at the American Psychiatric Nurses Association’s 31st Annual Conference this October in Phoenix, Arizona! We spoke with two of the nurses from Zucker Hillside Hospital who will present their findings at the conference, and here is a sneak peek at their research topics:
DBT is an evidence-based practice therapy created to help the many people suffering from borderline personality or impulse control issues. By uniting cognitive behavioral therapy with Buddhist meditative practices, it combines the best of our advanced knowledge with ancient wisdom. The treatment involves exercises in mindfulness, emotional regulation and distress tolerance and acceptance. Ours is the first inpatient adolescent unit in the country to incorporate this into practice. We’re seeing amazing results in terms of constant observation as well as a decrease in self-injurious and suicidal behavior. So far, we’ve sent eight core staff members from all disciplines for intensive DBT training. We’re continuing to have more staff trained, including nursing staff, so they can gain a greater understanding about the ways DBT can help our patients.
The Importance of Noise Control – Tara Shajan, RN
We weren’t satisfied with our Press Ganey score for patient experience related to noise level. I led an initiative with our RNs and other staff to modify the practices on the unit to control the level of noise on the unit after 11 pm. The change in our mean score since the implementation of the new process has been remarkable – rising from 27 to 72 in just one year. This is a tremendous change. Essentially: Reducing noise level can contribute to improving quiet and therapeutic healing environment and thus enhance patient experience. With these changes, we have completed the goal of bringing up the satisfaction of the patients of the units during the night time. Since the initiative, the staff who would never paid attention to noise change are now aware of it and there is a big culture change . Patients are able to get a good night’s sleep. The improved Press Ganey patient satisfaction score is proof it’s working.
“We found that reducing noise level can improve the therapeutic healing environment and thus enhance patient experience.”
–Tara Shajan, RN
At Zucker Hillside Hospital, we are rejuvenating our nursing research and are committed to encouraging nurses like Trish and Tara to explore untapped possibilities and to discover new and better ways to deliver exceptional patient care. If you’re made for advancing your clinical practice, Zucker Hillside Hospital is made for you.
“The nursing department at Zucker Hillside Hospital has been very invested in promoting nursing research to all the nursing staff.”
— Trish Woloszyn, RN
Think you might be made for a career in Behavioral Health? Explore availablecareers here!
We’re completely redefining how exceptional patient care is delivered. Are you Made for this?
At Northwell Health, we are the pioneers searching for innovation in everything we do. You’ll see this visionary spirit come to life at Health Solutions. As Northwell Health’s care management organization, Health Solutions is helping to lead the organization to success in value-based care and population health. Take a look at all Health Solutions is achieving:
Join our talent community to explore career opportunities with Northwell Health Solutions!
Over 800,000 patients turn to us each year in times of emergency.
Emergency nursing at Northwell Health is driven by our mission to provide better patient care. With 21 hospitals throughout the five boroughs, Long Island and Westchester, we have emergency capabilities you won’t find anywhere else:
Two state-of-the-art EDs opened in the past six months at Southside Hospital and Huntington Hospital
New York City’s first ever freestanding emergency department
State-of-the-art SkyHealth helicopter service
In addition, we feature innovative Telehealth/Telestroke/Telepsych programs that connect patients presenting specific conditions with the appropriate specialist in their area. Even if not on site, the specialist can connect via video and audio right at the patient’s bedside.
“By being an emergency nurse at anyNorthwell Health facility, you’re not just part of one hospital, you’re part of an Emergency Medicine service line, and a health system.”
— Kate O’Neill (Enright), RN, MSN, Director of Clinical Operations, Emergency Medicine Service Line
Your career, your choice.
“There’s a lot of opportunity for nurses to develop and grow professionally within Northwell Health. You’re part of a vast health system, not just one hospital,” says Kate O’Neill (Enright). Whether you’re looking to work in a fast-paced urban medical center or a more intimate community hospital, Northwell Health has a place for you. And with the diversity of cases we handle, you’ll experience continual professional challenge.
The learning never stops, and neither does your career. We believe in constant learning, development, and professional growth. The only way this happens is through a commitment to our nurses to make it happen.
“Our nursing talent is extremely important at Northwell Health and our system offers numerous opportunities. In addition to a very structured fellowship program for new graduate emergency nurses, we also focus heavily on developing our nursing leaders.”
–Paula A. Fessler RN, BSN, MSN, MS, FNP-BC, Vice President, Emergency Medicine Service Line
Throughout our extensive system, you’ll be able to:
Benefit from our structured Emergency Nursing Education and opportunities for mentorship
Leverage the potential to grow into leadership roles – Assistant Nurse Manager, Nurse Manager, ADN and more
Experience unequaled educational opportunities, including tuition reimbursement, fellowships, advanced trauma training, career ladders and more
Enjoy the front line engagement of our shared governance model and our collaborative care committees
Make the call.
We have openings throughout our system for exceptional team players who can think and act fast.
“We’re looking for nurses who are engaged in their professional practice, patient-centered, and looking to be part of a dynamic organization.”
— Kate O’Neill (Enright), RN, MSN
Interested in joining our team of nurses? Explore our unlimited career possibilities.
This past week many of our Northwell Health facilities have been participating in national Patient Experience Week. This annual event promotes how healthcare staff impacts patient experience every day and our employees are honored, recognized and re-inspired. Our 61,000 employees are dedicated to providing quality care with compassion. Patient Experience Week is one way Northwell extends its heartfelt appreciation and encourages continued efforts on behalf of patients and families. The Culture of C.A.R.E. which stands for Connectedness, Awareness, Respect and Empathy, is our promise to our patients and families. Storytelling is a powerful forum for hearing the “voice” of our patients and families and so, this week incredible patient stories were shared by reading letters aloud and watching video testimonials.
Across our organization, teams rallied around patient and family experience. Fun celebrations for our staff included recognition programs, red carpet events, photo booths, meditation sessions, smoothie bars, appreciation rounding by leaders, friendly competition activities, Culture of C.A.R.E. trivia, and team building activities. For our patients we had music performers, pet therapists, hand-written get well cards by staff and offerings of small gifts of appreciation upon discharge. Lastly, the organization went social. Using #PTEXP and #PXWeek, interdisciplinary teams across the organization posted to Facebook and Instagram, their Northwell Patient Experience pride!
At the end of the week, the Office of Patient & Corporate Experience hosted its first annual Culture of C.A.R.E. in Action Event on Friday, April 28th. It’s an experiential afternoon meant to inspire, challenge and lead patient experience influencers across our organization by sharing Northwell Health best practices. Kicked off by our Chief Experience Officer, Sven Gierlinger, and VP of Patient Experience, Aggie Barden, the event includes table top learning, academic posters and featured Ted-talk presentations. This year’s keynote speaker is Jason Wolf, President of the Beryl Institute which is the organization that started Patient Experience Week.
Happy Patient Experience Week from Northwell Health! Every Role, Every Person, Every Moment Matters.
It is the policy of Northwell Health to provide equal employment opportunity and treat all employees equally regardless of age, race, creed/religion, color, national origin, alienage or citizenship status, sexual orientation, military or veteran status, sex/gender, gender identity, gender expression, disability, generic information or genetic predisposition or carrier status, marital status, partnership status, victim of domestic violence, or other characteristics protected by applicable law. Northwell Health leaders, including the CEO, are committed to the principles of Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action.