• Toni Milbourne email@example.com
MARTINSBURG — The board of directors of Hospice of the Panhandle has announced that Nikki Bigiarelli, chief clinical officer for the agency, has been named as the new CEO.
Bigiarelli will begin the transition from her current position into the role of CEO on Monday, as she works alongside outgoing CEO Margaret Cogswell until June 1.
“Margaret is a legacy leader and is leaving us in such a great place,” Bigiarelli said this week.
Cogswell has worked for and led Hospice of the Panhandle for 36 years.
Bigiarelli is ready for the challenge of leading Hospice as it continues to provide quality care and services to the community. Her goal is to continue to promote and expand upon the mission of Hospice moving forward into constantly changing times.
Currently, the mission is to provide compassionate care to those with life-limiting illness and assist their families and caregivers. Through doing so, Hospice of the Panhandle will continue to be a leader and innovator in end-of-life and palliative care.
“The hospice world is constantly changing,” Bigiarelli said, sharing that with the changes, the local organization will work to expand and grow their current mission. “Palliative care will be expanded.
“The bottom line is to help more people,” she added, saying that the continual challenge is and has been to assure individuals that hospice care is not “the last resort” for the final days of someone’s life. “We are serving people longer, and people don’t know all that we have to offer. People so often are treated as their disease rather than as human beings. We treat them as human beings, and the work we do is so incredibly important.”
Bigiarelli is not new to the Hospice of the Panhandle organization. She has served as the agency’s chief clinical officer since last May, as well as clinical director, assistant clinical director and a nurse manager before taking the COO job. She has been a nurse at Hospice of the Panhandle since 2010 and began her career at Berkeley Medical Center in 2008 as a primary nurse and charge nurse in the progressive care unit.
“I knew from Day 1 working at this organization that this is where I want to be,” Bigiarelli said, sharing that she submitted her name for consideration for the CEO position in October of last year.
The search process was a nationwide one that extended over several months. The board of directors wanted to ensure that it did its due diligence in searching for the next leader of Hospice of the Panhandle.
Bigiarelli shared that she believed there were more than 100 applicants.
“I am happy to announce that as a result of a nationwide, intensive search, that Nikki has been chosen to be our next CEO,” announced Rev. G.T. Schramm, chair of the board of directors. “Nikki’s dedication and love for Hospice of the Panhandle is well known, as are her competency and leadership skills.”
“I will continue to do all I can to advocate for this organization. We are the experts in care, and I will continue to work to eliminate any misconceptions about Hospice,” she said. “We are well-equipped and knowledgeable as well as extensively trained.
“People who work here, who volunteer here, all have a story and love telling them,” Bigiarelli said. “The patients also have stories, and their stories don’t just stop because they have entered hospice care.”
Bigiarelli used words like honor and humbled when talking about her new role.
“I probably cried for days when I found out I was selected,” Bigiarelli said. “I am so humbled, and it will be an honor to lead this organization alongside so many.”