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Q & A with Joel Seligman, president and CEO of Northern Westchester Hospital

by Sean Ruck, Contributing Editor | July 05, 2019
From the July 2019 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

HealthCare Business News spoke with Joel Seligman, president and CEO of Northern Westchester Hospital to learn more about his background and about NWH.

HCB News: What inspired you to pursue a career in healthcare?
Joel Seligman: I wanted a career helping people. It could have been healthcare, social services, education. But I was given an opportunity right out of college to work in a hospital. I saw the importance of what they do and the way they could impact things in a positive way and one thing led to another. I’ve been in healthcare my whole career.

HCB News: How long have you been with Northern Westchester Hospital?
JS: I’ve been here 18 years.

NWH Emergency Department entrance with Wallace Pavilion in rear
HCB News: What attracts staff?
JS: In general, I think healthcare professionals want to work in a high-quality organization. They want to work at the top of their game. They want to have access to a team that’s smart and well trained. They want to work in an environment that’s caring and supportive of one another. They want modern technology. In our case, all of this is evidenced by the fact that we’ve received Magnet Recognition for excellence in nursing. This recognition tells nurses that high standards of nursing care and professional development are a priority here, and that resonates with nurses. For physicians in particular, they’re looking at the technology and infrastructure of the hospital, which includes that high-quality nursing care, intensive care units, hospitalists — they want to know that their patients are going to be safe here and get great care, and that’s what we’re able to offer them.

We don’t really have a problem filling any staffing positions. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy to some degree. As you hire and retain high-quality staff, they attract more high-quality staff.

HCB News: Are there any type of staffing positions more difficult to fill than others?
JS: In general, no. From time to time, there may be a challenge with a highly-specific role — like an MRI technician or a blood bank lab tech. In general, we’re a hospital where people want to work; we have a lot of people applying when a position opens. It helps that we have access to a large geography. We also have highways nearby which is key. If we didn’t have them, people wouldn’t be coming from Connecticut, Dutchess County or the Bronx. But since we’re reasonably accessible to people who live 30 or 40 miles away, that’s a pretty big market.

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