NEW ROCHELLE, NY — Jerome Bagaporo, who has been named Chief Nursing Officer at United Hebrew of New Rochelle, wants people to know he really is 35 years old. Overseeing a department with 280 full- and part-time staffers, this fresh new face in a leadership position is actually a seasoned nurse with 10 years of experience; he is not the newbie imagined by people who, when they first meet him, believe he just got out of college. In his new role at United Hebrew, he is committed to seeing that the growing use of technology works to a patient’s benefit, enhancing the philosophy that a person should be cared for holistically rather than merely by treating symptoms.
A native of the Philippines who now lives in Yonkers, Bagaporo has worked at United Hebrew for two years, putting residents’ records into electronic form. In that position, he worked side-by-side with his predecessor, Patricia McCormack, a 51-year veteran of United Hebrew, who recommended him for the job when she decided to retire. He previously served as a nurse at the Isabella Geriatric Center in Manhattan after arriving in the United States in 2007. In the Philippines, he served as a professor at a college of nursing.
Keeping the “tender loving care”
“With the transition to electronic health records, nurses have a better view of what is going on with a resident with just one click,” he said. “But we’re not removing the tender loving care that we give the residents, nor the interpersonal relationship. That personal relationship with a resident cannot be replaced by technology, a philosophy we maintain here at United Hebrew.”
Holistic personal care is an approach that permeates United Hebrew’s 7.5-acre campus of comprehensive care, which includes a full range of services, from independent living to long-term skilled nursing.
Talking with McCormack and Bagaporo offers a window into how nursing has changed. When McCormack, Bagaporo’s predecessor, came to United Hebrew in 1964, almost all the residents she cared for were survivors of the Holocaust. Born and raised in Ireland, she had met some survivors when she was studying nursing in England, but they had not opened up to her the way survivors in the United States did.
“I heard their stories; I heard their sadness,” she says. “I helped wipe away their tears. It was an unbelievable experience.”
In the decades since she began, regulations governing nursing care have become much more extensive and technology aids nursing in countless new ways. United Hebrew owns a machine, for instance, that can search for a vein to aid when drawing blood.
McCormack, now retired from the top nursing job, has not left entirely. The Norwalk, Connecticut resident still works Wednesday and Saturdays, and volunteers at United Hebrew on Thursdays.
A smooth transition
Bagaporo joined United Hebrew as the minimum data set and technology coordinator, with the job of completing the electronic recording of all residents’ data. Working side-by-side with McCormack, he said, he saw a facility that understood the importance of a holistic approach to care.
“The number one thing that I want to continue here is that good relationship with the residents, the families and the community,” he said. Bagaporo said he learned much from the way McCormack rarely spent time in her office because she was always making herself available to the nurses and others.
“It prevents problems if you’re available to them,” he said. “It shows that we work together. It’s not ‘you,’ it’s not ‘I,’ it’s ‘we.’”
United Hebrew President and CEO Rita Mabli said the time Bagaporo and McCormack worked together helped make a smooth transition from one exceptional administrator to another.
“Jerome is more than just a whiz at the technology used in nursing and keeping records,” she said. “He understands how all the advancements enhance care of our residents but don’t take the place of face-to-face contact. That makes him a perfect fit for United Hebrew.”