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St. Catherine of Siena Hospital

Catholic Health celebrated the grand opening of its second Root & Sprig location at St. Catherine of Siena Hospital in Smithtown with a ribbon cutting ceremony on March 12. 

The event was attended by Mary Ellen McCrossen, Community Relations Manager, St. Catherine of Siena Hospital; Thomas McLaughlin, Senior Advisor for Senator Mario Mattera; John Kennedy, Suffolk County Comptroller; Leslie Kennedy, Suffolk County Legislator; Declan Doyle, President, St. Catherine of Siena Hospital; and Gary Havican, Executive Vice President and COO, Catholic Health, among others.

A fast-casual concept restaurant, Root & Sprig brings creative healthy food and beverage options to hospital employees and visitors. Catholic Health opened the first Root & Sprig at St. Francis Hospital & Heart Center® in Roslyn in June 2023 and plans to open more in other Catholic Health hospitals later this year.    

“We are always looking for ways to promote healthy food choices for our patients, employees and visitors,” said St. Catherine of Siena Hospital President Declan Doyle. “Located in the hospital’s lobby, all will have easy access to healthy and delicious food.”

Root & Sprig was developed and founded by Tom Colicchio, host of Bravo’s Top Chef, and HHP, a healthcare amenities company with the mission to deliver bold flavors and friendly service to patients, visitors and employees in healthcare facilities nationwide, while calling attention to the crucial role that food plays in health. Menu items reflect healthy dietary selections and feature sandwiches, salads, soups and breakfast items that include vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options.  

According to a press release, Catholic Health is working with HHP to curate and host high-quality food retailers such as Root & Sprig, who provide healthy, fresh, and nutritious food, and who are dedicated to bringing a true sense of hospitality to health care. Catholic Health is focused on ensuring that patients have access to healthy food options as poor diets are associated with a higher probability of diabetes, stroke, hypertension, obesity, cancer, asthma, arthritis, and kidney disease. In addition, campaigns have been implemented to address food insecurity in the communities Catholic Health serves and beyond.


Employees of St. Catherine of Siena Hospital. Photo courtesy of Leg. Trotta's office

The Suffolk County Legislature created an annual recognition program so that each legislator would designate a Healthcare Hero from his or her legislative district to acknowledge their work and service to the community.

Legislator Rob Trotta named St Catherine of Siena Hospital in Smithtown as his district’s Healthcare Hero for 2023. St. Catherine is a member of the Catholic Health, and is a 296- bed, not-for-profit community hospital that has served the residents of Smithtown for more than 50 years.

Committed to providing the highest quality of care, St. Catherine offers multidisciplinary experts in numerous specialties including bariatric surgery, behavioral health, cardiovascular care, diagnostic imaging, dialysis, emergency medicine, neurology, neurosurgery, orthopedics, robotic surgery, sleep medicine, stroke, woman child care, women’s health, wound care and much more.

“As the legislator representing St. Catherine’s, I have had the opportunity to know its staff, nurses, doctors ,and administrators as well as experiencing its high level of care on a personal level. St. Catherine is a tremendous asset to the community as they sponsor important events such as its annual Community Health Fair, blood drives, blood pressure checks at senior centers and complexes, clothing and food collections, flu vaccines and recognition ceremonies for EMS workers and the hospital staff,” said Leg. Trotta.


Catholic Health patients identified as having food insecurities will be able to take home a bag with enough food for three days. Photo from Long Island Cares

A local health care system and nonprofit have joined forces to help patients in the area.

Catholic Health and Hauppauge-based Long Island Cares food bank have been working together to help patients battling food insecurities.

“We have to engage health care partners in the fight against hunger,” said Jessica Rosati, Long Island Cares vice president for programs.

A pilot program was launched last summer in Catholic Health emergency rooms, including St. Catherine of Siena Hospital in Smithtown and St. Charles Hospital in Port Jefferson, to identify residents who need grocery supplements. The initiative includes health care practitioners screening emergency room patients for what are called “hunger vital signs.” If a screener deems a person is food needy, the patient can take a bag that has enough food for one or two people for three days.

Dr. Lawrence Eisenstein, Catholic Health vice president and chief public and community health officer, said there has been data showing that 10-15% of Long Islanders experience food insecurities.

“We don’t want people leaving our hospitals and going to a home with no food,” Eisenstein said.

The doctor said questions asked during screening include if there is enough food in the patient’s home or if they have enough money to buy more. Eisenstein said the bags are meant to be a bridge until a person can receive additional help. Health care professionals will also ask patients if they need help connecting with the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as SNAP, or social services.

Rosati said food insecurity is a social determinant of health.

“It makes a lot of sense for health care providers to start screening individuals for food insecurity, simply because it has such a strong correlation with other diseases and disorders,” she said. “If we can treat people when they immediately come in, then we have a better chance of linking them with the appropriate services so they have all of their needs met — not only their physical health, but everything else.”

Eisenstein added that the hope is to prevent unnecessary readmissions. He gave the example that if a patient with congestive heart failure may not be able to afford nutritious food, they may be back in the emergency room with health problems.

He said unnecessary admissions might mean financial consequences for a health care system, but ensuring people don’t return to the emergency room unnecessarily is part of a hospital’s mission “to be humane and serve the most vulnerable.”

According to Rosati, more than 1,000 meals in to-go bags were distributed at all six Catholic Health hospitals to date. She added all the food included in the bags are nonperishable, shelf stable, and staff ensure food is nutritionally sound before being purchased.

She added Catholic Health officials approached Long Island Cares about initiating the program and the health care system has taken ownership of the program and found donors to expand it. She commended Catholic Health for its efforts, adding that such an initiative is “imperative for people’s overall health and the success of their health,” and hopes other providers will take note.

Bags are now also being distributed throughout the Catholic Health’s ambulatory care, walk-in clinics, home care operations and cancer institute locations throughout Long Island, including Smithtown, Port Jefferson, Commack and East Setauket.

Uniondale-based Harris Beach law firm recently donated $5,000 to the program, according to Long Island Cares, which will cover 2,000 meals.

Dr. Arif Ahmad, St. Charles and St. Catherine of Siena Acid Reflux and Hiatal Hernia Centers of Excellence Director Photo courtesy of Catholic Health

Catholic Health is expanding its service offerings with the opening of the Acid Reflux and Hiatal Hernia Centers of Excellence at St. Charles Hospital in Port Jefferson and St. Catherine of Siena Hospital in Smithtown. The Centers will offer minimally invasive surgical procedures as a permanent solution for acid reflux and repair of hiatal hernia. 

Heartburn and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), also known as acid reflux, is a chronic condition affecting 20 percent of people in the United States. Common symptoms include acid reflux, heartburn, nausea, persistent regurgitation, difficulty swallowing, chronic cough and chest pain.  

“We are delighted to provide this much-needed service in our community for those who are suffering from chronic heartburn and acid reflux, looking for a long-term solution,” said St. Charles and St. Catherine of Siena President James O’Connor. “Our goal is to improve the quality of life for patients suffering from heartburn and GERD, with an individualized treatment plan and successful outcome.” 

“Many patients want to eliminate dependence on medications and are concerned about long-term side effects,” said St. Charles and St. Catherine of Siena Acid Reflux and Hiatal Hernia Centers of Excellence Director Arif Ahmad, MD. “Most patients continue to regurgitate in spite of medications. Minimally invasive surgical techniques are safe alternatives that should be considered.”

For more information, call 631-474-6808 for St. Charles Hospital and 631-862-3570 for St. Catherine of Siena Hospital.

Randolph G. Howard

Randolph G. Howard, Jr., MHA, FACHE, has been named Chief Operating Officer at Catholic Health’s St. Catherine of Siena Hospital (SCSH). A retired army officer, Mr. Howard has 20 years of experience in healthcare administration.

In his new role, Mr. Howard will oversee SCSH’s daily hospital operational and administrative functions; design and implement business strategies; set comprehensive goals for performance and growth across all clinical services lines; and continue to ensure patient safety and patient satisfaction. 

“We are very fortunate to have Mr. Howard part of St. Catherine’s senior leadership team,” said SCSH President James O’Connor. “With extensive experience in hospital operations, system integration and facilities management, Mr. Howard has proven his steadfast leadership, strategic capital planning and keen decision-making skills in addressing various operational issues. As St. Catherine’s COO, Mr. Howard will further enhance our hospital’s mission in providing the highest quality of care to our patients.”

Prior to joining Catholic Health, the Centerport resident served as Northwell Health’s Senior Vice President, Corporate Facilities Services where he oversaw property management for 18 million square feet for all Northwell-affiliated hospitals, as well as over 800 non-hospital properties. 

Stock photo

St. Catherine of Siena Hospital, 50 Route 25A, Smithtown hosts a community blood drive by the New York Blood Center in St. Vincent’s and St. Raphael’s Conference Room on Monday, Aug. 8 and Tuesday, Aug. 9 from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. All presenting blood donors will receive a voucher to redeem a free pint of beer, cider, wine, or soft drink from a participating brewery or pub. Reservations preferred but walk-ins welcomed. Call 800-933-2566 or visit www.nybc.org to register.

Dominick Pernice. Photo from St. Catherine of Siena

Dominick Pernice, RT, MBA, has been named chief operating officer at Catholic Health’s St. Catherine of Siena Hospital (SCSH). For the past 13 years, Mr. Pernice has served as the administrative director of imaging services and cardiac catheterization at SCSH and St. Charles Hospital in Port Jefferson. 

In his new role, Mr. Pernice will oversee SCSH’s daily hospital operational and administrative functions; design and implement business strategies, plans and procedures; set comprehensive goals for performance and growth across all clinical services lines; and continue to ensure patient safety and patient satisfaction. 

“We are very fortunate to have Mr. Pernice as part of St. Catherine’s senior leadership team,” said James O’Connor, SCSH president. “Over Mr. Pernice’s long career at St. Catherine and St. Charles hospitals, he has proven his steadfast leadership, strategic planning and keen decision-making skills in addressing various operational issues. In addition, Mr. Pernice was instrumental in developing the imaging services at Ambulatory Care in Commack. As St. Catherine’s COO, Mr. Pernice will further enhance our hospital’s mission in providing the highest quality of care to our patients.”

Prior to joining Catholic Health, Mr. Pernice served as assistant director of radiology, supervisor of magnetic resonance imaging and ultrasound, evening imaging supervisor and radiologic technologist at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New Hyde Park. Mr. Pernice earned his Master of Business Administration at C.W. Post University and is a Six Sigma Green Belt. 

Photo from SBUH

In response to an easing of state regulations and their approach to patient care, area hospitals are relaxing restrictions about patient visitors.

Cheryl Miranda, director of Patient Experience at Huntington Hospital, has been planning the new visitation policy since the beginning of the month. Photo from Huntington Hospital

Starting this past Monday, Huntington Hospital will allow patients who do not have COVID-19 to have one visitor per day, between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. St. Charles and St. Catherine of Siena hospitals also allow one COVID-19 negative visitor per day during those same hours.

Huntington Hospital is responding to the medical, emotional and personal need its patients have for the support of family and friends during whatever health challenges they face.

“There is nothing like having your loved one at your bedside, holding your hand,” said Cheryl Miranda, director of Patient Experience at Huntington Hospital, which is a part of Northwell Health.

Family also provides helpful information, helping medical professionals know whether a patient’s behavior is different from normal

“As a nurse, I’ve always felt that family is part of the caregiving circle,” Miranda said. “The family knows their loved one better than anyone. They will help us provide better care.”

St. Charles Hospital and St. Catherine of Siena started allowing one hospital visitor per COVID-negative patient per day starting about four weeks ago.

Stony Brook is making several changes to its visitation policy.

As of April 1, the hospital is allowing two visitors for patients in labor and delivery, for pediatric patients and for patients in end-of-life situations. This will increase from one to two.

Patients receiving same day surgical procedures will also be allowed a patient visitor until a procedure begins. The visitor is required to wait outside during the procedure and then can return during the patient’s release from the hospital.

Inpatient child psychiatry will also allow a visitor, as will cancer center and outpatient offices.

Approved visitors to Stony Brook must wear a mask that covers their nose and mouth the entire time, will have symptom checks, including thermal scanning, will not be allowed outside the patient’s room, must maintain six feet of distance and must wash their hands on entering and leaving the room.

Hospitals had generally restricted most or all patient visitors over various periods in the last year amid the pandemic to limit the spread of COVID-19. Nurses throughout Long Island and the world have used tablets, phones and other technology to help their patients connect with family members, enabling them to see spouses, siblings, children, grandchildren and friends from hospital beds that often had them feeling isolated during their health battles.

Allowing visitors, who are still required to wear masks, will help hospitalized patients feel more normal and receive the kind of support that can brighten their day while shortening their hospital visit.

A hospital employee will screen patients on their way into the hospital, asking them questions about any possible symptoms and taking their temperature.

Visitors who are COVID-19 positive can’t enter. Additionally, visitors who come in from out of the state or whom they believe necessitates a screening will have a rapid swab.

“We are not asking everyone to be tested,” Miranda said.

The hospital is spreading the word about its new patient visitor policy by changing its on-hold messages, is sharing information on TV sets and is telling families directly during virtual visits that one person at a time can come to the hospital.

Patients can determine who visits, which includes family members and friends.

“There is nothing like having your loved one at your bedside, holding your hand.”

Cheryl Miranda

Miranda said the medical staff is well-prepared for an increase in visitors through the hospital.

“I don’t have to tell anybody in this building to follow precautions,” Miranda said. “We’ve all been through this for 13 months now and there isn’t anyone” who needs reminding about personal protective equipment, hand washing or social distancing.

Initially, Huntington Hospital workers will escort visitors to patient rooms, reminding them about safety policies.

During visits, patients and visitors are expected to wear masks. If a family member comes during mealtime or brings food, the patient can eat, but should do so at a safe distance.

Miranda, who has been at Huntington Hospital for 20 years, realizes the suffering patients and their families have endured during the pandemic.

“To tell someone they can’t be here is an awful, awful thing,” Miranda said. “My heart goes out to the families that haven’t been allowed to be here” and to the patients who “haven’t been able to have their loved ones at their side.”

Miranda has been planning this new visitation policy since the beginning of the month.

The hospital has learned numerous lessons about health care, including by providing virtual support for patients.

In addition to bereavement support groups, which have been particularly busy as families mark the one-year anniversary of the loss of a loved one, the hospital is adding a long-haul support group.

Starting on Thursday, April 8 at 2 p.m., Huntington Hospital will offer support to people who have a lingering cough, ongoing debilitating fatigue, body aches, joint pain, shortness of breath, loss of taste and smell, difficulty sleeping, headaches and brain fog.

People interested in joining that group can email Kacey Farber at [email protected].

Dr. Jean Cacciabaudo, associate medical director at Huntington Hospital and a cardiologist, will sit on the long haulers support meeting. Cacciabaudo, who had COVID-19 and has some long haulers symptoms, will attend not just for herself, but to provide the physician’s perspective.

Miranda said the bereavement support groups have helped family members amid a loss.

“It’s the beauty of humanity, when we reach out and help each other,” Miranda said. “There’s no magic solution for grief and loss. For some people, it’s just about remembering all the wonderful things they had when they had that person and sharing that with other people. It’s about not being isolated. That’s a big key.”

Stock photo

St. Catherine of Siena Hospital in Smithtown will host a community blood drive in its Medical Office Building, 48 Route 25, Lower Level Conference Rooms on Monday, March 8 and Tuesday, March 9 from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. To remain in compliance with the federal guidelines for social distancing, appointments are strongly recommended; walk-ins welcome. To make an appointment, please call 631-862-3523 or 800-933-BLOOD or visit www.nybc.org.

St. Catherine Chief Nursing Officer Mary Jane Finnegan gives a flu shot during a free mobile clinic at the end of September. Photo from St. Catherine hospital

They lost patients, sleep and time with their families and yet, through some of the most difficult conditions in over a century, they persevered, brought together by the shared goal of saving lives threatened by the pandemic.

The Times Beacon Record Newspapers is pleased to honor the health care workers who put themselves in harm’s way to offer comfort, cures and solutions for COVID-19.

State Sen. Jim Gaughran (D-Northport) described health care workers as “heroes beyond belief.” He added, “There are folks who have gotten sick and died, simply because they were just doing their jobs.”

Unusual Requests

Indeed, in some cases, these health care workers took on tasks that aren’t typically a part of their job description or training.

Tricia Coffey on the phone at Huntington Hospital. Photo from Coffey

Take Kristen Thomas, a registered nurse at Mather Hospital in Port Jefferson. A priest came up to her in the halls of the hospital to ask for an unusual favor. A person had died and the family, who couldn’t be by his side, asked for last rites. The priest knew he couldn’t enter the room.

He asked, “Would you mind taking holy water and anointing the patient?”

She approached the patient, made the sign of the cross and prayed, as the priest stood outside the door.

“A moment like that, you never really plan to do that,” Thomas said. “We tried to give the family a little bit of closure. They didn’t get to attend the normal [rituals].”

For the community and health care workers, normal took on new meaning, especially in the first few months of the pandemic, when Suffolk County became an epicenter of the virus.

With family unable to sit by the bedside, nurses often stepped up, holding up iPad and phones so the family could spend time together virtually.

Marilin Dilone, Emergency Department nurse at Stony Brook University Hospital, called the young family of one of her patients.

Marilin Dilone, emergency department nurse at SBUH decked in full PPE gear. Photo from SBUH

His wife “put the baby on the phone — the baby looked like he was maybe 10 months old. The baby was making noises. I swear [the patient] opened his eyes. The wife is crying. Such a moment, we take for granted. He could hear her say, ‘I love you.’ To be able to provide that was very humbling for me.”

Like Dilone and so many other nurses, Robert Collins, a nurse at Mather Hospital ,shared how he held an iPad up to patients whose conditions were deteriorating so they could say goodbye to their families.

He had to stay in the room because some of the patients couldn’t hold the iPad.

“You do that once or twice, it kind of sticks with you,” Collins said.

Deep Connections

The connections the medical staff made to the families of patients extended well beyond the typical interactions.

“We had patients for an extended period of time,” said Patricia Coffey, nurse manager of the Critical Care Unit at Huntington Hospital.

Coffey, who spent 11 weeks actively caring for patients as her managerial duties “went to the wayside,” said the staff talked to families for extended periods of time. She spoke with some families daily, spending as much as two-and-a-half hours each day on the phone.

The nurses felt like members of the family because the normal support system couldn’t provide bedside support.

“You were channeling the family to the patient,” Coffey said. The nurses were “rooting so hard” for the patients.

When one of those patients who was in the hospital died after a long battle, she said it was “unbelievably heartbreaking — you felt like one of your own family members had died.”

She still keeps in touch with family members.

Mather Nurse Robert Collins. Photo from Mather

Coffey said one of her neighbors was admitted to the hospital with COVID and was on her floor. Coffey’s children and her neighbor’s children grew up together and their daughters were friends.

She not only spoke with his wife every day during her 60-hour weeks, but she also called her coworkers over the weekend to ask how he was doing.

The conversations with the neighbor’s wife were “a little hard. I wanted to be honest with her. He was very critical. At the same time, I was trying to be hopeful. It was a hard balance.”

Coffey said he was “one of the lucky ones who survived.”

Dilone of SBUH described how the work was more physically demanding.

She would “try not to ask for people” as she didn’t want to expose others if it wasn’t necessary. “You are taking care of patients more by yourself, turning them and doing chest PT [physiotherapy] — it was physically more demanding,” Dilone said.

Dark Moments

Watching patients who died took its toll, even on people who have been in the medical profession for decades.

MaryJane Finnegan, chief nursing officer at St. Catherine of Siena Medical Center in Smithtown, described the unusually high number of people dying from the virus. The hospital was running out of space for the dead. The morgue was filled and an additional refrigeration truck outside also filled quickly.

Mather Nurse Kristen Thomas. Photo from Mather

“One day, eight people died — usually in a week, you can have eight people die, but not eight in a day,” Finnegan said.

Nikki Fiore-Lopez, chief nursing officer at St. Charles Hospital in Port Jefferson said a nurse was present for the death of her mentor. Watching her die was “one of the darkest moments” for the nurse, Fiore-Lopez said.

Many medical professionals encouraged their patients to fight through the worst of the virus.

Stony Brook’s Dilone stayed with a patient whose blood oxygen level kept dropping. She wouldn’t let him fall asleep because she was worried he’d get intubated. She reminded him of his family and that he needed to help himself.

“I felt like Nurse Ratched,” Dilone said, referring to the dreaded nurse from the movie “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.”

Dilone spent hours with this patient. Later, a doctor told her keeping the man awake prevented him from getting intubated.

Unexpected Challenges

With a virus no one had battled before, health care workers had to be flexible, learning about everything from new protocols for admitting patients to the latest and best treatments.

Chief Nursing Officer at St. Charles hospital Nikki Fiore-Lopez delivers flowers to patients at Christmas with Foundation Board Chair member Doug Casimir in 2019. Photo from St. Charles

The staff had to confront the “speed with which everything changed,” said Dr. Eric Morley, associate professor and clinical director in the Department of Emergency Medicine at Stony Brook University’s Renaissance School of Medicine. “Every day, there were new protocols, new ways to deal with things.”

Hospitals had to create a forward triage system to deal with the flood of COVID patients amid all the other potential emergencies hospitals routinely have.

These efforts required hundreds of employees to “get on the same people to sort people out,” Morley said. Training staff to manage the flow of patients required constant communication.

Even some of the smaller elements of managing the crisis took Morley’s time, such as getting new traffic signs to direct people to an alternate site.

Hospital managers were continually confronted with numerous unexpected challenges.

Ken Roberts, president of Mather Hospital, said the hospital had to ensure the PPE was hospital grade and not counterfeit.

“There were a lot of suspicious and unscrupulous suppliers when supply and demand was unbalanced, and everyone was in crisis,” he explained in an email.

Health care workers tapped into their personal skills to connect with patients.

Angel Figueroa, a registered respiratory therapist at SBUH who grew up in New York City and learned Spanish thanks to his Puerto Rican heritage, walked into some rooms and spoke Spanish to patients.

When he greeted patients in Spanish, “I would see their eyes open up [and think], ‘Somebody understands me.’”

They would ask him numerous questions, particularly because the medical information came at them so quickly. 

Mather’s Collins described how the routine changed so dramatically the moment he arrived at work.

Mather President Ken Roberts holds a sign thanking health care workers. Photo from Mather

“Rapid response bells were going off as soon as you walked in,” he said. “You didn’t take your coat off” before patients needed attention. “People were not doing well. That was happening more frequently than before. That was an adjustment.”

On the other side of the struggle, health care workers felt a tremendous sense of relief when patients continued their recoveries at home.

“When people were discharged, the staff was thrilled,” St. Catherine’s Finnegan said. “We’d play the [Beatles] song, ‘Here Comes the Sun.’ A lot of hospitals did that. People would gather as many as possible to wish the person well as they were wheeled out.”


Through the difficulties, though, Morley appreciated the support from the community and the families, along with the teamwork and camaraderie from so many departments and staff that all pulled together.

Roberts expressed similar sentiments.

“I was extremely pleased at the teamwork displayed by all hospital staff during the height of the pandemic,” he said.

The Mather president was also grateful for the letters, cards, donated meals, handmade masks and donated PPE.

“The local communities we serve gave us and continue to give us tremendous support and encouragement,” Roberts said. “That has meant so much to the staff to know that the community was supporting them and recognizing their efforts.”

Stony Brook Respiratory Therapist Angel Figueroa wearing mask and shield. Photo from SBUH

Coffey, from Huntington Hospital, was impressed with how, even amid such extraordinary and challenging times, numerous groups collaborated.

“In many ways there were positive things — the community, the team, everyone working together,” she said. “Parts of it were so uplifting. As hard and as difficult and sad and heart wrenching [as it was], so many other parts, you just saw such humanity. It was amazing.” 

Lasting Thoughts

Finnegan said the staff was incredibly appreciative of all the food local restaurants donated.

In fact, some of them joke that they gained the “COVID-19,” referring to the weight they put on while they were working numerous shifts and benefiting from all the donated food.

Morley “rediscovered” Twinkies during COVID in the break room. He has since been able to lose the weight the snack cakes added.

While gyms were closed, Collins relieved stress by buying a 400-pound tractor-trailer tire that he flipped up and down along his driveway. He also took a sledgehammer and “beat on it.”

The exertion would make him tired enough that the stress would dissipate for the day.

Dr. Eric Morley from SBU participates in COVID testing. Photo from SBU

Ultimately, what made an ever-expanding job — that affected so many aspects of health care workers’ personal and professional lives — manageable was the shared sense of purpose and the inspiration people drew from each other.

“The fact that the staff was out there doing it” helped give her energy, St. Charles’ Fiore-Lopez said. “We had patients to care for, we had shifts. We had days and weeks and months to get through. They put one foot in front of the other and I needed to do the same.”

Morley appreciated the way the Stony Brook staff pulled together during an intense and challenging time.

“Although it was grueling, it was a special thing to go through with that group of people,” he said.