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Sharp Health News

How a hospital CEO finds balance

Aug. 16, 2016

How a hospital CEO finds balance

Susan Stone, senior vice president and chief executive officer of Sharp Coronado Hospital, has been with Sharp HealthCare for 30 years. She has held numerous leadership positions, including chief nursing officer for two of Sharp’s hospitals. She also oversees the hospital-based clinical laboratory services across the system.

She recently answered five questions about how she balances a busy professional and personal life.

We all have heard how important it is for our mental health and work productivity to maintain work/life balance. But what about the importance of giving back to others? 
At Sharp, we know that we continually give to others on a daily basis. We all “heard our calling” and chose this career for a reason: we like to help others and take care of our community. But it’s important to ask yourself, “How do I create a legacy and give back?” Even if that time giving back takes place in the hours away from your workplace.

How do you give back? 
I especially like to help newer nurses as they negotiate their career paths. I like to ask, where are you going and what pathways do you envision you’ll need to take to get there? Then I share my own career path — from my educational background, the early years as a nurse, to working at Sharp Memorial Hospital as a nursing assistant and new graduate RN to my role as CEO of Sharp Coronado.

Is it true you always knew you wanted to be a Sharp nurse? 
Yes. During my student nursing rotations, I witnessed how the Sharp nursing team embodied the nursing professional practice at its finest. As nursing researchers were actively involved in gathering evidence on ways to advance clinical guidelines, nurses at the bedside were encouraged to advance through the nursing ranks and become involved in decision making, in partnership with nursing leaders. Where I am today is an example of hard work and receiving mentorship from experienced nurses along the way.

How can others get started in giving back, when they don’t know how or where to start? 
For many of you, you already give your time and energy to your church, volunteer organizations and good causes. Thank you. For those who want to give back but aren’t sure where to start, ask yourself: what kinds of activities make me happy? Or are there communities that need more support? Start there. Or ask your friends or family members for ideas. Involve your family members so they, too, can help others in need of your time or knowledge.

For me, the energy spent being of service to others comes back exponentially. Working with my community in the Serra Mesa Food Pantry, providing assistance to young service families, the elderly and people who are in transitional crisis, reminds me to be grateful for the many blessings in my life.

What about quality time with family when you’re away from work?
Spending time together with family and adventure traveling keep me energized and excited about life. Whether bareboating (navigating and operating a sailboat) in St. Lucia, or scuba diving in Hawaii or Antigua, the ocean helps to ground, refresh and renew my body, mind and spirit.

Also, work/life balance should include having fun within your social circle, with your extended family or in your church. When you get involved or serve other people, you feel rewarded in ways that are hard to explain. You also get a better perspective of your own life. You’ll bring joy to others who appreciate your energy and time.

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