JoAnn Marzouk has wanted to be a nurse for as long as she can remember. After a high school guidance counselor told her she should stay away from the sciences, she took a leap of faith and enrolled in an Emergency Medical Technician program. “That made me even hungrier to become a nurse,”says JoAnn, who grew up in Plainview, New York. Soon, she enrolled in a few nursing prerequisite classes at Nassau Community College (NCC) and was on her way. In 1981, she graduated from the ADN program at NCC and became a medical-surgical charge nurse at St. Francis Hospital.
Moving on up
In 1985, JoAnn began a 19-year career with Physicians Healthcare, an ambulatory care center. She was the clinical practice manager. When the center became a primary care office, JoAnn decided move on and accept a position at North Shore Long Island Jewish (LIJ) HealthSystem, working in the corporate finance department as a clinical project manager. Eventually, she moved into clinical management—as a nurse manager in the outpatient wound care unit, and then as a clinical nurse navigator/manager in clinical triage at North Shore LIJ Southside Hospital.
Furthering her education
As JoAnn’s career at North Shore progressed, so did her desire for further education. “I had a great mentor who encouraged me to get the BSN through the Farmingdale State College cohort program, which held classes right on our campus at Southside Hospital where she was working,” she says. Once JoAnn graduated in 2015, she accepted a position as a wound care nurse in the nursing education department, followed by a position as practice nurse supervisor for the OBGYN service line in the Northwell Health System—by then the health system had rebranded.
JoAnn continued her education, earning an MSN at Stony Brook University in 2016, in yet another cohort educational opportunity in Northwell. While in school, she realized that her end goal was to hold a doctorate. “I realized how much holding the DNP credential could do for me,” she says. “I want to ignite positive change in our organization and having that education and background in research really legitimizes what you have to say.”
Researching and discovering DNP programs
When JoAnn researched doctorate programs, she found that American Sentinel’s Doctor of Nursing Practice Executive Leadership checked all the boxes for a practice-focused degree she could put to use immediately. “I wanted to operate in the leadership space right away, and there was absolutely that immediacy in my very first semester at American Sentinel,” she says. “Being in this program has exposed me to in-depth research and study about transformational leadership that I’m able to apply immediately.”
In fact, JoAnn has started working on the creation of a leadership program focusing on emotional intelligence for the OBGYN service line at Northwell. Her goal—with the support of her doctoral mentor and the VP of the OBGYN service line—is to roll out this educational workshopprogram to all clinical leaders in ambulatory departments within the Northwell organization. “I am tremendously inspired and empowered by my leader and VP, Teri Manno, who has backed, supported and pushed me,” she says.“I am also very indebted to my DNP mentor, Adriann Combs, and everyone in the OBGYN service line for their gracious support of my DNP capstone project. I can’t say enough about this transformational health system. Northwell has provided an opportunity for me to growas a nursing leader and continues to support my education as I strive toward a DNP at American Sentinel University.”
Shaping the next generation
JoAnn keeps climbing higher and higher in Northwell. In July 2018, she was promoted to practice nurse manager in the OBGYN service line. A big responsibility, no doubt, but she’s up for the challenge—just as she is up for the challenge of the DNP Executive Leadership. “Some people warned me when I started the DNP that I would need to put my head down and get through it, but the truth is I’m loving every single class and every single moment. And the coolest part is that the excitement I feel about this is contagious. I am so blessed to attend American Sentinel University and to receive such wonderful support from Northwell.”
Inspired by JoAnn’s story? A DNP with a specialization in executive leadership prepares master’s-educated nurses for leadership roles in the healthcare system. When you acquire new knowledge, you can apply it to nursing practice in ways that enhance patient care and improve outcomes.
Read the other student success stories for more inspiration.