Compassion is Stephanie Ingrassia’s guiding principle. So when she was assigned as a case manager for Shara Sosa, a mom of three battling cancer for a second time, Stephanie knew she would do everything in her power to help.
“Whenever I was worried about something not working out, I would reach out to Stephanie and she was on it,” Shara says. “She provided a level of comfort for me that no one else on my health care team offered. We’ve never met in person, but you would think when we speak to each other that we’re long-lost friends.”
Stephanie describes herself as an “old-school nurse,” having held hospital positions as a clinician, supervisor and manager. She joined Aetna in 1999 as a case manager, offering members a single, trusted point of contact as they navigate treatment options and insurance coverage for a variety of conditions. We asked her about her favorite health tips, her ambitions — and the most fulfilling moment of her career.
Q: What motivated you to become a nurse?
A: I knew in my heart that I always wanted to help people. It might have something to do with my role in my family — I’m the oldest of six children. Also, my dad was a surgical corpsman in World War II, and he always talked about his experiences working with patients. That interested me when I was growing up.
Q: What would you like people to learn from Shara’s story?
A: Shara is a person of faith, openness and love.
Q: What word do people most often use to describe you?
A: I hope they describe me as kind.
Q: What’s the best piece of health advice you ever received?
A: Be your own keeper, and take care of yourself.
Q: Who do you admire most in the world?
A: My parents.
Q: What do you do to de-stress or unwind?
A: I love my twin grandsons, who are now 8 months old. Playing with them is the best.
Q: Where is your favorite place?
A: Padre Pio shrine in Barto, Pennsylvania.
Q: What has been your most fulfilling professional moment?
A: When I worked in acute care, I received a Florence Nightingale award. It was unexpected and very gratifying.
Q: What is your health ambition?
A: To keep going until I can’t go anymore.
Emily Leland is a writer and marketing professional living in Charleston, SC. Her goal is more exercise, less caffeine and finding balance as a working mom.
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