As a nurse in the New England Baptist Hospital operating room, Stefanie Sorrentino, RN,BSN,CNOR,CN3 has cared for countless patients, but always knew she wanted to do something more. “I joined the military looking for new challenges. I like helping people and I knew there would never a dull moment,” said Stefanie.
In 2012, Stefanie was commissioned as a captain in the Air Force Reserves, 439 Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron (AES) at Westover Air Force Base in Chicopee, MA as a flight nurse. She has gone through extensive Air Force training for the past two and a half years.
Throughout her training, there have been many times when she was asked to abruptly take time off from her duties in the NEBH operating room to travel and participate in training and drills. “I know how challenging that is for my department,” says Stefanie. “It disrupts the whole schedule. But my boss and the staff have always been so supportive. Every time I go out the door, I have the same job and title waiting for me when I come back. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate that.”
On May 5, 2015, Stefanie put all of her training to work when she was deployed to Qatar for Operation Enduring Freedom & Operation Freedom Sentinel. While deployed, she participated in 15 total missions, transporting and providing nursing care for all types of patients during aeromedical evacuation and airlift flights.
On August 17-18, 2015, during a mission transporting 13 patients from Qatar to Erbil, Iraq, then to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, Germany, Stefanie wanted to honor the Baptist for all the support she has received. “I flew the flag in honor of NEBH to recognize how supportive of my military commitment everyone has been. A lot of employers have given my fellow military members a hard time. When I hear their stories, and then reflect on what I have, I feel really lucky and fortunate for my situation at NEBH. Supportive supervisors and employers are critical to maintaining the strength and readiness of the nation's National Guard and Reserve units. ”
“To have a flag that was flown on a mission for NEBH by Stefanie is a tremendous honor,” said Trish Hannon, President and CEO of New England Baptist Hospital. “We are proud to support Stefanie, and thank her and all veterans for faithfully serving our country.”
Now back at the Baptist and in the OR, Stefanie looks forward to caring for her patients. “I come from a family of immigrants, and this country has given my family and I so many opportunities. I knew joining the military would give me another chance to give back and do what I do best, which is taking care of patients.”