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Q&A: Once a dockbuilder, now he’s leading at ELIH


Before he transitioned to nursing, Daniel Lumley, R.N., spent 23 years building docks across Long Island.

“They’re two totally different careers,” said Mr. Lumley, who was recently named director of perioperative services at Eastern Long Island Hospital in Greenport. “It makes life very interesting.”

In his new role, Mr. Lumley oversees all aspects of nursing care in ELIH’s operating room and ambulatory surgery unit.

“It’s basically overseeing everybody and making sure they’re performing to their highest ability for patient care,” he said. “Then I make sure we’re working within our budgets, not overspending and doing everything to the best of our ability to save money.”

Mr. Lumley, who is 52 and lives on the South Shore with his wife, Lisa, and their three children, grew up in Holbrook and was most recently nurse manager in the operating room at Southside Hospital in Bay Shore.

He became a dockbuilder at age 17 but began studying nursing after deciding to retire from the physically taxing work around age 40. His wife, a registered nurse herself, encouraged him to enter the medical field.

“She suggested I go into nursing because a male nurse would do very well,” said Mr. Lumley, who has worked at hospitals throughout Suffolk County. “It was a time in my life when I knew I wanted to get a degree in something and change my career.”

A registered nurse since 2002, Mr. Lumley graduated cum laude from SUNY/Farmingdale in 2014 with a Bachelor of Science in nursing. He’s now pursuing a master’s degree in nursing leadership at Stony Brook University.

“I enjoy learning,” he said. “I believe that, especially within the medical field, you need to be on top of the latest information to give the highest-quality care to patients. If that means going to school to get my doctorate, that’s what I’ll be doing next.”

Q: You worked as a registered nurse for many years. How did you transition to your new position at ELIH?

A: A colleague of mine mentioned they were looking for someone to be a leader and help the hospital grow as they move along their journey to new operating rooms. At first I was like, I’m not too sure since it’s so far from where I live, but I fell in love with the hospital. It’s a great place — a very patient-centered facility.

Q: What challenges do you face in your new role?

A: Budgetary restraints are the first one. And trying to keep a fine balance of, number one, keeping our patients happy and also keeping our staff and our surgeons happy. It’s a fine line. The patients come number one, no matter what.

Q: How do you plan to enhance services at ELIH?

A: I would like to bring ELIH to the next level. I would like to enhance nursing and patient care by exploring innovative surgical equipment that offers the latest in up-to-date technologies to enhance the safety of our patients.

We’re looking into 4K [resolution] technologies, like an Olympic scope used for any kind of laparoscopic surgeries that has almost a 3-D look. It’s amazing. It enhances the surgeons’ views, making it a safer procedure. We actually just trialed it this week and are considering purchasing it for all our operating rooms. We were the first one on Long Island to trial it.

Q: When you aren’t working, how do you spend your free time?

A: I like to ride my motorcycle. My wife and I like to ride together. We’ll take day trips out east. I also like to play golf. And we love going to the beach.

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