Montefiore in the News
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Montefiore in the News

May 7, 2021

77 WABC Radio celebrated “National Nurses Day” Thursday with special programming. We want to highlight the incredible nurses who were interviewed on-air and shared their inspirational stories with our very own on-air talent.

Judy Sheridan-Gonzalez

Occupation: President of the NYS Nurses Association and has worked at the Montefiore Hospital for over 30 years

Quote from the interview: “We think that health care equity is critical. We think that everybody has the right to health care; that it is a human right. Everybody has the right to have a nurse when that patient needs a nurse and we are very committed to that. It is a beautiful profession and it is an honor to be a nurse. There is nothing like it so I highly recommend it for people who are interested in caring for people.,” Gonzalez said.

athleen Kaminsky

Occupation: Senior Vice President of patient care services and chief nursing officer at Englewood Health

Quote from the interview: “Our nurses were the unsung heroes and were certainly recognized overwhelmingly by our community and they were highlighted certainly during COVID. One of the real challenges was caring not only for our patients but for their family members. They were not allowed to visit the patients while they were in the hospital so our frontline nurses really stepped up in caring for the community. I couldn’t be any prouder for the role that they took in building bridges using technology whether it was FaceTime or Zoom or any other platforms to make sure that family members were able to connect with their loved ones in dealing with this challenging pandemic,” Kaminsky said.


Una Hopkins

Occupation: Director of Research and Evidence Based Practice within Nursing at Montefiore

Quote from the interview: “There were so many circumstances in which that nurse at that bedside was the last person to facilitate communication between the family and that dying individual. The Bronx was hit very hard as you know and so therefore, our community suffered terribly. It wasn’t just the nurse because the nurse works amongst the team and the team is inclusive of our physician colleagues, and our respiratory therapists and our nutritionists and our social workers. They all work together and that’s what nurses do, they bring a whole team together to care for a patient,” Hopkins said.


Sabriye Bright

Occupation: Nurse at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital

Quote from the interview: “It is a special day especially after the year that we have been through. We come to work everyday and we have a passion. We have a passion to make an impact on somebody’s life. It is a very rewarding and satisfying career to be able to assist patient’s back to health and to guide them to wellness and to get them home to their loves ones, but this year has been extra special,” Bright said.


Jennie Drexler

Occupation: ICU Nurse at Mount Sinai West

Quote from the interview: “I mean it was frightening. We were dealing with the unknown. I remember everything about when we got the first patient. It was kind of trial and error because nobody knew about COVID really. We were trying different things, different treatments and different drugs. It was really a learning experience for everybody and the comradery that came with it of all of the nurses and doctors and all of the respiratory therapists, the whole team working together was pretty amazing,” Drexler said.


Stephen Ferrara

Occupation: Associate Professor of Nursing at CUMC and Associate Dean, Clinical Affairs

Quote from the interview: “We used Telehealth and we used the good old-fashioned telephone. We connected with our patients, we made sure that they had access to their chronic medications for high blood pressure and diabetes. These conditions did not take a break over the pandemic so we made sure that they had plenty of supply of their medications. A lot of patients had home blood pressure monitors that we asked them to give us their readings so we could ensure that their blood pressure was under control. We innovated and made sure that our patients got what they needed,” Ferrara said.


Belly Braimah 

Occupation: Stroke Coordinator at Maimonides Hospital

Quote from the interview: “We as nurses, we came into this job thinking that we could do all we can for our patients: care for them, advocate for them and give them whatever they need but the pandemic changed that dynamic. It was difficult to do both to protect your family and loved ones and at the same time take care of your patients that you care about. It was really a test of character and thank God that we were able to go through this pandemic and now hopefully we see the light at the end of the tunnel…,” Braimah said.


Kathleen Sierra

Occupation: Chronic Care Nurse Coordinator at the Montefiore Medical Group

Quote from the interview: “Well I am definitely grateful that we are able to open back up or that we are on the verge of that I should say. Last year was traumatic. Last year was the worst thing that I’ve seen in my career. I am so glad that we have gotten past that and how far we have come in just a year,” Sierra said.


Marial Giuliano 

Occupation: Nurse at The New York-Presbyterian Hospital

Quote from the interview: “These [nurses] are some of the bravest, most hard-working and amazing people I have ever worked with. This pandemic, their commitment, their perseverance, their empathy to this day 15 months later is exceptional despite that emotional toll that it has taken on all of us. Work for the best hospital in the world, find where you fit in, find that group of nurses that you jive with and it will be the best decision that you ever make,” Giuliano said.


Erica Rosenblum

Occupation: RN at the cardiac step down unit at Maimonides Hospital

Quote from the interview: “Well, unfortunately my dad became really sick, and was in and out of the hospital probably the last year of his life and when he suddenly passed away from cardiac arrest, I saw that as a sign that I needed to make some changes in my professional and personal life so I looked to nursing and I haven’t looked back. I was born at Maimonides and now I am working at Maimonides. My dad died of cardiovascular disease and now I am working on a cardiac unit so it really feels like I am in the right place and I feel so good about being here and I feel like I honor his legacy by working on a heart unit,” Rosenblum said.


Breanna Feith

Occupation: Clinical Coordinator in the ICU at Saint Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston, New Jersey

Quote from the interview: “I think in the ICU setting we are so used to kind of taking control to care for that whole patient while maintaining that humanity and dignity that we do forget that sometimes it is such of an out of body experience for our patients who are so used of taking care of themselves. It is difficult to bring into perspective that these vulnerable moments are you know where we shine the most as nurses where we are able to kind of bring it back into perspective for everyone involved, you know patients and families. You know it’s the worst day of some people’s lives,” Feith said.


Sandra Lindsay

Occupation: Director of Critical Care Services at the Long Island Jewish Medical Center in Queens and the first American to get the COVID-19 vaccine!

Quote from the interview: “I did not know that I would be the first one [to get vaccinated]. I’ve been a fierce advocate of vaccination ever since I heard that a vaccine was in development so I was talking about getting vaccinated to all of my staff, my leaders. When the vaccination arrived in New York, I was asked if I’m still interested and without hesitation I said ‘absolutely.’ We need to get everybody vaccinated that is the only way. That is our best defense beating this coronavirus,” Lindsay said.


Linda Valentino

Occupation: Chief Nursing Officer of Mount Sinai West

Quote from the interview: “Nurses are the bedrock of our health care system. Nurses are the ones who support patients. They do meaningful, compassionate, professional work. They work and own the care that they provide and they make a difference to the patients and their families… the best part of my job is supporting other nurses. As a nurse executive, I see nurses every day who execute care flawlessly, who use their knowledge and innovation to advance the care of patients and who are really essential. They are essential. Nurses are the backbone of every health care system and so it is my great pleasure to support them to do the work that they’re doing every day,” Valentino said.


Kim Kondas

Occupation: Assistant Director of Patient Care for Critical Health and ICU at a community medical center in Toms River, NJ

Quote from the interview: “I think the support of the community that we had during these past 15 months was extremely instrumental in pushing through. It was unknown territory for the patients, our staff and families. People were impacted in a lot of different ways…,” Kondas said.


Marie Carmel Garcon

Occupation: Assistant Professor at Columbia University School of Nursing

Quote from the interview: “…growing up I always wanted to be a nurse and there is not one day that I said ‘Well I wish I wasn’t a nurse.’ I always say ‘this is the best I could do’ and when I make a positive impact on patients and on their families, that makes my day,” Garcon said.


Karen Broomes-Jam

Occupation: Nurse Educator at Maimonides

Quote from the interview: “I felt that this career really melds with my personality type of caring for people and just wanting to give so that’s why I made the switch,” Jam said.


Kerita Jackson

Occupation: RN at The Long Island Jewish Valley Stream Hospital

Quote from the interview: “I would have to say it is a calling. When you put yourself in the position to care for someone else, it is not just a job. It is an emotional,  physical, mental task/role in this person’s life that you’ve just taken on. You really have to be able to be there for that person wholeheartedly,” Jackson said.


Tiffany Powell

Occupation: Nurse at Long Island Jewish Forest Hills Hospital

Quote from the interview: “…throughout my life as I got older, my mother always had talked to us about how amazing nurses were in not only helping my father but really helping her at a young age move her young husband and she was forever grateful to them. I think I always had a spirit of wanting to help others. I think that was always in my nature and I had no doubt that after high school I would apply to nursing school and start my career in nursing. I just absolutely love my job. I love being a nurse.,” Powell said.


Jacquelyn Taylor

Occupation: Professor of Nursing & Executive Director at Columbia University

Quote from the interview: “I can tell you as a young girl I was diagnosed with cancer at six years old and I was provided with such wonderful care by the nurses that took care of me at Mott Children’s Hospital in Ann Arbor, Michigan and that is what really inspired me to be a nurse. I really wanted to do something that could truly help people, help their families, and provide care and comfort to those that are ill or even look at ways in terms of research how you can intervene early so that people don’t develop chronic illness,” Taylor said.


Taylor Caridad

Occupation: RN, worked in the emergency department at the Staten Island University Hospital

Quote from the interview: “My mom actually went back to nursing school when I was a junior in high school so she was doing all of the nursing curriculum and I saw that as I was applying to college and she made me want to do it. She talked about all of the things she would see, and everything that she wanted to do and every patient that she got to care for. She said that they left such an impression on her then I would try to emulate that in the care that I give to my patients,” Caridad said.


La Shawn Jemison

Occupation: MSN, MBA, RN, Director of Patient Services for Perinatal Care at the Newark Beth Israel Medical Center

Quote from the interview: “This was our time as health care workers, we’ve trained for this, however, we did not ever think we would ever see it so I think this staff are heroes. They rose to the occasion,” Jemison said.


Tammy Ashley

Occupation: Director of Advanced Wound Healing and Hyperbaric Treatment at Stony Brook Southampton Hospital

Quote from the interview: “Back in January, the hospitals started receiving various doses of the COVID-19 vaccine and we started very small scale, we were vaccinating our employees first and other health care professionals in the area. Then, it eventually started to grow and we started putting our vaccine centers in different locations,” Ashley said.