Archive for month: May, 2019
What happens when you pair a dedicated and compassionate Northside Hospital employee with a caring, insightful and insistent mentor? In the case of Northside’s Christie H., you get a registered nurse who is now proud to be an integral part of the Blood & Marrow Transplant Residency Program.
Christie’s story actually started in August 2000, when she joined Northside Hospital’s Environmental Services team. Unsure of where she wanted to go in her career, Christie had never even considered working in patient care. Becoming a nurse wasn’t on her radar, either.
However, there was something about being at Northside that Christie says resonated with her right away. Maybe it was her supportive and encouraging teammates and the way they treated each other. Maybe it was seeing what a huge difference we made for the patients who came through our doors.
Whatever it was eventually motivated Christie to take advantage of a CNA/Patient Care Tech training program Northside offered. Once she started, Christie was amazed at how much she enjoyed it, and how good she was at it.
She worked in the Post Anesthesia Care Unit and Labor & Delivery before making her way to BMT. She had found her calling – or so she thought.
Once in the BMT unit, Christie started working with Tricia C., a staff Nurse who has been with Northside Hospital since September 2001. Tricia became a mentor to Christie, and told her she should consider nursing school.At the time, though, Christie was happy being a CNA. She believed nursing school probably wasn’t for her. Tricia knew better, and as good mentors do, she kept gently pushing Christie toward the goal, guiding and encouraging her along the way.
“Tricia saw something in me that I didn’t see in myself,” Christie said later.
Turns out that Tricia was on to something and, soon, so was Christie. After nearly 12 years as a Patient Care Tech, Christie applied to complete her pre-requisites.
Once she finished them at Atlanta Metropolitan State College, Christie went on to Nursing school at Chamberlain College of Nursing. She graduated in 2017 and entered the BMT RN Residency Program in August 2017.
When she looks back today, Christie is somewhat amazed by her journey and thrilled she took it. She is still surrounded and motivated by caring and supportive colleagues, and she loves the impact she’s making every day. She’s also forever grateful to her mentor, Tricia.
As with any health care career, there can be tough days. The hardest part about the job for Christie is when patients have bad outcomes because, in nearly every case, Christie finds herself wishing she could do more.
In spite of that, when her shift ends and she heads home to spend time with her 2-year-old, Christie is always thankful for the people who make the Northside Difference – and the difference they’ve made in her life.
For Northside Hospital Bone Marrow Transplant Nurse La-Vonnie H., being great at what she does requires more than just a focused individual effort. It requires the encouragement and backing of a solid support team. Which is exactly what she’s found at Northside Hospital.
“We have the support here,” said La-Vonnie, who joined the BMT unit at Northside Hospital in July 2018 as part of our Experienced Registered Nurse Internship program. “We have the guidance, mentorship and the support to make you great.”
At Northside, greatness is what we strive for. It’s a goal we aim to reach together because it opens new doors in the careers of our team members – and it also means better outcomes for the patients we care for.
For nurses like La-Vonnie, the Experienced RN Intern program is providing that crucial first step toward the goal of greatness – and it’s already made a difference.
“They’ve provided a great experience during nurse internship,” La-Vonnie said. “A lot of hospitals don’t do that. They really catered to my specialty. There’s support from all over the hospital, from clinicians, managers, other nurses. I’ve seen how long nurses stay here, it inspires me to do the same.”.
That kind of inspiration goes a long way, and to La-Vonnie, it’s one of the things that make up the “Northside Difference.”“We’re a big unit but we’re very close despite our size,” she says of her BMT colleagues. “There are the same doctors who come into our unit every time and that consistency helps with patient experience and with that, our employee experience.”
That closeness and spirit of teamwork are also among the things that set us apart and make Northside such a great place to work, according to La-Vonnie.
“My favorite part is being able to interact with my patients and my colleagues,” she said. “Going to work and having that support. We’re so team-oriented and have amazing camaraderie.”
Although she’s been with us less than a year, La-Vonnie has already seen what it takes to succeed in the Northside Family. She offers this advice to those who want to join her. “You need to be willing to put in the work and be at a place where you’re going to work hard, and excel and put that time in,” she said. “Don’t give up if you don’t hear back the first time.
“It requires dedication,” she continued. “If you aren’t dedicated to excel as a person, you won’t succeed here.”
La-Vonnie has already shown her willingness and dedication, and she knows what a difference the intern program can make – and is already making – in advancing her nursing career. “I feel blessed to be here and to be a part of such a highly recognized team,” she said. “Northside has such esteem, it is the best.”
Northside Hospital Environmental Services Tech Stephan V. knows that his interactions with patients can have just as much impact as those of any doctor or nurse. And he proved that recently with a patient who was being treated for leukemia in Northside’s BMT unit. Stephan’s natural gift for kindness and optimism left an impression on the woman and her family that won’t ever be forgotten.
Check out this excerpt from a letter written by Angie L., the patient’s daughter:
“I first met Stephan in April 2016 when my mom was diagnosed with leukemia,” she wrote. “It was such a scary time for us. Stephan walked in the room and provided a true breath of fresh air. His sense of humor was so comforting and his positive attitude is incredible!”
This is high praise indeed and shows what impact a simple smile and upbeat demeanor can have, especially for those patients and their families who are facing a difficult journey. Stephan, like so many other Northsiders, has an innate ability to make those around them feel better.
It’s a skill that’s apparent to Stephan’s boss, Monique J.
“It goes to show that our staff are more than EVS Techs,” she wrote after seeing Angie’s letter. “The care and kindheartedness that they provide to our patients goes a long way and it can be quite memorable for the families.”
When caring is genuine, people know it. Although Angie’s mother sadly succumbed to her disease in January, Stephan’s kindness was a lasting gift for her and her family.
“Of all of the people that she wanted to recognize before she died, Stephan was one of them,” Angie wrote. “I can’t explain how much he meant to us over the long journey. Northside Hospital is so lucky to have Stephan.”
We are lucky to have Stephan, and thousands of others just like him, in the Northside family. They realize that what they do every day – and how they do it – can make a world of difference!
For many Northside patients, one of the first faces they see belongs to Marckeith D. or a member of his team.
As a Financial Counseling Supervisor at the Atlanta campus, Marckeith and the people he manages are responsible for getting the patient experience off on the right foot. After six years with Northside, Marckeith is confident his team is making a difference.
“We are the meat and potatoes of the hospital,” Marckeith says. “We are here to assist patients who may have financial difficulties. We’re the brain trust and problem-solvers identifying where we can best help patients.”
For Marckeith and his staff, the basics of the job are “registering patients, getting all the patients demographic and insurance information and trying to make a successful collection of whatever the patient’s responsibility for payment is.”
It’s important ground floor work that must be handled with care, compassion, and precision. “Our main goal (outside of safety and excellence) is brainstorming how we can help patients who are having financial difficulties,” Marckeith said. “We’re here to give options to our patients.”
Taking care of patients comes easily to Marckeith because he is proud to be part of the Northside family and everything it represents.
“It’s a phenomenal feeling,” he said. “Northside didn’t become the number one employer in the Southeast by mistake. Northside puts their patients first in everything. Northside also takes care of its employees, not only from a financial perspective, but a compassion and care perspective.”
Taking care of employees has a trickle-down effect that directly impacts patients and helps create what Marckeith sees as “The Northside Difference.”
“We pride ourselves on giving each patient and their families service excellence,” Marckeith said. “We listen to their concerns, and their health comes first and foremost. We want to make sure that the patient is taken care of and comfortable and that their families are comfortable.
“We have a great clinical staff, the nurses, physicians, and techs. Northside employees will always put a patient’s safety above all.”
For those looking to join the Northside family in any capacity, Marckeith says it’s key that they be ready to perform at a high level from the first day.
“Research the company!” he said. “See if you have what it takes to be a Northside employee – are you committed to excellence? Are you committed to ensuring each patient and their family has a pleasurable experience? We want to make sure that the experience here is different than any other hospital experience they have had.”
Marckeith says those applying to Northside also need to be comfortable working as part of a team.
“Definitely, if you’re not a team player, you should not apply!” he said. “Northside is all about teamwork. You should have a drive and determination to succeed, and be able to accept constructive feedback and apply it in your daily job, until you become an expert at it.”
Once you’re working at Northside, Marckeith says you can expect to challenged, empowered and supported – just as he has been throughout his career journey here.
“Northside is different than any employer I’ve ever worked for,” he said. “The leadership here has really taken the time to prepare me for my current role and others that I may apply for in the future. Northside takes very seriously the education of its employees to ensure that we are knowledgeable and capable to execute our job responsibilities precisely.”
As a team leader and supervisor, Marckeith has learned to appreciate and respect those he works with. In fact, he says his teammates are his favorite thing about working at Northside.
“That’s the God honest truth,” he said. “I love my employees! I will work hard for them, because the harder I work for them, the harder they work for me! I’ve never worked anywhere where I have cared this much about my staff.”
When he looks toward his future at Northside, Marckeith says he is content with the path he is following. “I see that there are areas and opportunities for growth,” he said.
In fact, Marckeith says there is very little that could tear him away from his team at Northside. “There is absolutely no way that I’m leaving Northside Hospital – unless I go to the U.S. Senate in 2022!” Marckeith said. “That’s just how good Northside has been to me – I have never enjoyed working somewhere like I do working at Northside.”
Cardiac Cath Lab Nurse Tawana W. started at Northside Hospital six years ago as a Cath Lab intern – with 20 years of nursing experience.
It may sound crazy, but Northside’s Cath Lab intern training program was exactly what Tawana was looking for. After nearly two decades of nursing experience, our program offered her the chance to build a new skill set.
“In order to do what I’m doing, you need specialized training and in this day and time, hospitals usually want people who already have experience,” she said. “But Northside was looking for nurses with a critical care background that had a desire to learn Cath Lab. I thought I could get the training I needed, and I did.”
Tawana, who is often told she’s an “adrenaline junkie,” wanted to take her nursing career in a different direction.
“I started out in critical care ICU, and I’ve had numerous jobs during my nursing career,” she said. “I wanted to branch out. After doing ICU – I’ve done ICU, burns, medical ICU, a lot – I figured the best step for me would be the Cardiac Cath Lab.”
Today, Tawana believes she got everything she came for at Northside Hospital.
“I feel like I am among the best!” Tawana said. “We have a strong team, we have strong leadership, I feel like they are very supportive of their staff. The people that I work with are very family-oriented and supportive of each other. It’s the best environment and setting for me at this point in my career.”
Tawana says that anyone who wants to join the Northside family shouldn’t forget about non-traditional approaches to getting here. The willingness to do something a bit different, mixed with a dash of perseverance, can work wonders.
“See what opportunities there are for internship and training,” she said. “Northside has requirements, and you need to understand and learn what the Northside expectation is. And don’t give up! If it doesn’t happen, find out why, improve, and then reapply.”
It will be worth it! Northside, Tawana says, is a special place.
“It’s a great environment to work in! It’s a growing, progressive hospital that’s branching out into other areas. The education, the training initiatives that they have in place…it’s all around a good hospital to work for. I have no regrets!”
After six years working with us, Tawana knows what works at Northside – and also what doesn’t.
“You have to be open-minded and receptive to training when you are learning a job – you have to be able to receive direction without having your feelings hurt,” she said. “People who usually don’t succeed aren’t open-minded or receptive to change, which is especially important in today’s environment where things change so fast.”
Although she sees herself as an older, seasoned nurse, Tawana is still excited about her future at Northside and the opportunities working here could create.
“From my standpoint, I see myself either branching out into leadership or education,” she said. “I used to work on the industry side doing education, so the options are open! I just have to see which direction I want to go. Northside encourages you to get advanced degrees as well, so that’s a strong option for me as well.”
Whatever her next step, Tawana is happy to be where she is and doing what she’s doing right now.
“I like the leadership in the cardiology department, from the VP to the director all the way to my clinical coordinator,” she said. “You know what, I enjoy going to work! When you enjoy who you work with, It makes a difference, I’ve been in environments where you get up and you dread going to work – and I don’t feel like that at Northside. I work with a very excellent team.”
A little kindness can go a long way. While that’s true anywhere, it’s especially true when it comes to working in healthcare. Sometimes, the simplest gesture can mean so much to a patient or a co-worker.
That’s why we’ve decided to start a “Kindness Revolution” at Northside Hospital Forsyth, because we want to recognize and celebrate the tenderness and caring of all the members of the Northside Family.
Our “Caught in the Act of Kindness” campaign allows employees to single out and salute those who routinely go above and beyond every day and make working here more than just a job.
The nominees will get a special certificate, a T-shirt and a pin as they are honored by their supervisors. The certificates will be placed on each department’s “Kindness Bulletin Board” and their names also will be featured on the TV screens near the cafeteria. As a finale, our kindness winners will be recognized at the Patient Experience Awards in May.
Nurse Sarah H. was “caught in the act” of helping a patient celebrate her 96th birthday. Sarah had balloons sent to the room and helped lead the staff in singing “Happy Birthday” for the patient, who tearfully clapped along. It was an amazing moment of kindness.
Dr. Wayne A. of the GI Lab singled out the kindness and compassion of Dacella R., calling her “an amazing asset to the team,” while Jae B. singled out co-worker Buddy C. for not only noticing that her car license plate was about to fall off, but fixing it for her, too!
The acts of kindness aren’t limited to one unit. Oncology Nurse Bailey R. asked some of her teacher friends to have students make Valentine’s Day cards for our Oncology patients. The kids did an amazing job and we had enough cards for every patient – all of whom were touched by the sweet gesture. The cards really brightened their day.
We are aware that kindness is a choice, and we’re proud to know that so many Northsiders make it their first choice in almost any situation. It’s one of the fundamental things that sets members of the Northside family apart every day – and one of the main reasons we’ve chosen them to be on the front lines of our Kindness Revolution.
For Patricia T., working at Northside Hospital means excelling at innovating.
Patricia, administrative director of our Heart and Vascular Institute, is an integral part of the Northside team that was recently honored with the TCAR Award, recognizing us as a center of excellence for the revolutionary transcarotid artery revascularization technique (TCAR).
This state-of-the-art, minimally invasive procedure helps treat plaque in the carotid artery, which could cause a stroke if left alone. TCAR also allows for the treatment of more patients, including those that previously would have been deemed too risky for surgical intervention.
“You don’t have to have an open surgical procedure, you can help patients avoid stroke without even being under anesthesia, and they can go home the next day,” says Patricia. “Older, sicker patients can actually be treated safer, and with fewer complications. We couldn’t even imagine this years ago!”
Patricia says that at Northside, medical innovations are quickly incorporated into patient treatment, thanks to forward-thinking doctors, nurses and hospital leadership. She credits Dr. Siddharth Patel with being a particular champion of TCAR.
“He had the insight to see that this technique had a huge potential for older and/or high-risk patients,” she said. “He was the one who led our calling to it, and he has been the one out educating the public and primary care physicians about the benefits of this procedure.”
Patricia says one reason Northside earned the award was because of the high number of patients it has treated using TCAR – and the high quality of their outcomes.
“What’s so nice about this technique is that previously, not all patients could have a carotid procedure because they were at high risk for stroke,” Patricia said. “In the past, the answer was surgery, and the next innovation was stent placement via the femoral artery. But for older patients, it was still high risk. TCAR allows us to do this without even putting some patients under general anesthesia.”
Making such an innovative approach commonplace is just one more way Northside sets itself apart from many other health systems. It also showcases how teamwork focused on patient care continually drives us forward, and makes Northside such a special place to build a career.
“What you see on our social media pages is true about the environment here – there is a huge sense of collaboration at Northside,” Patricia says. “The focus on the quality of patient care and patient experience makes it a great culture. We can grow our program and focus on patient care and experience, which makes it a unique place to work. As a consultant in my past jobs, I experienced many different health systems across the country. When I came to Northside, I immediately noticed a difference in the environment.”
For Patricia, collaboration, empowerment and a willingness to listen to team members are all hallmarks of the “Northside Difference.”
“It is a culture that is focused on quality of care and patient experience. It really makes you proud,” she said. “The sense of family, too…if you have ever walked the halls here, there really is a sense of teamwork. When I first came here, it was noticeable – everyone was smiling, and happy, people were helping families and going out of their way – it was like, ‘is this for real?’ But six years later, I can tell you, it’s real!”
Giving employees the tools, training, and technology they need to succeed helps Northside build a strong foundation of support. For Patricia, however, that combination really works because of the team of people we’ve assembled here.
“The employees who work at the heart and vascular institute are genuinely great individuals, they care for their patients, they’re highly trained,” she said. “I know that patients are getting great care, I know our operations are being run well, I know our staff members are caring to patients and their families. It allows me to focus on the growth of the program.”
As she focuses on the growth of her programs, Patricia also is focusing on the growth of her career. It has her excited about what’s on the horizon because she’ll be “continually looking for what is next in cardiovascular patient care, and the procedures that we will offer to our patients. These techniques are innovative, and we’ll keep preparing ourselves for the next ones that will provide expert care for our patients in the future.”
From compassionate coworkers to supportive leadership, the Northside Difference means many things to experienced Oncology Nurse Megan McCoy. And it has since she began her career with us.
“Northside is where I started as a nurse, it’s where I’ve grown and developed into the nurse I am today,” Megan said. “It really is a home for me to be a part of my unit and continue working there and developing the staff around me, so we can have a really awesome team.”
Teamwork is one of the foundations that Northside Hospital careers are built on. For Megan, it’s something that sets us apart from many other health systems. Collaboration makes a big difference for her every day and keeps her engaged and empowered.
“I really love the people that I work with,” she said. “That’s a big part of why I’ve never tried to leave my floor or work anywhere else – the people are awesome! It’s an awesome team environment, being around them is awesome, even on the bad days.”
“Bad days” can come with the territory when you work in Oncology, Megan says. The distinguished cancer programs at Northside are first rate and change lives for our patients, but the disease is still a formidable enemy.
“Anyone wanting to work in the field of oncology needs to know that it takes special people,” says Megan. “You have to have a really big heart, and there are really challenging days. But the people I work with know how to make you laugh even when you want to cry, and can put a smile on your face. It can be heartbreaking at times, but the fulfillment of working in oncology is worth any bad days.”
Career fulfillment is another key component of the Northside Difference. We’re working hard to build the kind of inclusive workplace that allows our diverse team to flourish. That’s one of the reasons feedback from Northside employees helped land us on the 2018 Glassdoor Best Places To Work list and Comparably’s 2018 list of Best Companies for Women.
For Megan, the support provided by her supervisors and colleagues has helped shape a career path she is proud of.
“From being in a residency as a young nurse, they have helped develop me into becoming a preceptor, training new staff members, they’ve given me opportunities to learn about my specialty,” Megan said. “Anytime I’m looking for a new challenge, they’ve provided me with opportunities with different teams and ways to get involved or be engaged. You’re never bored, and there are lots of opportunities to grow and learn. I recently became a supervisor with my unit, which I have been with since I started at Northside. That really is a tribute to the leadership and opportunities here.”
For those who are looking to starting the new year with a new career at Northside, Megan has some advice.
“Northside has high expectations, so you have to be willing to be on your A-game,” she said. “Everyone is there for you and wants you to grow as an individual, but they also expect the best – that is why we have the reputation we do.”
For those who get called in for an interview with a recruiter or hiring manager, Megan advises that a little enthusiasm can go a long way.
“Just showcase that it’s a place that you really want to be!” she said. “You know that Northside’s reputation precedes itself, and if you can show that you’re an employee who will work hard and build up your team members, then you will fit right in and do well.”
Who wouldn’t do well at Northside? Based on her experience, Megan has some ideas about that, too.
“I think anyone can succeed, but you have to have the right attitude and be flexible and willing to adapt to different challenges,” she said. “Healthcare can be a challenging field, but Northside provides all the resources you need to be successful.”
Those resources will support Megan as she moves forward in her Northside career, something she is already excited about.
“I’m looking forward to my development as a leader for my unit and within the hospital,” she said. “Helping to empower our team on the oncology unit, and continue to see the growth and positive change that I’ve seen over the last four years and make our unit a place that everyone wants to be.”
A place everyone wants to be. A place where employees are valued and empowered. A place where opportunity is everywhere. That’s the Northside Difference.
As 2019 begins, many of us at Northside Hospital are focused on opportunities to improve our skills and our careers. Continuous growth is always encouraged here and everyone is empowered to develop their abilities so they can improve life for our patients as they fulfill their own potential.
With that in mind, some of our team members have set down some career-related resolutions for the coming year with an emphasis on getting better at what they do.
Brieyana M., who works in pre-registration, plans to improve her networking skills and become a Certified Professional Coder. Eboni R., who also works in pre-registration, is setting her sights on continuing to “learn and grow in my new position.”
Like Brieyana, many others are aiming to bolster their professional education. Northside Nurse Dorothy U. wants to keep working on her nursing Ph.D., while her colleague Diana N. wants to become an Oncology Certified Nurse.
Operations Coordinator Tracy W. plans to complete a Ph.D. this year, and Nicole L., who works in the front office, says she wants to finish her “bachelors in Healthcare Administration and hopefully advance my career to a Coordinator.”
Beside education, the Northside community spirit also is evident in the resolutions of our team members.
Markeia W. from radiology pre-registration says her goal this year is simply to “help others,” and Front Office Coordinator Euwonna J.’s resolution includes “volunteering at community events.”
Because caring for patients is the foundation of everything we do, several Northsiders have made that the focal point of their 2019 goals, with Manager Melissa S. saying that she simply wants to “improve patient experience.”
Whether it’s learning new skills, getting a sought-after certification or doing more volunteer work, the Northside Family is excited about the all the opportunities they will have in 2019 to build their careers while working to make our community a better, healthier place.
This has been a great holiday season so far for all of us at Northside Hospital! First came the news that we ended up making the 2018 Glassdoor list of Best Places to Work. Now, we’ve learned that Northside Hospital has just made the 2018 list of Best Companies for Women as compiled by Comparably, a culture, compensation and career monitoring website.
We’re humbled by both honors, even more so because they are based on feedback from our team members. Landing on the Comparably list is especially gratifying because Northside has for years been a leader in creating a supportive culture where women can grow, thrive and advance to leadership positions.
The Comparably list took into account the roles occupied by women in companies, said Comparably CEO Jason Nazar.
“The single biggest thing that’s driving inclusiveness for women is having more women in positions of management and leadership,” Nazar told USA Today in an article about the award.
Compensation for women was another key factor in putting the list together. Nazar said Comparably looked for companies whose employees believe “spend the time and effort to make sure they are closing the gender pay gap.”
As proud as we all are of the recent honors, our employees know that Northside is not a health system that will rest on its laurels. Instead, we’ll use these awards as springboards to build an even more inclusive and dynamic workplace that gives all our team members the chance to reach their full potentials and build the best careers possible!