2005-05-06 / Columnists

On The Beach

With Beverly Baxter PHC Nurses: Taking The Pulse Of The Community

With Beverly Baxter
PHC Nurses: Taking The Pulse Of The Community

BEVERLY BAXTERBEVERLY BAXTER As we are about to celebrate Mother’s Day this Sunday, I think it truly appropriate that the month of May also marks a time when we pay tribute to the Nurses at Peninsula Hospital Center. You are warmly invited to attend the PHC Annual Spring Luncheon on May 11 at Russo’s-on-the-Bay. Call Liz Sulik for details on how you may attend and applaud the Nursing Staff is always there....taking the pulse of our community.

Of course, not all Nurses are mothers nor are they even all women for that matter; but, like mothers, they are care-givers who have chosen to dedicate their professional lives to tending to our health care needs. They are truly an extraordinary breed as you will find in my discussion with some of the Nurse Managers who preside over the talented Nursing Staff at PHC. They are the unsung heroes of the hospital; yet they are the ones who make consummate life and death decisions. In addition to overseeing large staffs, they are responsible for how the unit operates, how it acts, and functions. They must have managerial skills as well as technological skills.

Among those nurses with exceptional talent and experience are:

JANET MCGOWAN: TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY AND PEDIATRICS

Janet has been Nurse Manager for both the Pediatric Angels-on-the-Bay and Traumatic Brain Injury Units at PHC for the past four years. She began her Nursing career at PHC as a Nursing student through the Ladders in Nursing program which helped her to obtain her RN degree through the New York State External Degree Program. She then became a nurse and was promoted, over the years, to her current position as Nurse Manager. We spoke about how the Traumatic Brain Injury Unit, from a Nursing perspective, differs from other units. “Patients on the TBI Unit are generally there for a period of time. Patients who suffer brain injury are the ‘walking wounded.’ Their treatment relies upon a multidisciplinary approach that incorporates Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, and Speech. When a Patient has suffered brain injury, there is also an entire role re-adjustment in the family. For example, the patient may be the one who has solely handled the financial affairs or the balancing of the checkbook for the household and who is now unable to perform these tasks. The whole family dynamic shifts with spouses assuming different responsibilities. The family is an integral part of the patient’s recovery and just as important.” Janet has a staff of twenty-four employees who work to provide the best possible care. “We don’t ask our Nurses to do anything that we wouldn’t do or haven’t done ourselves. We’re with our staff on the frontlines. This is really the management style of the entire hospital. Nurse Managers are the liason between Nurses and Administration who carry down the expectations from Management.”

Janet McGowan is among the many health care professionals at PHC who reside in Rockaway. “This is my home. It’s where I go to church. It’s my community. I have a vested interest in the hospital as a member of its staff as well as a potential patient. I have worked at no other hospital.”

MARILYN RIVIERE: NURSE

MANAGER (2 NORTH)

Presiding over the largest Medical Surgical Unit in the hospital with thirty-eight beds and a Nursing staff of thirty-three employees is Marilyn Riviere. Marilyn graduated from SUNY Downstate in Brooklyn and has been a Nurse Manager for nearly two years. She began her career at Downstate and also worked for the Department of Health. Although Marilyn does not reside on the peninsula, there are many on her staff who do. “There is a definite advantage that the patient as well as the Nurse has when we treat our neighbors. We know them. They know us from activities outside the hospital.” Marilyn’s unit treats patients with illnesses such as Diabetes, Congestive Heart Failure, and Renal Failure. “We are involved with the Diabetes Support Group which is a big service to the community.

CHARIS NICHOLSON: NURSE

MANAGER (4 EAST)

   Charis joined the hospital team sixteen years ago and was newly promoted as Nurse Manager presiding over a 34 bed unit with a staff of 32. She came to the United States from Guyana. “Sixteen years ago I came from Guyana and settled in Rockaway. I was certified here first as a LPN and then as a RN. I started at PHC as a Nursing Assistant and was promoted through the hospital.” Ms. Nicholson’s unit is also a Medical Surgical Unit treating Geriatric, Renal, Oncology, Radiation Treatments, Diabetes, and Hypertension. “We also have a Respiratory Isolation area for patients suffering from contagious diseases like Tuberculosis and Menengitis.” Charis and her husband reside in Brentwood Long Island. She has a daughter who attends Law School at SUNY- Stony Brook, a son who is a LPN, and another daughter who is an honor student at East Brentwood Middle School. 

ALEXIS WILLIAMS: NURSE

MANAGER (3 NORTH)

 A graduate of the St. Vincent’s School of Nursing, with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Political Science, Alexis brings multidisciplinary talents to her job as Nurse Manager of the Surgical Unit on 3 North, a thirty bed unit with thirty-one Nursing staff. She first came to PHC in 1999 as a Staff Nurse. She was promoted to Assistant Head Nurse and then as Nurse Manager in 2002. She resides in Valley Stream. “When you work in the Healthcare field, it is so important to bring to your job a positive joyful attitude. It helps the patients in their own recovery when the staff enjoy what they do and enjoy each other. It enables us to better serve the hospital population and fosters good relationships with the patients and their families. Most of our Nurses are seasoned in various ways. We come from different backgrounds and we bring these experiences to our jobs. It helps enhance what we learn from each other.

EUN MI KIM: NURSE MANAGER INTENSIVE CARE AND CORONARY CARE UNITS

Eun Mi Kim, who hails from Korea and has a PHD, has made phenomenal contributions to the critical care units of the hospital where she has worked for over twenty-five years. She is responsible for the most critically ill of the hospital population, making pivitol life and death decisions. She has the utmost respect of both the Nursing Staff and Doctors who regard her with a kind of awe. 

 According to Georgia Briss, Vice President of Nursing, “These extraordinary women comprise of our Nurse Management team. They are the backbone of the hospital. For some, PHC has been where they started their careers and where they have remained. They are truly a hands-on management team who are very supportive of their staff. Because our scope at the hospital has been mostly Geriatric, it takes a special kind of person to tend to and take care of the needs of people who are approaching the end of their lives. I am very proud of them.” Liz Sulik, Director of External Affairs, adds.

***Mary Dever Kelly will be hosting the fifth annual Grieving A Loss Retreat at St. Paul’s Church on May 20, 21, and 22nd.. Mary reminds our readers that with regard to the loss of a loved one, she has “walked the walk so she can talk the talk”. Contact Maureen at 718.229.8001 for more details.

***See you...On the Beach!    

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