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Krista Bello, RN, OCN, Guilford

Krista Bello, RN, OCN has served as a nurse at the Smilow Cancer Hospital Care Center at Shoreline Medical Center in Guilford for the last six years, and she has enjoyed many of the benefits that come with working in a smaller care center.

The Guilford Care Center is busy and fast-paced. Every day from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Krista handles 8-12 ambulatory patients for their routine treatments, which range from blood work, assessments, and port flushes, to getting patients set up for chemotherapy. While it is a very small, yet snug care center, construction recently began that will renovate the existing center and expand the square footage, allowing this site to become a 19-chair facility - a very exciting development, says Krista.

Krista first started with Yale New Haven Hospital in 2009 as a clinical nurse on 9 West, and when Smilow opened, she relocated to NP 12. On the 12th floor, she worked with a patient population who was very ill with solid tumors (lung, colon, breast, brain) and was receiving end-of-life care. Due to the acute nature of this floor, work was very intense and Krista became accustomed to blocking out all emotion. After three and a half years, Krista received the opportunity to work closer to her home on the shoreline, and she transferred to the Smilow Care Center in Guilford.

Working at the care center, Krista feels she can make a difference in the lives of her patients. "I am helping them on their journey," she says. "I can make a scary and confusing time become a clearer process for the patient, which helps them persevere. Sitting with them and holding their hand and helping them feel normal, it's a wonderful feeling to know that I can make a difference and it gives me gratification that I can help."

Unfortunately, Krista herself would soon become someone in need of support. She and her husband experienced a tragic loss when their son, Bryce, who was just 45 days old, passed away due to a genetic disorder. Work became her saving grace and support system. From the doctors and staff, to even her patients, everyone rallied around her and gave her space to grieve and love when she needed it most.

"This is a special place. Going through this experience has made me a more compassionate nurse. It has given me empathy and the understanding that caring for patients is a rare experience."