After 42 years in the nursing profession, it is safe to say that Somers resident Ann Marie Guthartz knows a thing or two about hospitals.
So when Guthartz says the 11 years she's spent working for Hudson Valley Hospital Center in Cortlandt Manor has been different than any other experience she's had, it's not a statement that should be taken lightly.
"Everyday, it's such a family," said Guthartz, who was one of 10 employees honored Tuesday during the hospital's 'Wall of Heroes' ceremony. "There's just so much support personally and professionally. Everybody is wonderful. You can see by the variety of folks that are honored. They're from every part, every aspect of the hospital."
Each month the hospital recognizes an employee who has been nominated by co-workers.
At the end of the year, that employee is honored at the Heroes Ceremony and their portrait hung on the wall along the front corridor of the hospital, where it remains for the year.
John C. Federspiel, president of Hudson Valley Hospital Center, said the ceremony is part of a concerted effort to raise employee satisfaction.
"Our employee satisfaction continues to be one of the highest in the country among all hospitals, which is a remarkable achievement," Federspiel said. "The way we've done that is to have this culture, this collegial atmosphere that our patients always comment on when they experience the care here."
Federspiel said turnover rate at the hospital has consistently remained one of the lowest in state for the past several years.
"What it all means in the end is that we have great place to work, which translates to great patient care," he said. "When you work somewhere and you're happy working there, you're going to put out a good product."
Charles Cannato, a Mount Kisco resident and technologist in the hospital's radiology department, said he was overwhelmed after being honored during Tuesday.
"I've worked here a long time and everybody is great to work with, but I'm still surprised," said Cannato, who has worked at the hospital for 10 years.
Cannato said he planned to take the portrait of himself that he received during the ceremony home.
"I'm going to let my wife decide what to do with it," he said. "Hopefully, she doesn't put it down."
Below is a list of employees honored this year on the "Wall of Heroes":
Jane Picone, Phelbotomist, Lab – Jane of Peekskill was Employee of the Month in October 2011. She is a member of the Phlebotomy team and painlessly draws blood from patients. She works the 3- 11 p.m. shift in the lab and is frequently requested by patients because of her top-notch skills.
Charles Cannato, Technologist, Radiology – Charles of Mount Kisco was Employee of the Month in November 2011. A 9-year employee of HVHC, he works as a technologist in the Radiology Department scanning patients in the MRI units. He takes the time to chat with each patient and helps to calm their nerves.
Laura O’Grady, RN, Emergency Department – Laura of Lake Peekskill was Employee of the Month in December 2011. A 21-year employee, she works as an RN in the Emergency Department wearing many hats, including charge nurse, bedside nurse, teacher, triage and ACLS instructor. Laura is the “rock” of the Emergency Department and is there to advise and assist her co-workers. She’s also known for her “killer” Irish soda bread.
Anna Slempa, RN, BSN – Anna of Peekskill was Employee of the Month in January 2012. Anna, Clinical Coordinator in Nursing Administration, has worked at HVHC for 33 years, starting as a candy striper many years ago. During her tenure at HVHC, she has worked on several nursing units including 3 East, ICU and the Emergency Department. She has been recognized in Hudson Valley Magazine for her nursing excellence.
Kathleen Calabro, Education Department – Kathleen of Cortlandt Manor was Employee of the Month in February 2012. A member of the Education Department, Kathleen was instrumental in the Magnet nursing re-designation project, helping the Hospital to once again earn the distinction as a Magnet hospital, the gold standard in nursing care.
Ruel Wilson, PCT, 3 South – Ruel of Peekskill was Employee of the Month in March 2012. He is a Patient Care Technician on 3 South Nursing Unit. Ruel is a compassionate, team player, who anticipates all his patients’ needs.
Valerie Falls, Programmer-Analyst, MIS – Valerie of Poughquag was Employee of the Month in April 2012. Valerie is a programmer-analyst with the Hospital’s MIS Department. Valerie took the lead on a recent project compiling quality data reports needed to complete the electronic medical records project. Valerie and her family moved here from Montreal four years ago.
Ann Marie Guthartz, ACNM, 2 South – Ann Marie of Somers was Employee of the Month in May of 2012. Ann Marie has been a nurse for 42 years and joined Hudson Valley Hospital Center in 2001. Ann’s vast experience in pediatrics and Med/Surgery with telemetry focus is a tremendous asset to the Hospital. She was recognized by Hudson Valley Magazine for excellence in nursing.
Elizabeth Dwyer, Lead Mammography Technician II, Women’s Imaging Center – Liz of Wappingers Falls was Employee of the Month in July of 2012. Liz delivers warmth, kindness, respect and dignity to all her patients. Under her leadership, her department prides itself on perfection as seen in the fact that they maintained patient satisfaction scores of 98 percent and 99 percent in 2010 and 2011 respectively, not to mention perfect Department of Health inspections.
Cathy Patinella, Pre-Admissions Testing – Cathy of Cold Spring was Employee of the Month in August 2012. A driving force behind the Pre-Admission Testing Department, Cathy helps prepare patients for pre-operative testing. Cathy’s warmth, compassion and incredible sense of humor put her patients at ease from the moment they meet her.