Employee Testimonials

Jesse Erckert, RN, Behavioral Health Nurse, Behavioral Health Center

I'm a nurse because it's in my blood. My mom was a nurse, my aunt was a nurse, my grandma was a nurse in the military, my uncle was a nurse. Clinical skills necessary to be a behavioral health nurse are some of the same skills that you would find in other medical style nursing. However, the most important skill to have as a behavioral health nurse is communication. It's not so much what you say, it's how you say it, your body language, your tone. But one of the most rewarding parts of my job is watching the progress, seeing somebody who comes in during a crisis. They may be confused, maybe they have just given up and each day watching them have some kind of progress, whether it's a small amount of progress or a big step, just watching a patient go in the right direction. When I first started working here, it was definitely a challenge. I came from a different discipline in nursing and although I wasn't a new nurse, it was an adjustment. My co-workers, they helped me to adjust. They supported me. They motivated me to do well and to be successful. Teamwork and support is critical in this type of environment because at the end of the day, we all need to support each other in order to find the best outcomes for our patients. I love my patients. They will teach you more than any professor you know. These are good people. These are people with families. These are people who love people who hurt and they need support, and we need nurses to help these people.

Tanya Pereira, Obstetric Nurse, Monmouth Medical Center

I'm a nurse because I really wanted to help people and be able to do it in a way that I was able to use all of the knowledge that I had learned in nursing school, and make it so that I could help people and make their lives better. And so that when they left my care, I felt like maybe I had changed their lives in a small way. Caring for a new life is something that is unlike anything else in the world. It is so incredibly special. Absolutely wonderful to be able to see and to be present for those first moments. It is amazing to be able to experience a baby's first cries, their first smile. To share that experience with the parents, I would say to new nurses, to be curious. Learn from every person that you meet. Everyone that you meet has something amazing to offer. The people that are here are some of the best in the world, some of the best minds. The most rewarding thing is to come to work and know that I can collaborate with them. That I can talk to them and that I can learn so much. As sad as it is to say goodbye to our patients, it's absolutely wonderful. The smile that we receive on their way out the door.

Jackie DePietro, RN, Emergency Department Nurse, Jersey City Medical Center

I am an emergency nurse. I like coming to work because you have to rise to the challenge and you have to be able to move, get on your feet, use your brain. And it's really with dealing with people. You have to be a people person. And there's something about coming here not knowing what to expect that I find really rewarding, exhilarating. I've grown as a person and a nurse over the last nine years by just knowing how to relate to people in a much more compassionate way. And I get inspired by the team I’m with every day, especially here at this hospital. I would say to a new nurse entering the profession, to be prepared. It makes you a better person and it's a great career. I would say the most rewarding thing about nursing is when you actually see the positive outcomes of saving somebody and actually seeing someone that you have to save down here and see them be discharged is a great feeling. It's a great career. It's very rewarding. It's not for the faint of heart. There's something proud about saying I’m emergency room nurse and at the end of the day you really do feel like you change people's lives.

Dina Zwigard, Respiratory Therapist, Cooperman Barnabas Medical Center

I’ve worked at Cooperman Barnabas Medical Center (formerly Saint Barnabas Medical Center) for 20 years and I’ve never wanted to work anywhere else. My managers have always taken me under their wings and taught me so much. We're really a team and people just take care of one another. I love that about this place. And I feel very secure; there are people working here who have been here for 35 years.

Cooperman Barnabas Medical Center is also such a great place to learn the field. Nobody has a Burn Unit like we have. A lot of hospitals just don’t offer the same opportunities. When I rotated in the Pulmonary Unit, I learned that I like to be one-on-one with people and to educate them, so I took some courses to become a tobacco specialist. The hospital paid for my continuing education. Now I specialize in what I like to do, though I do still rotate through all the specialties at the medical center to keep my skills sharp. Our team's managers try to keep people in the areas where they are happy.

Elizabeth Rodriguez BS, RRT, Respiratory Clinical Care Manager, Cooperman Barnabas Medical Center

I started working at Clara Maass Medical Center as a staff therapist in 2012. After 5 years, I became the lead ICU respiratory therapist and then department supervisor. I participated in interdisciplinary rounds and was able to help improve patient care in the ICU. Recently, I transferred to Cooperman Barnabas Medical Center, another RWJBarnabas Health hospital, to be the Respiratory Clinical Care Manager. In my role as manager, I work closely with the educator, orienting new employees and helping them grow. This is my calling. I love helping people. It’s exciting and rewarding to see families able to take their loved ones home. It reminds you why you do it.

Debra Brouwer, RN, Newark Beth Israel Medial Center

I was hired at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center as a new graduate in June 2006. Within a short period of time, I was cross-trained to all of the pediatric units, allowing me to advance my skills in many different areas. While learning and improving on the job, I was also able to continue learning in the classroom. With the help of Newark Beth Israel Medical Center’s tuition reimbursement program, I obtained my BSN in 2012 and then went on to pursue a doctorate degree. I feel fortunate to work for an institution that values higher learning, where professional advancement opportunities abound and we are encouraged to go for it! What I love the most is being able to work with a diverse patient population and have time to spend with my family. Where I work, if you are open minded and willing to give of yourself, what you receive in return is immeasurable.

Eduvijes Acosta, RN, RWJ University Hospital New Brunswick

In May of 2008, I began my career at RWJ University Hospital New Brunswick as a Human Resources receptionist after six years in the United States Air Force. Before long, I was promoted to Human Resources Associate and then soon became an HR Data Coordinator. While I loved my job, I had a passion and yearning for something else. Since I was a child, I had always wanted to be a nurse. While working in the Human Resources Department, I attended nursing school, studying during my lunch hours and staying up late to finish papers. In March of 2017, I passed the NCLEX and was licensed as a registered nurse! My perserverance had paid off! I currently work as a night-shift registered nurse on an oncology unit at our New Brunswick campus. I’m thrilled to be doing the work I was meant to do with people I consider family.

Victoria LaPorta, RN, Monmouth Medical Center

I love the sense of family at Monmouth Medical Center. I always feel like I’m an integral part of the team, where physicians and nurses collaborate so well together, and I am welcomed, encouraged and valued. It is amazing to do meaningful work that doesn’t feel like a job. There is nothing better than helping people bring their babies into the world!

Erika Bryant-Gandy, Coordinator Management, Monmouth Medical Center

I came to Monmouth Medical Center in 1997 as a clerical coordinator in the Nursing Staff Office and was promoted to office manager, having mastered the ability to be a jack of all trades! It’s been vitally important to me in my career and so rewarding personally to have room to grow. My job at Monmouth Medical Center has given me a second family.

Denis Orellana, RN, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Rahway

I decided I wanted to be a nurse at age 19 after my father was stabbed during a robbery and I saw the care and skill of the Jersey City Medical Center nurses who treated him. But there was a long road ahead, including medical bills, lost wages and the need to flee a dangerous neighborhood, which meant eight months of homelessness for my family.

Three years ago, I started working in the dietary department at RWJUH Rahway, delivering meal trays to patients. Over time, my family bought a home in Linden and I earned my associate’s degree at Union College.

Through RWJ Rahway Human Resources I discovered that training as a Nursing Assistant would not only provide an income, but would augment my nursing education. So I trained as a Certified Nursing Assistant, working evenings and grabbing as many shifts as possible to cover nursing school tuition.

Being a Nursing Assistant helped me develop the skills for nursing. It also allowed me to work alongside many of the nursing staff at the hospital, who were always willing to mentor me, answer questions and give advice.

I graduated nursing school in May 2017 and now work as an RN on the 3E medical/surgical floor.

I am finishing my bachelor’s degree, with a further goal of becoming a Nurse Practitioner, specializing in pediatrics.