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Driven to Care

June 29, 2022 Posted in: Patients & Providers


Mount Sterling native Shelly Sanders, APRN, FNP-C, manager of the CHI Saint Joseph Health – Cancer Care Center at Saint Joseph Mount Sterling, decided as a high school sophomore that she wanted to be a nurse, but not because of something she learned in a classroom.

“A good friend’s mom was a nurse,” Sanders said. “When I would stay at my friend’s house, her mom would come home from work and tell stories about what she did that day. That intrigued me.”

A Challenging Path

After Sanders became a nurse, she joined Saint Joseph Mount Sterling in 1998. Since then, she has served in a variety of clinical and managerial roles. Her professional journey also included considerable adversity.

“Eleven years ago, my husband died suddenly, and I had four kids to raise while working on my bachelor’s degree,” Sanders said. “I finished my degree, waited a couple of years and then decided to go back to school to become a nurse practitioner. I had great support from family and friends, and I give all glory to God for getting me to where I am now.”

Sanders has been caring for patients with cancer since 2017, shortly after she became a nurse practitioner.

Local Cancer Care Expands

Saint Joseph Mount Sterling has been home to an oncology clinic for 10 years, but cancer services have expanded since Sanders began. The Cancer Care Center, which features chemotherapy, hematology services, social services, dietary consultations and genetic counseling, hosts a medical oncologist three days per week.

Sanders said she really enjoys building relationships with patients — she sees them for follow-up appointments and chemotherapy education — and delivering care that takes the whole person into account. Her commitment to the people in her care earned her the 2021 Advanced Practice Provider of the Year awards for Saint Joseph Mount Sterling and all of CHI Saint Joseph Health.

“I was surprised and humbled by the recognition, but I don’t do this job for awards,” Sanders said. “I do it because I love my work, hospital and community. The awards were icing on the cake, and I’m so appreciative. I’ve worked hard to get to this position.”

Some Well-Deserved Personal Time

Traveling and spending time with family, including her two young grandchildren, are favorite pastimes for Sanders, and this summer, she’ll do both during one special trip. In June, Sanders will wed her fiancé, with whom she shares a farm — and a love of exploring new places.

“I love to spend my free time traveling and going to the beach, when I get the opportunity, especially with my family,” she said.

The newlyweds will spend their honeymoon in Puerto Rico, and a dozen family members will be by their side.

A version of this article originally appeared in the Spring 2022 print edition of Spirit of Health.

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