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.
“I knew that coming to Northwell presented an opportunity for growth and it’s one of best decisions I’ve ever made. I feel appreciated, I feel acknowledged, and I feel my talents are recognized.”
– Edlyn Fernandez, Administrative Director of Radiology, Long Island Jewish, Valley Stream Hospital
Edlyn Fernandez has come full-circle. When she began her career at Northwell Health as a Front Desk Clerk, she used her position to build up her terminology while she went through Radiology school. After graduating from her radiology program with honors, she moved to an X-Ray Technician position and eventually came back to Long Island Jewish, Valley Stream Hospital as a Per Diem Cat Scan Technologist, where she worked for five years while she received her advanced certification in Cat Scan.
Edlyn still had places to go! After four years as a Per Diem Cat Scan Technologist, she was promoted to Cat Scan and MRI Supervisor where she oversaw both modalities in which the department acquired ACR accreditation. She eventually moved into the role of Radiology Manager where she assisted the director in departmental needs such as patient safety and staff scheduling, the ACR accreditation of multiple modalities, IT troubleshooting with PACS and Ris system, the implementation of Sunrise Clinical Manager, and obtaining data for quality metrics such as turnaround time.
Edlyn is putting all of this experience to good use now as Administrative Director of Radiology, the same department she started her career in. Her new role gives her the ability to collaborate with administration, nursing, and the rest of the hospital for timely discharges and lengths of stays, all while performing daily briefs to set expectations and goals for the staff.
“The work you put in at Northwell Health is repaid with opportunities to grow. I’ve always been dedicated and it’s been an honor to be here starting off as a Front Desk Clerk and growing into my current role,” she says.
The Northwell Health values of never settling, relying on each other, and utilizing her ambitious spark make Edlyn an outstanding teammate. Her dedication and career progress make us proud to call her a valued team member. She’s an amazing example of how at Northwell Health, you never know what heights your career will take you.
“When I came here to this very office and interviewed as a Front Desk Clerk, I never thought I’d be where I’m sitting. Now, I look around my office and I’m sitting on the other side of the desk, and I did it.”
At Northwell Health, we love giving our employees the opportunity to grow. Explore how your career can thrive by looking at openings here.
Photo: Members of our Radiology team at the 2016 Northwell Health Walk
Radiologic Technologists – the difference they make at Northwell Health
Since Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen’s discovery of the x-ray in 1895, the field of imaging technology has advanced from a chance scientific discovery during a lab experiment in Germany into an integral part of every patient’s management of care around the world, and across Northwell Health.
“Radiology technologists make a difference throughout our health system by providing physicians with images that enables them to treat or diagnose a disease. Over 230,000 studies are performed by imaging technologies in the department of radiology at LIJ alone. It is safe to say that radiology technologists are the eyes of medicine.” Andreas Nicou, Senior Administrative Director, Department of Radiology, Long Island Jewish Medical Center
The Imaging Service Line at Northwell Health prides itself on being able to provide prompt and accurate subspecialty imaging and interpretations of images acquired on the most technologically advanced imaging equipment, in a safe and comfortable environment. We offer our patients convenience and easy access to our imaging facilities 7 days a week, throughout the Northwell catchment area. Our highly skilled, licensed, registered, and certified Imaging Technologists make all the difference when it comes to delivering the optimal patient imaging experience and obtaining the highest quality images possible, leading to prompt diagnosis and follow up care.
“Our imaging technologists are “Truly Ambitious” in their pursuit for continuous learning and advancement of both the field of imaging and their personal career development and growth. Our academic program affiliations offer an advanced teaching environment which allows our new recruits entry level opportunities at Northwell Health, as well as additional upward mobility opportunities and career ladders for existing team members.” Jim Henglein, Senior Director, Support Services, North Shore University Hospital
Imaging Technologists at Northwell Health have career opportunities in diverse modality areas which include X-ray, MRI, CT, Special Procedures, Cardiac Catheterization, Nuclear Medicine, Ultrasound and Peripheral Vascular, and Radiation Medicine technologists.
“Our technologists are truly ambitious because they never let the increasing demands of the field or the never ending advancement of radiology technology hold them back. They are resilient and always manage to adapt to the changes and thrive in order to provide our patients with the quality care they deserve.” Andreas Nicou, Senior Administrative Director, Department of Radiology, Long Island Jewish Medical Center
Our state of the art imaging environment includes an advanced and integrated Picture Archival Communication System, the most advanced clinical & research MR imaging magnets available, the lowest dose CT scanners available on the market, Ultrasound with 3D imaging capabilities, PET and SPECT CT, and the most advanced Imaging for Women’s Health and Breast Imaging including the most current digital platforms for Tomosynthesis.
“Our goal is to attract highly skilled imaging professionals in order to complement our existing imaging team, and offer them career growth opportunities in a very exciting and challenging environment. Each year during the first full week of November we celebrate National Radiology Technology Week by honoring and recognizing all Imaging Technologists for their commitment towards providing the highest level of diagnostic imaging and imaging guidance for our physicians to diagnose and treat diseases. We thank them for their support, teamwork, and dedication to their profession and to our patients they provided during the past year by holding week long activities including breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and other social activities.” John J. Aloisio, Assistant Vice President, Imaging Service Line
Initially, it never occurred to me to consider Tech School. I was going to school to become an accountant and during that time I worked in a small radiology facility. I worked with John, the director of an Ultrasound program. My desk faced the wall and our desks were caddy corner. One day, John approached me and said, “Consider Ultrasound school and forget accounting”. In so many words, I told him to leave me alone. He responded, “OK, sit in the corner for the rest of your life”. I will never forget how I felt in that moment. I started to pay more attention to the Tech’s and each modality. Ultrasound interested me because there is an art to it; the probe is your camera. I was hooked and I knew I wanted to pursue a career in Ultrasound.
I began my career at Huntington Hospital in 2008. I worked with esteemed Radiologist Dr. Wank and he recruited me to go to Great South Bay Imaging in late 2010 when the practice wasn’t even open yet (I literally wore a hard hat while I interviewed with Bill Brostek). It may sound cliché, but I do believe that everything happens for a reason. Just like with John, Bill saw something in me that day. He hired me as a staff Technologist and then I was promoted to Ultrasound Supervisor and not long after that, I was promoted to Practice Manager of the facility. Over the course of 7 years, I have seen many changes and growth within our facility. From the earliest moments of my career, the team that I have worked with has solidified the reasons I was drawn to this field in the first place. Technologists graduate with a foundation of knowledge in patient care. It is not until this knowledge is put into practice that a Technologist begins to realize that patient care is the most important part of our job. Even though a majority of my day is no longer spent scanning patients, patient care remains my utmost priority.
I often look ahead to the future. Just as I have evolved and grown within my career, the field of radiology will continue to evolve and grow. Northwell Health continuously provides opportunities that break down barriers so that there are no limitations to the level of success we can all achieve. This fosters an environment in which patients can be part of a health system that is a step above the rest. Northwell Health has afforded me opportunities in my career that I never deemed possible, especially when I look back at myself sitting in the corner all of those years ago.
Many people have not only believed in me but instilled a drive that I didn’t know existed within myself. The moment I wake up each morning, I have a mantra I often repeat – I am part of something greater and I am going to make a difference today. I often reiterate this mantra to my team so that we don’t lose sight of our common goal. Simply put, we all entered this field to help people. Patient care is our #1 priority. No matter what an individual’s role is within the health system, that mantra, along with prioritizing patient care, will only enhance the overall success of our Health System. I wear my Northwell Health hat proudly each and every day.
The most advanced and accurate imaging equipment is only as good as the radiologists interpreting the studies. Northwell Health Imaging has the largest group of subspecialized, fellowship-trained radiologists on Long Island. We are excited to welcome three new imaging centers to our expanding service line.
Northwell Health Imaging is the first radiology practice in New York State – and seventh in the nation – to be designated as a Diagnostic Center of Excellence by the American College of Radiology (ACR) for achieving the highest levels of imaging quality, safety, and care. Our imaging centers are also accredited by the ACR as Breast Imaging Centers of Excellence and the Lung Cancer Alliance has named our facilities Screening Centers of Excellence.
When you become part of Northwell Health Imaging you will be joining a dedicated group of radiologists, nurse navigators, certified technologists, and caring support staff.
Learn more about our three new Imaging Centers:
Imaging at Bayshore
Northwell Health Imaging at Bay Shore offers a wide variety of diagnostic services, offering employees access to the latest imaging technology on the south shore of Long Island. In addition to MRI, PET/CT with low dose capability, SPECT/CT, ultrasound and digital X-ray, Imaging at Bay Shore will offer interventional radiology.
Imaging at Lenox Hill Greenwich Village
Northwell Health Imaging at Greenwich Village offers a full range of diagnostic and breast imaging services. Combining state-of-the-art equipment and advanced technology with subspecialized radiologists, this site offers employees access to outpatient radiology services in Manhattan. Services include: MRI, low dose CT, ultrasound, digital X-ray and bone densitometry. Comprehensive breast imaging services are also offered: 3D mammography, breast ultrasound, breast MRI and breast biopsies.
Imaging at Smithtown
Northwell Health Imaging at Smithtown also offers a full spectrum of diagnostic testing services including MRI, low dose CT, ultrasound, digital X-ray, bone densitometry, image-guided biopsies and procedures – all in spa-inspired settings. The center also offers comprehensive breast imaging services including 3D mammography, breast ultrasound, breast MRI and image-guided breast biopsies.
Join our team at one of our Imaging Centers and apply today.
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.