The Importance of Caring – My Journey into Health Care: Shari Stahl

By Ashley Strehle Hartman, freelance writer
for Columbus Community Hospital  – Columbus, Nebraska
Published on the Columbus Community Hospital website, December 2019

Shari Stahl is new to her position as director of Health Information Management (HIM) but she is not new to Columbus Community Hospital (CCH).

Stahl has been in her director position about six months, but she has spent 31 years in the HIM (or medical records) department at CCH. She started working as a transcriptionist a few weeks before she graduated from college and has been at CCH ever since.

Despite her long tenure in the health care field, that hadn’t been Stahl’s initial career plan. She had started out with an undeclared major in college, then switched to family rehab/counseling before she switched gears and decided on a medical office major.

“A teacher of mine actually got me interested in working in a medical clinic or hospital office as she had debated between doing that or becoming a business teacher, and I later thought it sounded like something I would enjoy,” Stahl said.

Over her years in the HIM department, Stahl has been able to serve a wide variety of medical office roles. She has been responsible for the cancer registry and some of the outpatient coding and prior to becoming the department’s director, she was the lead transcriptionist.

When the department director position became available, Stahl decided to take on that role as well.

“All of my years of experience in the HIM department and knowing all the staff and how great they are to work with and how great they are at their jobs, led me to the decision to take on the director position,” she said.

As director, Stahl oversees the operations of the HIM department and its staff which consists of medical coders, clerks, transcriptionists, a chart analyst and a data abstractor. The department is in charge of the release of information, the processing of birth certificates, the cancer registry, and the accumulation and analysis of data and stats for reporting purposes.

Despite all of her years in the department, Stahl said she has learned even more about the department since becoming its director.

“Even though I have worked in the same department for over 31 years, there are many behind-the-scenes aspects of the job that I was not completely aware of, and each and every day is a learning experience,” she said.

The position has also allowed Stahl to work with some CCH staff in new ways.

“Even though I’ve known many of the employees, and some for many years, I’ve gotten the opportunity to work more closely with some of them the last few months and look forward to continuing to work with them and for Columbus Community Hospital,” she said.

Stahl is happy to work for CCH, in part, because the organization is very supportive of its employees and she has experienced this support herself.

“CCH is very good about giving employees the opportunity to grow in the workplace,” she said. “Everyone at CCH has been very supportive and helpful during my transition into this new position.”

For more information on Stahl and how CCH supports its new and long-term employees, visit