The transition to Glen Cove Hospital's top post has been free of any surprises for newly appointed executive director Susan Kwiatek, although getting there was a big one.
"I never would have expected this, even two months ago," she said.
The departure of her predecessor was a bit sudden. Dennis Connors was asked to take a position at the North Shore LIJ's flagship facility in Manhattan, Lenox Hill Hospital, and "in the hospital system, you go where you're needed," said Kwiatek.
She had worked closely with Connors as his associate executive director of patient services and was able to watch his style and see the results it produced. The hospital has received high marks for its low infection rate, in part attributed to the team environment and open avenues of communication that Connors promoted. Kwiatek described a hands-on leader who knew his staff, and whose staff knew him.
"Dennis was highly visible," she said.
Continuing that tradition and remaining "outcome-focused" will be her priorities, Kwiatek said. A master's degree in business helps her to understand the financial aspect of running a hospital, and her 30 years at Glen Cove Hospital have honed a bedside manner valuable for an administrator overseeing a facility which serves her neighbors at their most vulnerable moments.
She and her husband moved to Glen Cove in 1991 to be closer to the hospital. She bumps into patients and their families in Stop & Shop.
Being a part of the community and having a sensitivity to those bonds is important at Glen Cove Hospital, where accomodation of patients' families has been a priority with lax restrictions on visitation hours, even before new regulations forbid it unless there is a valid medical reason.
Kwiatek's ascension through the ranks is not common, beginning as a humble nursing assistant and continuing to each subsequent step up - a journey up the hospital's hierarchy which has prepared her to lead it.
"It's been extraordinary," she said.
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