Good Samaritan Hospital’s Chief Nursing Officer in Dual Role
“I’ve had an absolutely amazing career. I’ve been given amazing opportunities. I’m very blessed,” said Edelstein. “I love working in a faith-based organization. I feel it sets us apart and reminds us of why we are doing what we are doing. I am fortunate to work with a great team, and I look forward to my future here.”
Edelstein, who began her career with St. John’s Episcopal Hospital in Far Rockaway as assistant director of nursing, joined St. Francis Hospital as director for performance improvement, quality management, in the Heart Center in 2000. In 2002, she joined St. Catherine of Siena Medical Center as assistant vice president for nursing and in 2004 was promoted to senior vice president, patient care services/chief nursing officer. She spent the next six years in that position, until being promoted to chief operating officer/chief nursing officer in 2010. That is where she remained until being tapped for the CNO position at Good Samaritan.
She says a “typical day is that there is no typical day. This is a 24-hour, 7-day-a-week position that takes me in all directions and in which I make lots and lots of decisions.” She cites the numerous issues she deals with on a day-to-day basis, which includes bringing the professionals that work at the hospital together to solve problems and improve patient care. She does that by participating in interdisciplinary committees, working with nurse managers and nursing directors, resolving human resources issues, dealing with budget issues and equipment needs.
Edelstein says however, that her focus remains on patient care. “I can’t take my eye off the patient. As the CNO, I am responsible for the clinical care that is provided. I take that very seriously. I have a wonderful team of nursing professionals who do an amazing job every day.”
Edelstein says the complexities of health care today create another dimension to patient care, making it necessary to continually weigh priorities. “We are all facing the same issues: staffing, finding experienced nurses, implementing legislation. The struggles are the same for every CNO. It’s the same issues, just different hospitals. You have to constantly bring people back to what’s best for the patient,” she added.
Being part of the senior leadership team, Edelstein has a seat at the table; a fact she says is crucial in her role. “I am at the table where critical decisions are being made. I’ve been welcomed at that table so my voice for nursing is heard. I’m part of that team.”
Edelstein says her favorite part of the job is making rounds, meeting staff, getting to know them and actually helping them to get what they need to provide the best patient care, whatever that entails. It’s spending time on the units. “A lot of times I say to myself I’ve got to get up and walk out that administrative door so I remember why I’m here. When you are a staff nurse you take care of patients so you get immediate gratification of helping them get well. The further you get on the nursing career ladder, the further away you get from the bedside. You have to constantly remind yourself of that patient, how do you get back to that patient? That’s why I love making rounds. That’s my favorite part, and it always will be.”
Photo: Gara Edelstein, RN, MSN, is chief nursing officer for Catholic Health Services and Good Samaritan Hospital.