Volunteer Profile: Renee Sanchez (MEYERS ’13)
“NYU gave me the foundation, confidence, and preparation to look globally and translate the skills and leadership obtained from my education to open up, lead, and manage pop-up Covid units in my practice settings,” says Renee Sanchez (MEYERS ’13). As the nurse manager of the Crown Family Pediatric Center at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, Renee has been on the frontlines of the pandemic in New York City, having to stretch her training and experience as a nurse leader to support patients and their families through previously unfathomable circumstances.
Still, Renee has embraced her role as a leader both as a healthcare professional and as an NYU alumna. As part of the Nursing Administration Alumni Advisory Council, she recently received the Event of the Year award from the NYU Alumni Association at this year’s Alumni Volunteer Recognition and Service Awards during NYU Alumni and Parents Weekend. Says Renee, “As a leader in nursing and an alumna of the nursing administration program at Meyers, helping future leaders’ transition into practice is important; mentoring students and networking with alumni help to support the profession of nursing.”
As part of the NYU Nursing Administration Alumni Advisory Council, you recently won Event of the Year for the Chief Nursing Officer Forum at this year’s Alumni Volunteer Recognition and Service Awards (Congratulations!). How did you first become involved/what inspired you to become involved as an alumni volunteer with NYU?
Thank you! I first became involved as an alumni volunteer with NYU by mentoring students in the undergraduate program and in the master of nursing administration program as an adjunct professor in 2013. I was inspired to continue networking and connecting with alumni from the nursing administration program and began connecting with other alumni to start the Nursing Administration Alumni Advisory Council with the support of Professor Eloise Cathcart, clinical associate professor and director of the master's program in nursing administration, and Janet Griffin, director of alumni relations at NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing, who both helped to create structure for our council.
Our council has held many outstanding and well attended events, but the NYC Chief Nursing Officer (CNO) panel was truly amazing and won our council the “Event of the Year” award for 2020. The event brought together five of the most prestigious Chief Nursing Officers in NYC who shared their leadership journeys to becoming a CNO and the challenges they face as CNOs. Little did we know that just a few short weeks later they would be leading different NYC hospitals during a global pandemic, in the epicenter of the US!
Why do you stay involved with NYU? Why would you encourage other alumni to get involved?
I stay involved because I truly value my education from NYU and believe it’s important to stay connected with future alumni. As a leader in nursing and an alumna of the nursing administration program at Meyers, helping future leaders’ transition into practice is important; mentoring students and networking with alumni help to support the profession of nursing. NYU has given me the foundation and academic preparation to be able to network with other like-minded alumni and become a change agent in supporting the future of nursing.
How did your NYU education prepare you for the current crisis?
NYU gave me the foundation, confidence, and preparation to look globally and translate the skills and leadership obtained from my education to open up, lead, and manage pop-up Covid units in my practice settings. Combined with my skills, experience, and knowledge from leading as a nursing manager for close to ten years in pediatrics and maternal child health, I knew I had the skills, academic preparation, and the experiential knowledge to step up to help lead an adult ICU, telemetry, and a medical surgical unit during the peak of Covid in New York City and recently again over the last month due to the spike in the number of Covid cases in October.
How have the events of 2020, including the Covid-19 pandemic, impacted your role as a leader in the NYU alumni community?
The events of 2020, especially related to the Covid-19 pandemic, have significantly impacted my role as a leader in the NYU alumni community. Nurses are out in the public view more than ever now, and as a leader in nursing it’s more important than ever to have our profession and voices heard to make change. This crisis has highlighted the effects of health care disparities in the US and it’s so important for nurses, especially NYU alumni, to work together to make changes for our communities we serve.
Given your experience on the frontlines in New York, what would you say to current NYU students preparing for a career in healthcare?
Given that we are still in the middle of the crisis, it’s important that current NYU students come prepared to enter into the profession with an open mind, patience, and willingness to learn from their co-workers who have been in the practice in the current climate. Additionally, it’s important for NYU students to get involved and connect with other alumni from Meyers and form relationships to support one another during these unprecedented times in our profession. Having a connection with fellow alumni will provide these graduate nurses with the support and mentorship necessary to transition into practice. That connection will make the transition easier into clinical practice on the frontlines.
Did you have any NYU classes or instructors who inspired or impacted you?
Absolutely! Professor Eloise Cathcart, clinical associate professor and director of the master's program in nursing administration, was, and still is, my inspiration and the professor to have impacted my career the most. I first met her during an elective leadership course I took in a different program. Initially, I was in a nurse-practitioner-focused master's program at NYU.
Professor Cathcarttook the time to mentor me into seeing my strength and potential as a leader. She saw my passion for leading nursing before I did and because of her I switched my focus to nursing administration for my master’s degree and have never looked back. To this day, Professor Cathcart has been my mentor and dear friend for many years and I owe a lot of my success to her guidance and mentorship. I want to pay it forward to students and to NYU because of what she has done for me and my career trajectory.
What is your favorite NYU memory?
My favorite NYU memory is the connections I made as a graduate student with other students in my class. Since graduating in 2013, we’ve stayed connected and have become close friends; some sit as fellow council members on the Nursing Administration Alumni Advisory Council as well. I loved our many study groups and coffee breaks we would take between classes in Washington Square Park.
What is your favorite:
- Food? A slice of New York pizza
- Book? My favorite book is Start with Why by Simon Sinek
- TV Show and/or Movie? Pulp Fiction and My Big Fat Greek Wedding
- Song and/or Musical Artist? I love anything from the ’90s and early 2000s. My favorite artists are Michael Jackson and Lady Gaga.
- Podcast? Anything by Simon Sinek
- Place in New York City? Central Park and Washington Square Park
- Social distancing activity? Zooming with my family and, of course, riding my Peloton bike with friends.