Meet Sherrie Bonarigo, an APRN at CHI Saint Joseph Health – Cancer Care in Lexington, whose drive for providing compassionate care led her to New York City to help during the peak of the global pandemic there.
When Care Becomes Personal
For Sherrie Bonarigo, cancer care is personal. After losing her mother to terminal pancreatic cancer, Sherrie says she has a deeper understanding of what her patients go through on a daily basis.
In fact, the compassion Sherrie feels for her patients, as she shares in their victories and their losses, drives her to be her best while serving as an advanced practice registered nurse for CHI Saint Joseph Health – Cancer Care.
“Seeing how my mom had cancer, [the care] that my family had is [the type of care] I want for every family,” Sherrie says. “I felt we were really well taken care of by the medical staff when my mom was sick, and I felt included in the decision-making process. Now that I’ve had a professional and personal experience [in oncology], it makes me a better-rounded person as I help my patients and be vested more in their care.”
A Calling to Serve in New York
Her call to help patients extended to her recent journey to New York City during the peak of the global pandemic there. With support from her work team and her family, Sherrie worked 21 consecutive 12-hour night shifts to treat and care for COVID-19 positive patients in a telemetry unit at Bellevue Hospital.
“It was a pretty amazing experience,” Sherrie says. “I met a lot of really cool providers from all over the country who were there for the same reason – they felt the call. About 70 % of the patients on my floor were COVID-19 positive, so I was worrying about my safety and worrying about protecting other patients.”
After returning home to quarantine, Sherrie is back to caring for her patients in cancer care. While some days don’t have a happy ending, Sherrie says the support from her team and family uplift her.
“Having a good team here is helpful,” Sherrie says. “We all want to see each other succeed, and we all want to see our patients succeed. We put forth our best efforts to do the best for our patients. And I’m lucky to have a good support team at home, especially when I bring [work] home, they understand.”