NEW YORK NURSE: May 2008
In April, the Blackthorn Pipe Band celebrated its 25th anniversary at the Polish Community Center in Yonkers, with NYSNA members Brendan Hunt, Veronica Chepak and Rita Orlando among the ranks of pipers and drummers. All three nurses are on staff at Montefiore Medical Center. The band is made up of pipers and drummers from New York’s metropolitan area. Its mission is “keeping the tradition alive” and fostering the musical heritage of the Celtic people.
Hunt, a piper in the band, began his nursing career 11 years ago. He has worked for the past nine in the operating room of Albert Einstein’s Weiler Division, and is now the head nurse for plastic surgery.
Chepak, a nurse for 19 years, plays the snare drum in the drum corps. Her career began at Westchester County Medical Center’s oncology unit. She has been an oncology case manager with the Care Management Company for the past three years.
Orlando, a pipe major, began her career at Albert Einstein in 1969 in pediatrics and is now a Case Manager with Monetefiore’s Care Management Company. She is one of the original members of the band.
Erie County Medical Center nurses Michelle Gulczewski and Jennifer Sweetland were both recently honored by their employer.
Gulczewski, a med-surg nurse, was February’s “Nurse of the Month.” Commended for being an exemplary team player as well as for her attention to detail and focused-care nursing, Gulczewski was commended for constantly seeking information surrounding her patients, their care, and fielding concerns from their loved ones.
Sweetland was the Distinguished Nursing Honoree at ECMCs Springfest on May 3. A charge nurse with the Rehabilitation Department, Sweetland joined ECMC in January 2001. Fluent in Spanish and sign language, she was described as a highly competitive preceptor, who helps new employees learn exceptionally well. Sweetland recently assisted in the piloting of a bedside medication verification program currently in development at ECMC.
Lynda Olender, chief nurse executive of the James J. Peters VA Medical Center in the Bronx, retired in February. Olender served for 40 years in the VA healthcare system and was the 2007 recipient of the NYSNA Nursing Service Administration Award. She was honored for her history of leadership at the facility and for emphasizing the importance of continuing education, career development, and staff recognition and retention.
Burt Thelander and Kitty Vetter appeared with Assemblymember Aileen Gunther (D-Sullivan County) on her weekly television and radio program, which was taped during NYSNA’s Lobby Day on April 8. Thelander is director of advanced clinical practice at Rockland Psychiatric Center. Vetter is a staff nurse and chair of the bargaining unit at Catskill Regional Medical Center. Both discussed NYSNA’s legislative priorities with Gunther, who is herself a registered nurse and a strong supporter of legislation that would ban mandatory overtime for nurses.
NYSNA members and staff were saddened to learn of the passing of Linda Ruth Crosby on March 29. Crosby had, over many years, developed a particular interest and skill in the treatment of addictive illness. In 1991, while working as a private practice consultant, she participated on an expert panel on how to assist substance-dependent nurses in a nationwide teleconference aired via satellite. Crosby was instrumental in the establishment of NYSNA’s Statewide Peer Assistance for Nurses (SPAN) Program. “It’s a great loss. Linda was a wonderful colleague who contributed much and, along with LeClair Bissell, wrote one of the first books I read addressing management of healthcare professionals with addictive illness,” said SPAN Program Director Ellen Brickman. At the time of her death, Crosby was a nursing instructor at Winston Salem State University. Contributions in her memory may be made to the Forsyth Humane Society, 61 Miller St., Winston-Salem, NC 27104.