Valerie Vermiglio-Kohn, Burke's new Chief Nursing Officer, joined the Burke team in January. We sat down with her to discuss what brought her to Burke and some goals she has once she gets settled in.
What made you get into nursing?
I chose to go back to nursing school after having great experiences with fabulous nurses while in labor and delivery as well as having an awful nursing experience after a surgery. Both those experiences made me want to change professions. I had previously worked as a chemical engineer for 10 years in manufacturing of coffee and then the first test kit to screen blood for the AIDS virus. I wanted to do something with a more personal impact.
What is your work background? Where did you work before Burke?
I started my nursing career about 12 years ago as a staff nurse at Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation in New Jersey. My husband had a wonderful experience there and I was happy to join their staff. I was immediately struck by the rehabilitation nurse’s role in the patient’s recovery and was committed to doing my best to help patients return to their optimum functional level. I was hooked on rehabilitation nursing! I probably would have always stayed as a bedside nurse except the schedule didn’t work for my family and so I moved into an administrative role. My first opportunities came as the Magnet program coordinator, then I moved into Infection Control, Quality, Joint Commission Survey Coordinator, and finally nursing administration. As the Kessler Chief Nurse Executive, I oversaw Nursing Operations, Quality, and Education for 4 New Jersey hospitals and over 400 beds.
Why Burke? What made you want to come here?
Burke is an incredible rehabilitation hospital with more than 100 years making a difference in the lives of patients and their families. The Burke leadership team is committed to providing a patient-centered interdisciplinary rehabilitation experience which rivals the best national rehabilitation hospitals. They are committed to providing the nursing staff with the resources and leadership to provide consistently outstanding rehabilitation nursing care. It was an incredible opportunity. It also helped that when I came for my interviews I was impressed by the friendliness of everyone I came in contact with. I immediately felt a sense of welcome.
Any early/first impressions since you’ve started?
My first week at Burke has been very exciting. I think I’ve met about 300 people! I have been impressed with the kindness and warmth of so many of the Burke team. I am also incredibly lucky to have a great nursing leadership team and Assistant Director of Nursing Stephanie Campbell. Dr. Oh-Park and the medical team have also gone out of their way to introduce themselves and express their support for the nursing department. Best of all, Marie Spencer has been available to answer questions and promote a successful transition as she retires.
What are some of the goals you hope to accomplish once you’re settled in?
My first goals are to meet the staff and have them understand my patient-centered approach to care. I want to work on nurse and nursing attendant recruitment and retention to insure we have the ability to provide the best possible rehabilitation nursing care at the bedside.