Jacobi Medical Center has a new chief of nursing who’s been part of the Pelham Parkway community for over six decades.
Jacobi’s new chief nursing officer, Suzanne Pennacchio, has resided in Pelham Gardens for 62 years, coming to the medical center after holding the equivalent role at Brookdale Hospital in Brooklyn since 1999.
Pennacchio has had a career in nursing going back to 1971, and she is excited to continue in the role of CNO, she said. She started in October 2015.
“I wanted to take on one more challenge, and I always view moving into a new organization as a personal challenge,” she said, adding that she is pleased that the position gives her he opportunity to make change for the betterment of medical care.
The CNO is the person at a city hospital who is ultimately responsible for the nursing staff, and monitors patient outcomes and experiences, while making sure that nurses are clinically competent and the correct numbers of nurses are on staff, she said.
Pennacchio said she has seen a lot of changes in the nursing profession, and said that it has now evolved into a partnership with patients. She considers it a calling.
“When I entered nursing it was truly a professional calling,” said Pennacchio. “The salaries were nowhere near what they are today, and I think that people who were attracted to the profession really had a calling to be of service, to work with people and get them back to the best state of health that they could be in.”
She has lived in the Pelham Parkway community since she was 3-years-old, and is a graduate of St. Clare School and St. Catharine Academy.
“I really view this as an opportunity to give back to my own community,” she said.
The new Jacobi CNO said she likes the borough and always has felt that way.
“One of the things about the Bronx is that as a borough it offers a little bit of all of the other boroughs all in one – from having great restaurants, the Bronx Zoo and New York Botanical Garden, and great schools that you can send your children to,” she said, adding “The Bronx is centrally located, you can be in Connecticut, New Jersey and Manhattan, all in about 20 minutes.”
She found her Pelham Parkway and Pelham Gardens community a good place to grow up.
“I never had any qualms about walking in this area in the middle of the night,” she said.
During high school, she was candy striper at Cross Country Hospital, where she said she first felt the calling to enter the nursing profession.
After high school, she went onto graduate from Mt. Sinai School of Nursing, Lehman College and Columbia University.
She was especially proud of being a nursing instructor for over a decade at the Flushing Hospital School of Nursing.
A good nurse, according to Pennacchio, is a member of a team. He or she is able to recognize subtle changes in patients, is a consistent caregiver and a listener, she added.