Spotlight on: Kari Zwiefka, RN, BSN, Director of Surgical Services, Jones Memorial Hospital
By Marianne Benjamin
Wednesday, September 9, 2020 4:27 PM
Kari Zwiefka once thought she wanted to be a physical therapist. But, with some encouragement from her aunt, who was a nurse, she started nursing school and fell in love with it. Zwiefka earned her nursing degree from Alfred State and began her career working in a nursing home. She has been at Jones Memorial Hospital for more than 20 years, serving in a variety of different posts.
“I love the camaraderie at Jones,” she said. “Everyone knows everybody. We truly care for our patients. It’s a great environment to be in.”
Zwiefka worked on the floors for a few years but has been in the OR for 17 years, three of them as director. “We have a great staff that truly works as a team,” she said. “And the care we provide is excellent because of the way the team works.”
When the COVID-19 pandemic shut down elective surgeries, the OR staff was dispensed to help out in other departments. “The OR staff in our hospital is so versatile because they have come from a variety of units,” she said. “Some have worked the floors, in maternity, and the ICU and they can fully function in those departments.” The OR started back up at 50 percent in May and by June was at almost 95 percent.
Zwiefka, an Angelica resident who is pursuing a master’s in leadership from Capella University, says that nursing is a very fulfilling career. She cherishes making a positive impact on patients and other staff members. “This is a great career where you are surrounded by very caring people who show compassion to others every day,” she said. “And working in a small, rural hospital like Jones you don’t have to specialize. You have the opportunity to experience so many different kinds of nursing.”