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Sherri Stahl's labor of love evolves into role as senior leader

Sherri Stahl's labor of love evolves into role as senior leader

WellSpan Chambersburg Hospital has been a part of Sherri Stahl's life since day one.

"I was born in this hospital and it feels like I never left," said Stahl as she reflected on decades of her career which includes volunteerism, nursing, and leadership at the same entity.

As WellSpan celebrates the contributions of women to events in history and the world today during Women's History Month, Stahl's journey exemplifies her commitment to healthcare and dedication to empowering those around her.

Stahl, senior vice president of WellSpan Health, who leads operations and enhancements in Franklin and Adams counties, takes great pride in WellSpan's intentional efforts to promote women in healthcare, specifically leadership.

"I feel like healthcare has always been ahead of maybe the rest of the world as it pertains to women in leadership positions, and I feel WellSpan is even ahead of that curve," Stahl said.

"The door is wide open for women aspiring to be leaders at WellSpan and I encourage them to take that next step."

Love at first sight

Stahl opened doors throughout her career by working tirelessly, embracing change and committing to patient care as a bedside nurse.

Her path into healthcare began as a teen when her mother enrolled her as a candy striper at Chambersburg Hospital. She recalls being in awe of the atmosphere around her and admiring the nurses in action.

Filling water pitchers and answering call bells was Stahl's first exposure to patients. While she admits that she had some anxiety about it as a young teen, she immediately knew that she wanted to pursue a nursing degree after high school.

"Once I knew my parents were going to give me the opportunity at a four-year degree, I just went for it," Stahl said.

Stahl spent 15 years at the bedside of patients before holding various leadership roles, including clinical manager, care coordinator, director of patient services, and senior vice president patient services/chief nursing officer.

"There was nothing more rewarding for me than the 15 years I put in at the bedside," said Stahl, who has always challenged herself to do the right thing.

"As a nurse I gained empathy and when it comes to some challenges I have faced as a leader, I can always relate back to the patient care side of it because I walked in those shoes."

Stahl's leadership roles began at former Summit Health, but she says merging with WellSpan has led to partnering with more leaders who have diverse backgrounds and experiences.

She added that being part of a bigger organization has lent itself to differing points of view which have helped her become a better leader.

"For me, it has always been about the relationships. No leader can be successful without great people around them and I have been fortunate throughout my career to have developed relationships with a lot of great people," Stahl said.  

Stahl is credited with bringing telemedicine services to Critical Care Unit patients at both Chambersburg Hospital and Waynesboro Hospital by leading an initiative with Mercy Virtual Care. She also led the implementation of the first electronic medical record system at both hospitals.

Even with those experiences and successes under her belt, she says that none of it would have been possible without courage.

"You must have the courage to dream about what you might want to do differently and then be able to visualize it. And once you can visualize yourself doing something different, then you need to have the courage to step into it," Stahl explained.