Event brings students and NYC-area hospitals together
Nursing students connect with alumni and potential future employers
“College-in-the-Woods,” said Irene Macyk, as she walked into a conference room at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City on Jan. 10. Immediately, dozens of Binghamton University Decker School of Nursing (DSON) students cheered.
Macyk is associate executive director and chief nursing officer of Lenox Hill Hospital, Lenox Health Greenwich Village and the Manhattan Eye, Ear and Throat Hospital. She spent three years at Binghamton University’s Harpur College of Arts and Sciences studying physics, and her son, Mark, is a 2008 Harpur graduate.
As Macyk reminisced about her time on campus, she quickly formed a bond with the junior and senior nursing students who attended the event, one of three employer visits the DSON arranged as part of the University’s Binghamton in the City program.
Employer visits were also held at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City on Jan. 7 and at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, N.Y., on Jan. 8. In all, more than 100 students took part in the visits; some students participated in more than one session. Additionally, 40 Binghamton students were invited to attend the Golden Ticket Nursing Showcase, a special event held by Northwell Health, the hospital system to which Lenox Hill and North Shore University hospitals belong (along with 21 other hospitals, 600-plus outpatient facilities and nearly 15,000 affiliated physicians).
The fact that Macyk has a “kinship with Binghamton” isn’t the reason Northwell Health is a longtime participant in the visit program, nor why the organization employs more than 40 Decker graduates as registered nurses, nurse managers, nursing directors and nurse practitioners.
“Decker is one of the top universities for nursing in the northeast and we want Decker students to join our family once they graduate,” Macyk said. “We want the best.”
“I like that Decker students are critical thinkers. I like that they’re confident to ask questions. I like the depth of their projects and that those projects are evidence based,” Macyk said. “I’m really trying to grow a scholarly footprint in my nurses. I want them to be thinking of where the best evidence is and I want them to be able to mount a good process improvement with that best evidence,” she added.
During Macyk’s presentation, students learned about the organization’s nursing-education programs, which include externships, fellowships and residencies; the system’s orientation program for new nurses, which combines a four-day workshop, weekly simulation training and a nursing preceptorship that continues until the new nurse demonstrates readiness to work independently; and the system’s recruitment process.
Macyk hopes the students who attended learned that Lenox Hill is an academic, tertiary medical center with a community-hospital feel. A hospital that is moving steadily toward obtaining magnet status (an award given by the American Nurses’ Credentialing Center to hospitals based on the quality of their nursing care). But that’s not all.
“I hope the students see that nursing is an equal partner respected in the organization and that our input is crucial to driving changes in healthcare and keeping the humanistic perspective,” she said. “I hope they feel that nursing is a profession of pride in this organization — a career that you want to start in, grow in and stay in.”
The final presentation of the Lenox Hill visit before students were broken into small groups to tour several units was a question-and-answer session featuring Decker alumni who work at the hospital. The panelists were: Maryann Gormley ’15; Shawana Henry ’02; Isabel Roitman ’10; Joshua Segovia ’18; and Cassidy Toben ’11.
Segovia is a registered nurse on the Cardiothoracic Intensive Care Unit and a critical-care fellow. Between his junior and senior years, he secured one of Lenox Hill’s coveted summer externships (only 10 students are selected from across all applicants). He worked a 12-hour shift three days a week in the Emergency Department, helping his nurse preceptor provide patient care.
“More than just skills, I learned how to think critically and to always anticipate the client’s condition,” he said.
At the end of the externship, Segovia presented a project to senior staff members at Lenox Hill. “The experience helped me be more prepared for my senior-year rotations and final projects,” he added.
Segovia believes “the Decker School gives you all the tools needed to succeed.” However, he encourages students “to become opportunity seekers and actively search for new challenges inside and outside the classroom.” He said this sets students apart from their peers.
Toni Barbarino from Kings Park, N.Y., a senior student in the traditional nursing program, is doing just that. She went to all three employer visits plus the Northwell Golden Ticket event, which she presented at.
“The most important thing I gained from participating [in the employer visits] was being able to network with potential employers, who I would not have had the ability to meet without these visits,” she said. “I was able to learn what qualities these organizations are looking for in a nurse and I was able to talk to Binghamton alumni who are working at these sites and were in our shoes.”
This was Barbarino’s second year participating in the visit program. In addition, she completed a summer externship in 2018 in the operating room (OR) at North Shore University Hospital, where she spent eight weeks working full-time alongside a nurse preceptor and participating as part of the OR team.
“That opportunity allowed me to present at this year’s Golden Ticket Nursing Showcase in the perioperative information session on patient advocacy in the OR in front of students and Northwell personnel,” Barbarino said. “I have these visits to thank for all the connections made and opportunities offered in my short nursing career so far.”
Fellow senior nursing student Snawing Alvarado participated in the Lenox Hill employer visit. He said it helped him take the next step in his application process.
“It is very scary applying to [nursing] positions because you don’t know what the hiring managers expect,” Alvarado said. “One of the most important things I gained from the Lenox Hill visit was seeing what goes on behind the scenes of the hiring process. I was also able to get an inside look into the Lennox Hill work environment and had the opportunity to interact with nurses and nurse managers and hear their positive experiences with the hospital.”
Alvarado added: “I feel like I now have all the necessary tools in order to stand out in my application. They gave extremely helpful tips about how to create a great résumé and how to interview effectively.”
Held each January, Binghamton in the City is a series of special events for students. There are also programs for potential students, alumni and parents. Most offerings take place in Manhattan and the Metro New York area to accommodate the large number of Binghamton students and potential students from this region.