Panel sheds light on health care industry

The St. John’s chapter of the American College of Healthcare Executives held their first healthcare panel in Council Hall on Saturday, April 19. The purpose of the event was for students interested in a future career in health care to gain more insight on the field.

The five speakers on hand included Abraham Warshaw, MD FACEP, senior vice president of Medical Affairs and Emergency Medicine Chairman for North General Hospital, Maria D’Urso, MSN, RCN, Account Manager for the Visiting Nurse Service of New York, Marchene Noel, director of Human Resources at North General Hospital, Christine DeMarco, Compliance Auditor for South Nassau Communities Hospital and Kemberlie Joseph, Project Associate for the NYU School of Medicine’s Department of Dermatology.

Students got the chance to mingle with various health care executives, but senior Mathew Eapen, president of ACHE, said that there was more to the occasion then just gaining contacts.

“This is more than a networking event – it’s an educational event as well,” he said. “Collectively, our panel has over 100 years of experience and we need to understand what the current job market is like, so what better way than to hear it from these professionals.”

One point brought up during the event by the healthcare panel was how there is a more business-like approach to modern day health care.

“Today, patients are more like customers and you have to be very attentive to their experience as a whole in the hospital,” said Warshaw. “If you fail to meet their needs, they will just go somewhere else for medical attention.”

Warshaw also mentioned that it is very important to keep the morale of health care employees high as well because “the more comfortable your employees are, the more comfortable the patients will be.”

D’Urso touched on similar topics.

“We are all each other’s customers and it is important to stay positive and treat patients with kindness and respect because you never know when the tables will turn,” she said.

In order to keep up with the business side of health care, the speakers urged students interested in working in the field to become knowledgeable in different aspects of business.

Noel suggested that students take “a few business courses” and Warshaw credited his prior experience of helping his parents run a radio station as being a useful tool in his job today.

“I learned a lot about business during my time there,” he said. “I learned a lot from the sales aspect, how to deal with employees, negotiating deals and contracts, good customer service- -things I never learned in medical school.”

DeMarco, a 2005 St. John’s alum, pointed out the significance of internships on one’s career.

“This field is changing everyday and you need to see what’s out there,” she said. “Internships will let you see what exactly you want to do and what you don’t want to do.”

Members of the panel also stressed that although who you know is important in getting your foot in the door, what you know is just as important in keeping you there.

“Of course if you know people you can get interviews and job offers, but if you really aren’t qualified, you’re not going to last,” Warshaw said. “That’s why if you are going to accept an offer, make sure that you take a job that you know you are going to excel in.”

Noel added that coming into the field with a fresh perspective also helps a new employee’s longevity in the field.

“People who are deemed valuable are ones with ideas and ways to implement them,” she said. “Some companies have gotten in trouble because they have gotten stagnant, so it’s important to help business move forward and not stay in the same spot.” Joseph, a 2003 St. John’s graduate, shared similar advice.

“[Employers] don’t like it when employees constantly go up to them with more problems, if you see a problem, you better come up with a plan to help solve that issue,” she said.

During the event, it was announced that the St. John’s ACHE had been accepted into the Higher Education Network, which puts the St. John’s group in league with chapters at Columbia, Hofstra and St. Joseph’s University.

ACHE also honored St. John’s professors Lloyd Torres, Vincent Immiti and Franklin Camerano for their service in the organization’s faculty advisor committee.

Senior Lalchan Singh, vice president of ACHE, said that he was proud of the way the event came together.

“I believe the event turned out very well,” he said. “I think it was very important to get graduating seniors and undergrads some insight on the current state of health care and I think we did just that.”

Freshman Mary Zielinski said that she learned that she would not have to limit herself in the health care field.

“I found the fact that there are so many different aspects of health care to be interesting,” she said. “I think that’s good because it makes me more open to bring to use all the skills I’ve been given.”

Junior Joseph Gueits left the healthcare panel event with similar feelings.

“I think networking is one of the most things I’ve learned from the event and to expose myself to different experiences,” he said.

Senior Aisha Ballie said that it was good to see former St. John’s students come back and share their experiences.

“It was really inspiring to see two alumni on the panel,” she said. “I thought the event was very well presented and I’m glad I came.”