Just before her senior year at Arizona State University, Cindy Stahl, B.S.N., R.N., accepted a summer job at City of Hope.
“I was a nursing student, about to graduate, and this research position sounded interesting,” she recalled. “It turns out I spent my time doing literature searches and analyzing qualitative data as the first student working with Marcia Grant, Ph.D., and Betty Ferrell, Ph.D., on their quality-of-life study.”
She returned to City of Hope after graduation, and although she had enjoyed the research, she had found her true niche: oncology nursing.
“Nursing puts so many opportunities in front of you. I love new experiences, and I wanted to try all the options available.”
Her career began on a medical oncology unit. Then Stahl spent three years as a nurse educator before moving to informatics when the department was looking for nurses to join the team. She worked closely with clinical researchers as a systems analyst and helped develop clinical trials. “People here are giving and very willing to teach you and open doors for you. They want you to enjoy what you do.”
After 20 years, she said, “I think I have tried almost every category of nursing. I’ve been part-time, full-time. I’ve worked in various capacities. I’ve even tried home health care and case management to close gaps in my knowledge of the full patient experience.”
“I’m drawn to keeping patient contact in my work,” admitted Stahl, “so I would go back and forth between leadership and bedside care.”
These days, Stahl finds her wide experience useful as chair of the Nursing Coordinating Council, the top level of the City of Hope Division of Nursing’s Shared Decision Making structure. The council is helping the Division of Nursing as it pursues Magnet designation from the American Nurses Credentialing Center, and works on issues such as supporting outcomes improvement, nurse engagement and patient initiatives.
She also still works with patients, now in the outpatient clinic for those patients with ventricular assist devices to help support heart function. “It’s so nice to feel you can make an impact,” she said of her City of Hope career. “I am so happy I’ve had this wonderful, varied life as a caregiver. I can’t imagine doing anything differently.”