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Nurses influence ED renovations

NuHealth System President and CEO Arthur Gianelli addressed board members, staff, community members and supporters at a May 23 ribbon-cutting ceremony for Nassau University Medical Center’s new state-of-the-art ED in East Meadow, N.Y.

The $36 million ED was made possible through a Healthcare Efficiency and Affordability Law for New Yorkers grant and supporters of the NuHealth Foundation. It boasts 32 treatment bays, two large trauma rooms that can double as OR suites, a pediatric emergency area and the latest in diagnostic imaging equipment.

“Our nurses were working in such a confined space in the old ER,” Gianelli said. “Now they don’t have to.” The new ED is a spacious 40,000 square feet of clean lines and brightly colored walls. With four nursing stations and an internal triage station for ambulance arrivals, the ED nursing staff needed to be increased, said Kathy Skarka, RN, MSN, CNA, senior vice president for patient care services and CNO. “We were able to hire 33 more full-time employees,” she said. “Now our ED nursing staff totals about a hundred.”

Skarka said the nursing staff was involved in the ED’s design from the beginning. “Nursing representatives included an assistant head nurse, a nurse manager and director,” she said. “They obtained input from the nursing staff and took it back to the interdisciplinary team.”

The result is an ED that not only works for the staff but also offers the latest in medical technology and patient services. With the acquisition of a 320-slice CT scanner, the ED can provide the clearest and most detailed diagnostic images available on Long Island.

In addition to the glass-enclosed treatment rooms, the ED includes a lab for point-of-care testing, a decontamination room, a crisis intervention center for sexual assault nurse examiner examinations and training and an EMT lounge. The large trauma rooms can double as ORs, and each has its own scrub station.

“Our old trauma room was just a little larger than a patient room,” said Karen McGlynn, RN, DNP, CNA, BC, deputy CNO. “We can even do surgery here if we have to.”

The ED nurses love the new space. “I’m looking forward to working in this new environment,” said staff nurse John Candela, RN, who, along with colleagues, Doreen Saws, RN, assistant nurse manager, and Darlene Carlstrom, RN, attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Carlstrom and Saws also were excited to begin caring for patients when the ED opened June 1. “This new ED is state of the art and a big upgrade from where we were,” Saws said. “It’s well overdue.”

The former ED was on the ground floor of the medical center, below the new space, and staff had to endure flooding and other construction problems during building, Candela said. “We definitely had growing pains,” Carlstrom said.

ED staff nurses include, from left, Doreen Saws, RN, assistant nurse manager; Darlene Carlstrom, RN; and John Candela, RN.

The original ED is getting an overhaul, as well. The new space will include an adult and pediatric fast-track care center with a goal to treat patients within a half hour of arrival, and separate areas for corrections facility patients and emergency psychiatric care. Renovations are expected to be complete by the end of the year.

Skarka believes the new spaces will be a boon for Nassau County residents, which will help improve their opinion of NUMC. “An increase in patient satisfaction is an increase for our reputation,” she said.

Editor’s note: For photos of the renovation, visit

By | 2020-04-15T13:12:56-04:00 June 27th, 2011|Categories: New York/New Jersey Metro, Regional|0 Comments

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