Nassau University Medical Center opens new wing, celebrates stand out employee


There was a lot to celebrate at the Nassau University Medical Center last week with the opening of a new, state-of-the-art surgical patient wing and the honoring of its employee of the month, Daniel Pena, who played an integral role in making the new wing a reality.

On the hospital’s 8th floor, Nassau Healthcare Corporation Chairman Matthew Bruderman and NUMC interim president and CEO Meg Ryan were joined by hospital physicians and staff from dozens of departments on March 1 to officially celebrate the opening of the new surgical wing.

Ryan said when Bruderman first began his role with the healthcare network two years ago, he walked the entire hospital. The 8th floor was not used for patients, and housed offices and storage spaces.

“He said ‘Make it patient rooms — let’s do something more for the community,’” she said. “So, over the past year or so, we did that.”

All of the renovation to the space was completed in-house by several of NUMC’s departments that oversee facility maintenance, engineering and construction.

The wing boasts eight new patient rooms, which can care for 16 patients, a new nurse’s station and break rooms for staff, as well as rest areas for families of patients.

Pena, who was recently named the supervisor of the NHCC Building Maintenance at the NUMC, has worked for the hospital since 2008, Ryan said.

“You’re passionate about your work and that shines through — and this is all your work, it’s beautiful,” Ryan said at the ceremony last week, gesturing to the new surgical suite behind her. “Danny and his team have been working hard on creating this beautiful unit. And he did the same thing for our MRI unit that we opened in December. The beautiful craftsmanship that you see behind me is all a result of Danny and his hard work and his teamwork.”

Pena said that the success of the new unit took a lot of “interdepartmental cooperation,” and thanked all his colleagues that helped make it possible.

“It takes a village,” he said. “We all have a role to play. We all have a job to do. And we are all responsible for one another’s success as well as the success of the hospital.”

What made the honor all the more special for Pena is he’s from the same neighborhood the hospital calls home. He grew up just down the road in Westbury, went to W.T. Clarke High School in the East Meadow School District, and was able to see the top of the hospital’s tower from his parent’s back stoop.

Pena was joined at the ceremony by his parents, his wife Dawn, and their sons Joey and Logan.

Bruderman, speaking to Pena’s sons, emphasized the importance their dad’s work, in relation to the new wing. NUMC serves more than 270,00 patients annually, and more than 70 percent are racial minorities. 80 percents of the health care network’s patients are on Medicaid and Medicare.

“Your dad isn’t only doing amazing work here that we’re recognizing him for,” Bruderman said, “but he’s doing it for the people that don’t have access to healthcare in the community. There’s a lot of people that can’t afford to go to a hospital. They can’t see a doctor. Your dad, he’s helping and supporting — and has passion for a hospital that has such a unique mission.”

A carpenter, Pena said when he began working for the hospital, he knew he’d found a place he’d be happy.

“I love being a carpenter at NUMC,” he said. “It has become an outlet for my creativity — a place where you can really grow if you put in the work. I’m blessed to be here. Thank you to the administration for electing me to be the Employee of the Month for March, and thank you to all of my coworkers for working with me and alongside me for all these years.”