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Starting Your Nursing Career: Finding the Right Nursing Program & Employer

Anthony G. Gonzalez, MSN, RN, CCRN-K Director – Nurse Residency Program

Memorial Healthcare System is committed to the community and building greater, smarter healthcare. We know that a highly qualified and trained Nurse makes the difference in patient care and quality outcomes.

Many of you will become a future Nurse and we hope to help you in this journey. We can start by helping you find an accredited school with excellent national nursing exam (NCLEX) pass rates. Successful completion of this exam is critical to your future employment and active nursing practice.

As a top employer of skilled clinicians, we are prepared to support you at every step of your continuous learning — from new graduate to first-year RN. Our Nurse Residency Program is an opportunity to transition into your professional nursing career through mentoring and real-life case studies.

But, first, let’s find the right nursing program for you

1: We advise that you ask the following questions when looking into a nursing school: What is their accreditation status?

a. We recommend nursing programs that are nationally accredited by agencies such as the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) and/or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).

b. Nursing schools that are accredited by these agencies are more likely to provide their students a well-rounded learning experience. They have a set curriculum with stringent guidelines, numerous education resources, and access to a greater number of clinical sites . Additionally, a significant majority of their graduates pass the NCLEX exam in their first attempt.

2. What are their NCLEX pass rates?

a. The Florida Board of Nursing collects data from academic nursing programs including the percentage of their graduates who pass the NCLEX exam the first time.

b. We recommend nursing programs with a consistent pass rate of 80% and above.

c. You can find the NCLEX pass rates of any nursing program that you’re interested in at the Florida Board of Nursing’s public website: https://floridasnursing.gov/education-and-training-programs/

There are obviously other factors to take into consideration such as learning environment, schedule, tuition, instructors, commute, and more.  But finding a reputable nursing program should be at the top of that list. We hope that this blog post will help to  inform your choices as you pursue a nursing career. 

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Aurelio at his desk

A Message from our President

Compensation and Benefits Updates

Memorial Healthcare System is known for a rewarding culture where people are appreciated and valued. Our new compensation and benefits programs for 2022 reflect the good work we are all doing to care for our community.

Increased Pay
In late 2021, I announced a $106 million earmark for compensation adjustments in 2022. This includes increased hourly pay for RNs and RRTs, expanded preceptor pay, and bigger merit increases for outstanding performance. That’s in addition to “The Memorial Minimum” which had already increased all employees to at least $15/hour.

Retention Bonus
We are also offering a new one-time retention bonus for full and part-time employees who are hired by July 1 of this year. This bonus will be paid in January 2023 and will be based on total number of hours worked in 2022.

New Benefits
Memorial provides a generous benefits package with programs to protect your health, support your overall well being, secure your future, meet your family needs, and help you thrive as a person and a professional. This year, I am proud to announce new benefits for reproductive medicine and paid parental leave.

I once again express my gratitude to the loyal employees who have stayed the course with us, while also inviting other skilled and compassionate people to join us. Your commitment will be rewarded.Search jobs and apply online now.

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New Pharmacy Technician Apprenticeship Program

New Pharmacy Technician Apprenticeship Program

We are excited to offer this new career-building opportunity for anyone who is interested in entering the pharmacy field. Upon completion of the Pharmacy Technician Apprenticeship Program, you will have the skills and knowledge to deliver patient- and family-centered care across our network of inpatient and outpatient pharmacies.

Paid Training Program for High School Graduates

It doesn’t matter how long it’s been since you graduated, as long as you have a high school diploma. Our paid, six-month training program will teach you how to work with our state-of-the-art medication distribution and inventory systems, assist with patient care services, medication preparation, and other vital pharmacy tasks.

Exciting Pharmacy Careers

We provide integrated pharmacy services including inpatient and outpatient services, supported by industry-leading automation and resources. Pharmacy Technician roles are available in our hospital pharmacy and community pharmacy operations, with the chance to advance into specialized pharmacy settings. You can also continue your growth with our education assistance benefits.

Find out how you can become a Pharmacy Technician and build a rewarding career at Memorial Healthcare System. Apply online now.

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The MHS RN Fellowship Program – Tori’s Story

The MHS RN Fellowship Program – Tori’s Story

Tori Sherwood – ICU RN, Memorial Hospital West
RN Fellowship – Cohort 1

Author: Valarie Grumme, PhD, RN, CCRN-K
Director, RN Fellowship Program

At Memorial Healthcare System, our focus on employee growth and development is key to attracting, retaining, and “growing-our-own” RNs for difficult to recruit specialties.

Recruitment begins before nursing students have even graduated from their degree programs, with an invitation to apply for our Nurse Residency Program.Experienced nurses at Memorial Healthcare System also have opportunities for professional development and growth, by applying to learn a new nursing specialty via our RN Fellowship Program.

I had the pleasure of speaking with Tori Sherwood, an inaugural member of both Memorial nursing professional development programs! Tori was one of our very first RN Fellowship cohort nurses and was also a member of our very first Nurse Residency cohort. Tori’s story is a shining example of the growth-driven nursing career pathways available here. Let’s hear what Tori says about her journey:

What made you consider applying to our Nurse Residency program?
“I grew up in South Florida. I knew great things about Memorial, being a patient myself and having family members that have been here as patients. I also knew some of the staff and they said Memorial’s the best place to work in South Florida. Even though I went to Florida State University in Tallahassee, I really wanted to come back down here and experience nursing firsthand. Get great knowledge and have a great team of coworkers that would support me and my growth as a new grad nurse. I knew it was the right thing for me at the time.”

Tell us why you applied to the RN Fellowship Program?
“I thought it was a great opportunity. I knew from the Residency program that the guidance was valuable. The Fellowship was the right option for me, especially during the pandemic. I really wanted to be with another group of people going through the same things I was. We were allcoming from a different unit, having a background in nursing and trying to advance our knowledge. Thanks to you, Valarie, we had the resources to make sure that we could thrive and survive at the same time.”

What brought you to the ICU?
“I was a resident I was on 4W at Memorial Hospital West, which is a Med-Surg unit. But I always really knew, back in nursing school, that I wanted to take care of patients when they’re in their most vulnerable state. There’s a lot to learn, a lot of know as an ICU nurse. So much to see, so much to do. You get to learn about your patient in depth…not only their treatment and care, but about them as well. During my time in Med-Surg, I loved it. I met some great people, I learned and got a really great foundation. But in my heart I knew I always wanted to be in ICU nurse. That’s who I am now, which is really exciting.”

Tell us about your experience with your Preceptor.
“Amazing! Her name is Jessie and she is very knowledgeable. She has 30+ years of experience in critical care. She really took her time with me, but she also challenged me. She knew I had the knowledge from being a nurse for more than two years, but definitely pushed me to be the best I could be. She also listened to me when I needed help. She was a great support system for me!”

Anything else you would like to say about the RN Fellowship program?
“I say if you’re thinking about it, definitely go for it! It’s a great opportunity to stay at Memorial and grow. The program is a great resource. Don’t be hesitant. Just to go for it…because you won’t regret it!

Transitioning to a new practice area can be challenging, as well as very rewarding. The Memorial RN Fellowship Program offers nurses this exceptional professional development opportunity with the support to grow in their careers. For further information, visit our website at https://careers.mhs.net/career-areas/rn-fellowship/

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It’s an exciting time at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital.

It’s an exciting time at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital.

Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital is one of the nation’s leading pediatric hospitals and an integral member of the Memorial Healthcare System family. Now, we’re growing our facility, our reach, and our services.

Our hospital building is adding four more stories to ensure that Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital remains uniquely qualified to treat pediatric conditions for South Florida kids and families. This means that our already comprehensive pediatric care and programs will expand even more, with additional specialized services and patient areas.

The hospital will add 72 new private patient rooms, a Pediatric Heart Institute, Children’s Cancer Center, hybrid operating rooms and surgical suites, an ICU and CVICU unit, and a Rehab unit with a gym. But that’s only part of the story.

Our building plans also highlight our commitment to the “Power of Play” as a healing mechanism. That’s why we’re including play zones, a teen room, a family lounge and fitness center – all in a caring, compassionate setting designed for the special needs of our young patients.

Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital’s reach will continue to extend into the surrounding communities to make it easier for families to access excellent pediatric care. But for all of our efforts to be truly successful, we need highly qualified healthcare professionals like you.

Please take a look at our open jobs and plan to attend our upcoming in-person Job Fair on Tuesday, April 19. Keep reading for more details.

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Join Us in Building the Future

Attend our in-person Job Fair for on-the-spot offers.

Love, play and healing are the building blocks of the four-story expansion at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital.

We are inspired by our love of community and the patients we serve. We are passionate about pediatrics. We put children and families first, and believe in the healing Power of Play. And we want to meet other pediatric caregivers who feel the same way.

Our in-person Job Fair will be held on Tuesday, April 19, from 9 am to 2 pm, in Daniella’s Atrium on the fourth floor of Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital. The hospital is located at 1005 Joe DiMaggio Drive in Hollywood, Florida, 33021.

We are recruiting for Pediatric RNs, Patient Care Associates, Registered Respiratory Therapists, Surgical Techs, Imaging Techs, Athletic Trainers, and other key roles.

Sign-on bonuses are available for certain positions. Everyone who is hired by July 1, 2022, is eligible for a one-time retention bonus. You can also expect competitive pay, bigger merit increases, and generous family-friendly benefits.    

Be sure to bring your resume – you’ll have the opportunity to meet with hiring managers, learn more about these opportunities, and possibly receive an on-the-spot offer.

If you are unable to join us on April 19, please search open jobs and apply online.

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Award-Winning Pediatric Care

Choose your specialty from dozens of children’s health services.

Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital is a full-service hospital and Level I Trauma Center nationally recognized by U.S News and World Report, Planetree, Leapfrog and others. We treat minor illnesses, health emergencies and some of the most complex pediatric medical conditions.

The hospital is staffed by world-class pediatricians, pediatric specialists, specialty trained clinicians, and a highly skilled ancillary support staff. More than 650 physicians are on the medical staff, working across more than 50 technologically advanced specialties in which you can also contribute your experience and knowledge.

Each day, we work with families in the effort to best meet the needs of the child. We average over 360,000 pediatric encounters each year including emergency visits, admissions, surgeries and comprehensive follow-up care.

In addition to our freestanding hospital in Hollywood, Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital has specialty centers and pediatric service locations in Boca Raton, Coral Springs, Miramar, Pembroke Pines, Wellington, and Weston. There is no shortage of opportunity for people who can embrace our patient- and family-centered approach to care in a child-friendly atmosphere.

Browse our pediatric services and search our open jobs. We’d also love to see you at our upcoming in-person Job Fair on Tuesday, April 19.

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Internships for Rehab Therapy Students

Internships for Rehab Therapy Students

New opportunities continue to emerge for our Rehabilitation Therapy team! Expanded internship availability means more placements and learning opportunities for students currently enrolled in Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy and Speech and Language Pathology programs.

Diverse Practice Areas

We provide patient- and family-centered care across a wide array of rehabilitation services, including these CARF-accredited programs:

  • Adult Comprehensive Inpatient Program
  • Adult Stroke Specialty Program
  • Adult Brain Injury Specialty Program
  • Pediatric Specialty Inpatient Rehabilitation
  • Adult and Pediatric Outpatient Program
  • Adult Cancer Rehabilitation Specialty Program

Other programs include:

  • Oncology and Lymphedema program
  • Pelvic Rehabilitation program- Male, Female and pediatric
  • Voice Therapy program
  • LSVT program
  • Aquatic Therapy program
  • Sports Medicine program- pediatric, adolescent and adult
  • Vestibular program
  • Concussion program
  • Ergonomics
  • Dysphagia diagnostic testing including Modified Barium Swallows
  • Fiber optic endoscopic examination of swallowing
  • Sports Medicine

But that’s just the beginning of the many subspecialties we practice within. In addition to the above, our team also provides sub-acute rehab services at Memorial Manor (our skilled nursing facility)

Collaborative Team Approach

You can learn and grow with us as part of a multidisciplinary team that uses leading-edge technology and implements custom-designed plans of care for each patient’s individual needs under the mentorship of therapists with multiple years of experience and skills. Pediatric programs offer child-friendly approaches in a warm, reassuring atmosphere, along with child-sized therapy equipment.

Advanced Technology

Technologies include Vector and LiteGait® body weight offloading systems; Bioness Integrated Therapy System (BITS) interactive upper extremity robotics system; Rehab ReWalk; Bioness H200 and L300; Armeo-Spring 3-D interactive arm and hand therapy system; Saebo ReJoyce; Pentax LVES for videostroboscopy; iLS Interactive Metronome; Alter G; robotic exoskeleton; and the C-Mill virtual reality treadmill.

Your Rehab Career

Should you choose to join #teamMHSflorida after your internship, you can look forward to competitive salaries and generous benefits. We also provide formal preceptor programs for new graduates to help guide and assist you as you transition into the Memorial culture and family.

You will be supported in your growth and success every step of the way. We offer free CEUs and a Rehabilitation Clinical Ladder (after one year of employment) to facilitate your professional development.
Take a look at our rehab videos to see what else is waiting for you here.

For an opportunity with us, please apply online.

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A Labor of Love for More than 40 Years

A Labor of Love for More than 40 Years

Memorial Healthcare System’s national reputation as a healthcare employer of choice means that a lot of our employees stay with us for years – even decades.

We recently caught up with a few team members who have been calling Memorial home for more than 40 years. They’re a select group of dedicated caregivers who shared with us what makes Memorial special. Here’s what they had to say:

“I remember walking into Memorial Regional Hospital for the first time like it was yesterday. Everyone always treated me like family. It’s the good people who bring out the best in you. My workplace has always been full of good people.”
Susan, RN Speciality – II

“I really believe I have Memorial in my DNA. If you performed a 23andMe ancestry test on me, I’m certain I have 99% the blue Memorial logo in my genetic framework. I was born at Memorial. At the age of five, I was running around the hospital because my grandfather and my mother worked here. I started working here at the age of 16, and never went anywhere else. So I truly feel Memorial is in my veins, I probably can also bleed Memorial blue.”
Julie, Manager – Nursing

“Memorial is my family, and I am very proud to work for such a great organization. I love everything and everyone here! There are boundless opportunities and growth potential. And at the end of the day, no matter the difficulties, we stick together, supporting each other and our patients and families. That’s what families do!”
Barbara, Executive Assistant to the President and CEO

“I enjoy the people I work with. I’ve made lifelong friends, and always felt Memorial to be my second family.”
Beth, Specialist – Clinical Effectiveness

“I am so privileged to work with the most amazing staff, patients, and families. I always tell people to remember their ‘WOW’ moments. I experience ‘WOW’ moments every day! So many people have inspired me for the last 40 years. One of our beloved physicians told me a long time ago that to work here, you must have the 5 Cs: Caring, compassion, commitment, communication, and courage. I see hear and feel the 5 Cs every day working here for the last 40 years. I am blessed to work, play, laugh, and – sometimes – cry with the best of the best! Thank you for the best 40 years of my life.”
Lotsy, Therapist – Clown

“I started my career at Memorial Regional Hospital more than 40 years ago and have continued working for this organization in many specialties. Memorial has afforded me the opportunity for career growth as well as allowing me to follow my dreams in this field.  During my tenure, I have always felt supported and respected as a professional nurse.”
Margie, Quality Management Specialist

“I never imagined I’d work at Memorial Healthcare System for 40+ years. I’ve been graced with several positions during these years and I am grateful for the opportunity.”
Phyllis, Administrative Assistant

“ I have enjoyed my 45 years of service and have always been proud to be part of the Memorial family.”
Phyllis, Technologist – Histology

“Our Newborn ICU provides evidence-based excellent care for the tiniest and most fragile of patients and I am proud to be a part of that care.”
Wendi, RN – Specialty II

“Memorial is simply a wonderful place to work and they take care of you. I was fortunate to have great bosses and co-workers and everyone I dealt with in the System all became my family.”
Janie, Marketing Coordinator

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Women’s History Month

Women’s History Month

A Conversation with a Top Memorial Trail Blazer: Leah Carpenter

For 20 years, Leah Carpenter has been a leader at Memorial Healthcare System – most recently, as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. Appointed to her current position in 2021 after serving as CEO at three of our hospitals, she took a few moments to reflect on her years at Memorial, and what has inspired and helped her along the way.

What made you want to go into healthcare to begin with?

I went into nursing because I wanted to connect with patients and be invested in who they were as people. I loved being at the bedside, taking care of patients. But destiny had a different plan for me, and I moved my way through the ranks in leadership.

How did you end up in leadership?

Three things influenced: first, my mother’s influence in my upbringing. She taught us that we had to be engaged – we could not complain about things without taking the responsibility to come up with solutions. Second, when I first entered healthcare 36 years ago, leaders were disconnected from the people on the front lines and what they were doing. They had no idea of what was really happening at the bedside. So I wanted to be part of changing that. I wanted to be a different kind of leader, one who was responsible for making the changes I wanted to see in the world.

Finally, I was always taught that “to those who much is given, much is expected.” I’ve been blessed beyond imagination, and I’m able to give those blessings back through leading.

What, if any, obstacles did you experience?

Well, I’m deaf in my right ear. It’s something that developed over time, so I came to a fork in the road because you need all five of your senses to take care of patients. I’ve also had mentors who taught me how it should be done and some from whom I’ve learned what not to do. The best of my mentors showed me how we could change the environment for our front-line workers. I wanted to be part of positive change, to make sure that our staff had what they needed to provide the care they were trained to do.

Tell us something about your mentors.

My mother was a single mom. She is of European descent, and a Holocaust survivor. My dad was African-American, descended from enslaved people. I grew up in a primarily Black community in 1970s Newark. We were very poor but the expectation and understanding were that education was the only way out.

I had a dear friend who was one of the guardian angels who made sure my sister and I were safe and on the right path. My father’s sister, and several teachers from grammar, middle and high school, all identified my gifts and pushed me to develop them. The survival skills I developed in the inner city were not unlike the survival skills you need in corporate America. My mentors helped guide me in a world and a profession at a time when women were struggling to break through. Women and especially women of color are still in that struggle.

You came to South Florida in 2000, and joined Memorial in 2002. How did that come about?

I was CNO at North Shore Medical Center for two years. I loved that hospital and its environment, and had some amazing mentors there. But I recognized that for-profit healthcare was not in line with the kind of work I wanted to do – provide phenomenal care for people, regardless of their ability to pay. So Memorial was a whole new world. It was what healthcare is supposed to look like, the way it’s supposed to be provided. I’m surrounded by people who have the same ethics, moral compass and commitment to patients, family and our communities that I do.

What’s your advice for women who are building careers in healthcare, or in any field, for that matter?

The most basic and important asset that you possess is your integrity. Don’t let anyone compromise it. If you give it away, you’ll never get it back.

You also must find an organization that reflects your values. Find people who are not necessarily in your image, but who have similar ideals, and who are not fearful of doing a lot of hard work. A mentor once said to me, “You’ll know you’re succeeding when people think that it’s easy by watching you.” Make it so that people don’t see the struggle, the blood, sweat, and tears, and the injustices that women – and, in particular, women of color – face.

Then, do the work, Focus on the goal, and keep your eyes on the prize. If you’re passionate about something, believe in it, and know it’s something you need to get done, get it done. Don’t let anything stop you. Fight for things that are right and just. Fight for people who can’t fight for themselves. And most importantly, always do the right things for the right reasons.