Thursday, 17 June 2021 15:44

Advanced nurse practitioners join FirstHealth Palliative Care team

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Pam Christaldi and Kristen Bilinski. Pam Christaldi and Kristen Bilinski. FirstHealth

PINEHURST — FirstHealth’s Palliative Care program recently welcomed advanced nurse practitioners Kristen Bilinski and Pam Christaldi to the team. 


Bilinski and Christaldi join a dedicated team of palliative medicine certified physicians, nurses, social workers and patient representatives with FirstHealth Palliative Care. 

Bilinski earned Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in Nursing degrees from the University of Louisville, and she most recently worked as an emergency department nurse practitioner with Sandhills Emergency Physicians. 

In her role with FirstHealth Palliative Care, Bilinski said she is looking forward to treating much more than just a disease. 

“I chose to pursue palliative care after leaving the emergency room because it gives me the chance to place emphasis on the patient and not just the disease,” she said. “Palliative medicine will allow me to focus on relieving suffering while being present for the patients and their families.” 

In her role with FirstHealth Palliative Care, Bilinski will see patients in Pinehurst and Rockingham. 

With more than 18 years of experience serving patients in the Sandhills, Christaldi’s arrival to FirstHealth Palliative Care brings her back home in a way. She worked as a nurse at Moore Regional Hospital in 1992 and at FirstHealth Hospice from 1997 to 2001.  

“I do feel like I have come full circle,” she said of her return to FirstHealth. 

Christaldi earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from UNC-Greensboro and a Master of Science in Nursing at UNC-Chapel Hill. Since 2003, she has served patients as an adult nurse practitioner with Pinehurst Medical Clinic. 

Palliative care helps patients with a chronic or serious illness including cancer, heart disease, lung disease, stroke, kidney disease, Alzheimer's disease and more. Palliative care can help relieve suffering and improve quality of life for patients and their family members. 

“I think what draws most of us to palliative care is more of a ‘calling,’” Christaldi said. “I can have an impact in providing the support to patients and their families and help with symptom management.”

In her role with FirstHealth Palliative Care, Christaldi will see patients in Pinehurst. 

Palliative care is offered along with all other appropriate medical treatments. The focus is on the needs of the patient whether those needs concern pain and symptom control, counseling, spiritual needs or coordinating links to other community services.

FirstHealth palliative care services are offered in the hospital and in outpatient clinics at 305 Page Road in Pinehurst and 921 S. Long Drive in Rockingham.  Palliative care is also offered in select skilled nursing or assisted living facilities.

Patients or family members may request a referral to FirstHealth Palliative Care by calling (910) 715-6000. For more information on FirstHealth Hospice and Palliative Care, visit www.firsthealth.org/hospice