Providence Cedars-Sinai Tarzana Women’s Health Services

L to R above: Karen Pelone, RN, MSN, Manager, Labor & Delivery  |  Natalie Nevin, RN, MSN, Manager, NICU, Pediatrics & Pediatric ICU  |  Deborah Smith, RNC, MSN, Manager, Mother/Baby Unit  |  Michele Curtis-Lavin, MN, RN, PHN, Director, Women and Children’s Services

Providence Cedars-Sinai Tarzana Medical Center provides health care, wellness education and support to meet the unique medical needs of women throughout their lives. Providence Cedars-Sinai Tarzana Women’s Health Services was established as a comprehensive resource for women in the San Fernando Valley. The experienced team of health care professionals partners with each patient, empowering her to take control of her health through wellness programs, exams and education. If illnesses or conditions arise, they blend medical expertise with the latest technology and treatments.

How many years have you been in this community?

“Providence Cedars-Sinai Tarzana Medical Center has been serving the San Fernando Valley and surrounding communities since 1973, building a legacy of excellence and compassion for well over four decades. Our mission remains rooted in service—providing care to all in need—and our teams are as dedicated as ever.”

Tell us about the care you provide specifically for pregnant women.

“The birth of a baby is the birth of a family. At Providence Cedars-Sinai Tarzana, caring for women also includes caring for babies. Opened in 1993, the Providence Cedars-Sinai Tarzana Women’s Pavilion was established to provide a full spectrum of care before, during and after pregnancy in a state-of-the-art facility, all in one convenient location. 

We focus on family-centered care, beginning with education classes about pregnancy, childbirth, baby care and parenting. Obste-tricians, maternal-fetal medicine specialists, certified nurses and lactation consultants work together to provide the best possible birth experience. For those times when the unexpected occurs, our Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit steps in. It has consistently ranked in the top 10% in the nation.”

In what ways do you empower women to succeed in business? 

“We encourage each manager to view their unit as a business that is providing safe and excellent care for our patients. It is important to empower our staff in a way that allows them to provide the best treatment for patients. Together, we problem-solve and think through issues that arise. In the labor-delivery and postpartum units, we work in the ‘happy place.’ We help deliver babies, and after the birth we send new mothers home with the newest addition to their family—all within 24 to 48 hours. So we have a short window to make a big difference in the lives of these families. 

It is key that our staff are sending moms home feeling prepared. Often the moms share what a wonderful experience it was to give birth at Providence Cedars-Sinai Tarzana Medical Center. We also see a lot of familiar faces—mothers who are delivering their second or third baby with us. It’s the most rewarding feeling. We are a community hospital, and we are happy to serve our community.”

What is your best piece of advice for a woman starting out in nursing? 

“We always advise new nurses or nurses transitioning to this area to ask a lot of questions and take every opportunity to experience something new and different. This is not the place to be shy. Ask, learn, grow. There are no silly questions, and there are a lot of opportunities to learn from nursing leaders and peers—so speak up. 

Find a mentor or a role model. For our nurses, this usually ends up being their nurse preceptor—an experienced registered nurse who is enthusiastic about the nursing profession and has a desire to teach. It’s rewarding to see strong bonds develop between new nurses and their preceptor.”

How do you attract the best talent to join your staff?  

“Word-of-mouth and having existing staff members refer people are great ways to attract the best talent. Oftentimes staff members choose to transition to our area from other units, including new moms who work here in other units and—after delivering their baby with us—decide to join women’s services. Because our hospital has a great reputation, it makes it easy to attract great talent and people whose values resonate with Providence.”

Describe your leadership style. 

“We believe in transformational leadership. Transformational leadership is defined as a leadership approach that causes change in individuals and social systems. In its ideal form, it creates valuable and positive change in the followers with the end goal of developing followers into leaders. So as nursing leaders, it is our job to empower our staff to make their own decisions and to do so with confidence. We are happy to guide them and get them what they need, but it comes down to making sure they have an active role in their job and responsibilities.”

Where do you find your inspiration? 

“Nursing is the best profession around, and we love what we do. As nursing leaders, we love being able to inspire and empower those caring for our patients. We are there for support, making sure our nurses have the tools and the knowledge to excel at their job. There is great joy in seeing them succeed. We hope we’re inspiring them as much as they inspire us. We have a strong team, and it makes it easy and enjoyable to go to work when you love what you do and who you’re doing it with.”