Eva James, an RN and 1199SEIU contract administrator for Mount Sinai Beth Israel, walked down the hall at the Brooklyn Marriott with a smile on her face. “The RN Symposium was great,” she said. “I learned so much about how hospitals are shifting to larger healthcare systems and about future roles for RNs. It was a good learning day.”

James was one of over 400 people who attended the 1199SEIU Training and Employment Funds’ eighth annual RNLMI Symposium, “Expanding Our Reach Across the Continuum of Care.” A little more than half of this year’s attendees were first-timers to the event. Presenters from leading healthcare systems spoke about embracing the many opportunities in healthcare, from telehealth to population health.

Keynote speaker Jeffrey Kraut, executive vice president of strategy and analytics for Northwell Health, urged attendees to think differently about how they provide quality care. He spoke about the rise of telemedicine and the increasing potential of wearable fitness gadgets and other technical devices as tools to engage patients in their own health, noting that remote monitoring of patients is also on the rise. “The baby boomers who are becoming elderly are not like my 88-year-old mother or my 95-year-old uncles,” he said. “They will be able to use different tools that engage them in their own health care. All of these changes will affect our health system.”

Marc Z. Kramer, a representative of the League of Voluntary Hospitals and Homes of New York, reminded the nurses of the impact they make every day. He noted the importance of giving nurses additional opportunities to come together to share best practices and learn about healthcare trends. “We need to make sure that our nurses receive the right tools and education to help our patients,” he said.

Sandi Vito, executive director of 1199SEIU Training and Employment Funds (TEF), thanked attendees for their commitment to labor and management partnership, to improving patients’ health, and partnering with TEF to prepare for the future.

Jeffrey Kraut moderated a panel that explored how to advance nursing into the world of telehealth and improve patient access to care via ambulatory care centers and other services that expand the healthcare continuum.

“Whether we like it or not, healthcare systems are changing. We have to adapt to those changes,” said Norma Amsterdam, executive vice president of 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East.

LaRay Brown, chief executive officer of Interfaith Medical Center, provided an update on the Kings County Transformation grant, which will provide capital funding for hospitals serving residents in the Kings County section of Brooklyn. Some funds are anticipated to be invested in ensuring greater access to ambulatory care.

Brown also highlighted the value of healthcare workers who share common experience with their patients. “We want our patients to always have a positive experience. It is important to have staff who live and work in the same community as their patients,” she said.

Attendees wrapped up the day by participating in interactive workshops on mental health first aid, opportunities for RNs in telehealth, caring for transgender patients and recognizing trends in health system transformation. They also played an interactive game called Friday Night in the Emergency Room that gave participants a chance to problem-solve the challenges of managing a hospital ER during a 12- or 24-hour period.

After attending the Mental Health First Aid workshop, Josie Gavieres, an RN from Mount Sinai Beth Israel, left the room grinning. “It was a wonderful day and a positive experience for me,” she said. “I learned so much that I can take back to my hospital.”

You can find presentation materials on the RNLMI Symposium page on our website.
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