A nurse for more than 30 years, Gara Edelstein, RN, MSN, continues to be a key figure in nursing administration in the Long Island community. Newly appointed as the first CNO of the Catholic Health Services of Long Island, Edelstein has been charged with steering the direction of nursing for CHS of Long Island’s six hospitals, three nursing homes, home care and hospice network and community-based agency for persons with special needs.
A key feature of this newest venture, Edelstein said, is the opportunity to work more closely with chief nurses throughout the system.
“As the first CNO of the health system, my goal is to be the facilitator of a CNO forum, to pull us all together to the table to brainstorm,” she said. “We already meet on a regular basis, but in this role I’ll be able to pull us all together even more.”
Edelstein is no stranger to the Catholic Health Services. She has served in nursing leadership roles at St. Catherine’s of Sienna since 2002. In addition to her appointment as CNO of the health system, Edelstein will continue her duties at St. Catherine’s as its new COO.
“It works out well,” she said. “For all intents and purposes, I’ll be in charge of all of the hospital’s clinical care.”
A graduate of Adelphi University, Garden City, N.Y., for her BSN and MSN degrees, Edelstein’s nursing roots began at St. John’s Episcopal Hospital in Far Rockaway, N.Y., as a staff nurse in the coronary care/telemetry unit. She left St. John’s in 1996 as a director of nursing, moving on to Episcopal Health Services as director of engineering initiatives, and then returning to St. John’s as director of hospitalwide performance improvement. Her first position with CHS of LI was as assistant director of performance improvement, quality management at St. Francis Hospital, the Heart Center.
In less than two years, she became the assistant vice president for nursing at St. Catherine’s, after which she moved on to become senior VP for patient care services/CNO; senior VP, administration/CNO, and now to her role as COO.
“Technically, I’ve been doing this job since 2010,” she said.
Edelstein’s commitment to leadership is evident in her participation in various organizations, both national and local. She is a nurse executive committee member for the Nassau/Suffolk Hospital Council, chairperson of the nurse executive forum for the Long Island Health Network and holds membership with Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing, the American Nurses Association, the American Organization of Nurse Executives, the Greater New York Organization of Nurse Executives, and others.
Her achievements in nursing administration have not gone unnoticed. She was named a finalist for Patrick J. Scollard Leadership Award in 2009 and has been called upon to share her leadership strategies as a presenter at a number of Greater New York Hospital Association/United Health Fund events. In 2012, she served as keynote speaker at the Suffolk Community College School of Nursing commencement ceremony.
Next on Edelstein’s agenda is to obtain her PhD – not any easy feat for someone with her responsibilities.
But if history is any indication, she is ready to take on whatever challenges come her way, because of the support she receives from her family, colleagues and the mentors she’s had during her career.
“My husband and family have always given me unwavering support to follow my passion and my mentors, both in nursing and other disciplines, have pushed me out of my comfort zone to take on these challenging positions,” she said.”And I happen to be surrounded by the absolute best nursing leaders and staff, all who believe in providing the highest quality of care to all our patients.”
Tracey Boyd is a regional reporter.
EDITOR’S NOTE: In recognition of the 25th anniversary of Nurse.com, the magazine will celebrate 25 key members of the New York/New Jersey nursing community in 2013.