An Appointment With: Brian Krebs, AVP Rehab Service Line & STARS
Since starting his career in 1997, Brian Krebs, PT, DPT, OCS, COMT, Cert. MDT, has grown his career through Northwell Health’s rehabilitation services. Beginning with the Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation Services (STARS) team as a physical therapist, Brian has developed his PT and business skills alike, holding positions there such as supervisor, manager, director, and senior director. Today as the AVP of the Rehab Service Line and STARS, Brian exemplifies the growth possible within Northwell.
We sat down with Brian to discuss the opportunities available at STARS.
How has STARS grown over the past year?
Though the past year has been tough for all healthcare professionals, the team members at STARS have stepped up to develop new ways to deliver exceptional and safe care to our patients. We have started exploring new territories like telehealth to deliver care virtually as well as taken measures to reconfigure physical space in the offices and clinical schedules to allow for social distancing. During the COVID pandemic, many of our team members found themselves developing new skills, with many volunteering to participate in Northwell’s Reassignment Reserves to be temporarily reassigned to COVID testing centers or being trained to work as safety monitors.
Additionally, the rehabilitation specialties we offer have continued to grow. Along with our focus on orthopedic and musculoskeletal rehabilitation therapy, our team members have worked hard to develop specialty services such as pelvic floor, pediatrics, neurological and wheelchair clinics, hand therapy, lymphedema/oncology, and vestibular programs to name just a few.
How has the work of our rehabilitation team members been vital to our organization and communities during the COVID pandemic?
Though we offer physical therapy in many specialties, traditionally most of our clinical team members have been working with musculoskeletal cases. With the COVID pandemic creating an increased need for additional services, the team at STARS has further expanded their skills to align with the principles of pulmonary therapy to assist in the treatment of recovering patients. One physical therapist in particular, Michael Kamme, had the idea for the program and worked closely with the STARS leadership and the Northwell Pulmonary physicians to develop the INSPIRE Program. We’re proud to say we now have physical therapists trained to deliver pulmonary rehab at every location and have seen 56 patients to date.
What are some of the careers available within STARS?
Between our rehab sites and within the hospital outpatient departments, we have a variety of careers available for anyone interested in joining the STARS team. On the clinical side, we have opportunities for physical and occupational therapists and assistants, speech therapists, neuropsychologists and rehab aides. For those with a non-clinical background, we have positions available from working at the front desk or in operations, to joining our support services or revenue cycle teams.
Opportunities aren’t just limited to our Rehab Centers and hospitals however. STARS also hires athletic trainers who work directly in practices physician extenders or in schools across Long Island. STARS also has physical therapists at Hofstra University working in their training room with their athletes. We also have the exciting opportunity to work with some professional sports team, such as the New York Islanders and the New York Lizards. Aside from just treating patients, many of our therapists also provide community and professional lectures as well as are adjunct or assistant faculty at local institutions including the Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell.
What makes working at STARS unique?
The culture in the STARS workplace is one where we value every member. Along with making STARS a fun place to work, we’re committed to developing the talent of the members of our STARS family throughout every step of their career. We encourage our team members to let us know if there are new skills they’d like to develop, including additional certifications or shadowing other departments if they would like to make a transition to the non-clinical side. We also love hearing ideas from our team members and strive to create an environment where everyone feels their voice can be heard and their ideas and input make a difference to influence changes in the organization.
Another thing that makes us unique is that our leadership team all continues to be treating clinicians. I myself still see patients generally two mornings a week, and I feel that it’s an important way to ensure that team members at all levels do not lose touch with the day to day workflows and changes related to regulatory/compliance, etc. By continuing to treat patients, we are better aware and equipped to responds to any challenges that our team may be facing and can then move together to come to the best solution for all.
Interested in a rehabilitation services career? Get moving and apply today!
The compassionate care of Northwell’s home care providers
Our home care professionals at Northwell Health provide a comfortable and healing space for our patients and their families. We’re proud to recognize our amazing team of nurses, therapists, aides, social workers and more, who are making a difference.
Meet some of our team members in home care and learn their favorite thing about their career below:
Danielle Walker, Home Care Registered Nurse, Staten Island
As a registered nurse, Danielle provides a full range of care to her patients from educating them on their disease, providing treatment to their wounds and offering emotional support. “I love being able to provide a sense of security and calmness to a patient and their families,” says Danielle. “We provide an “extra set of eyes” and ears for the doctors so that we can continue to provide the care that they need as they return to their home.”
Steven Boym, Registered Nurse and Coordinator of Care, Northwell Health at Home
Working as a registered nurse and coordinator of care, Steven performs initial admission visits to patients for the home care program. In this role he works with physicians and colleagues in the home care interdisciplinary team, such as physical and occupation therapists and social workers to plan the patient’s course of care. “Helping patients to recover from sickness brings the most satisfaction to my work,” Steve says. “I like to assist physicians in treating patients with chronic and complex wounds. Northwell Health has helped me in becoming a certified wound care specialist.”
Thomas Onorato, Home Care Physical Therapist, New Hyde Park
As a physical therapist, Thomas plays a vital role in providing evaluations of function, teaching exercises and skills to better improve movement and activity performance for his patients. “Providing physical therapy in the home is fantastic because of the one-on-one time we spend with patients,” says Thomas. “We see directly the environment with which patients must interact and can make meaningful recommendations to facilitate successful completion of their daily tasks. We work with patients to develop flexibility, strength, balance, endurance and coordination and suggest movement strategies and environmental adaptations to help them achieve what is most important to them.”
Yvonne Foley, Home Care Registered Nurse, Westbury
Working as a registered nurse, Yvonne facilitates a safe transition from the hospital and rehab to the community. She ensures the patient is safe in the home, taking medications correctly, and educates them on their disease and symptoms. “My goal is for all my patients to achieve their maximum independence in a timely fashion,” says Yvonne. “My favorite part of home care is the variety. No two days are ever the same and I have time to develop a relationship with patients and their families. It is extremely satisfying to discharge a patient from home care, and they are able to resume their previous lifestyle.”
Join our team of compassionate home care professionals. Apply today!
Strengthening our communities and the lives of our patients with physical therapy
As October marks Physical Therapy Month, we at Northwell Health are honored to celebrate the healthcare professionals who are committed to helping patients improve movement, increase mobility, and recover from injury to live their lives to their fullest potential.
Our rehabilitation teams are staffed with licensed physical therapists who provide patients with the education, support, and motivation they need to enhance and restore functional ability. Among them is Soledad Tomasino, an experienced senior physical therapist (PT).
Having started her career in orthopedic physical therapy with Northwell a decade ago, Soledad was determined to advance her skills in ways that would lead to a rewarding and decorated career. Four years ago, she made the shift to Pelvic Health and most recently, she received her Pelvic Rehabilitation Practitioner Certification (PRPC) from Herman and Wallace, an institution that provides continued education for medical professionals seeking to improve their practice of pelvic treatment and rehabilitation.
For Soledad, seeking opportunities for growth outside of Northwell would help enhance her experience within. And with the unrelenting support of our organization, her professional growth was inevitable. At Northwell’s Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation Services (STARS) in Manhasset, Soledad’s found a positive environment that fosters togetherness amongst our employees and empowers them to be at their best. It creates an atmosphere where their personal goals and patient goals can be realized. Soledad notes, “STARS is a family, especially amongst the pelvic floor team. We’ve supported each other through many stages of life including getting married and having our own babies.”
Soledad takes on a number of responsibilities as senior PT, from mentoring newly hired Pelvic Floor therapists to participating in the development of the Pelvic Floor manual. But of the many roles she has, the one she appreciates the most is the opportunity she has to make an impact in the lives of her patients. “What I like the most about my career is to help my patients achieve their personal goals,” says Soledad. “It’s rewarding when patients tell me their therapy helped them regain their quality of life.”
Northwell thanks Soledad and all of our committed physical therapists who work tirelessly to make a difference. If you’re interested in working for an organization that specializes in rehabilitation with recovery as a top priority, get moving and apply today.
Trust, honor and dedication – All in a day’s work for physical therapist and veteran Leslie Rudin
If you had to describe members of the US military, the adjectives brave, selfless and strong probably come to mind. It’s no surprise that many who leave the service go on to equally as inspiring careers — including many who work in healthcare. This is certainly true of Leslie Rudin, a physical therapist at LIJ Valley Stream Hospital and proud US Navy veteran.
Stationed at the former Naval Air Station Miramar, widely known as the setting of the movie Top Gun, Leslie served as a plane captain, launching and landing fighter jets. Honorably discharged as a YN3 Petty Officer 3rd Class, she returned to New York and completed a bachelor’s degree at Queen’s College before launching a career in advertising.
During this time, Leslie also married and started a family. When her middle son was diagnosed with autism, she found herself drawn to pursue a new career in healthcare. Goal-oriented and never afraid to tackle a challenge, she obtained her doctorate degree in physical therapy before being hired at LIJ Valley Stream.
Leslie finds that many of the skills and habits she learned while in the military have served her well as a physical therapist.
“It started from making beds in the military,” says Leslie. “It stays with you. I’m very thorough and time-efficient. In fact, I still use military time.”
Leslie also finds that being a veteran enables her to connect in a unique way with the patients she helps every day – especially those who also have served in the armed forces. She believes that it fosters a level of trust and connection that helps her excel in her role.
“I learned respect and dignity in the military,” says Leslie. “This has carried over to how I treat patients.”
When not focusing on helping Northwell patients regain their strength, balance and mobility, Leslie continues to advocate for her son while enjoying quality time with family and friends.
Northwell Health is sponsoring Side by Side: A Celebration of Service™, a special, first-of-its-kind event honoring our veterans, active duty military and their families. This two-part event, taking place on May 25 in New York City, will feature exciting musical performances, exhibits and inspirational stories from true heroes. Learn more.
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