Camille Kaldahl knew she wanted to work in healthcare when she graduated from college. But she couldn’t have imagined she’d be managing the opening of a 193,000 square foot hospital just a few years later.
Kaldahl is one of the residents in AdventHealth’s Emerging Leaders Program, a three-year residency program for college graduates interested in a career in healthcare.
Residents can work alongside leaders at all levels, including two executive mentors that provide guidance during the program. They also receive leadership development training that aligns with the organization’s mission-focused culture.
Kaldahl had always considered working in healthcare but wasn’t sure in what capacity. During her college years at Union College in Nebraska, Kaldahl was drawn to leadership roles. She was involved in sports, serving as captain of the Union College women’s basketball team, and other leadership roles at the school.
While at Union College, AdventHealth representatives came to recruit students for their internship program.
“My professor tapped me on the shoulder and said, ‘You should interview with AdventHealth,’” Kaldahl said. “She said it would be a good interview experience either way and if I got it, great.”
Kaldahl interviewed and was accepted in the internship program. She held summer internships at AdventHealth Orlando in Florida and then at AdventHealth Shawnee Mission in Kansas. During this second internship, things began to change dramatically for her.
As part of her work, she developed a detailed guide for opening a new hospital. Her work impressed Robin Harrold, vice president of the ambulatory network, and he offered her a position as ambulatory network analyst at AdventHealth Shawnee Mission. Kaldahl worked in that role from 2018 to 2020 and took on bigger responsibilities, including managing the opening of the AdventHealth College Boulevard ER in the south side of Kansas City.
When she started as a management resident in 2020, she knew she wanted to be a part of the new hospital opening project. At the time, plans were underway to open AdventHealth South Overland Park, the first full-size hospital with comprehensive services to open in the Kansas City area in 15 years.
She shared her interest with Alan Verrill, MD, president and CEO at AdventHealth South Overland Park. He suggested she take on the role of project manager for the AdventHealth South Overland Park hospital slated to open October 2021.
“I knew I wanted to be a part of that project, not fully grasping the extent of what it would involve,” she says. “But I wanted to be there to see it through. How many people can say they were part of opening a hospital?”
As project manager, Kaldahl oversaw all the details and logistics of the opening, including managing equipment, furniture and artwork installation. She also helped develop marketing materials, hospital policies and procedures and project documentation.
“We really had to build everything from scratch,” she says. “There are so many things we take for granted when a facility has been there for years. We didn’t have phone directories, marketing materials—needed resources that had to be created.”
Timing was also a challenge due to the pandemic. Much of the planning happened in 2020 and 2021, under stringent COVID-19 safety guidelines and restrictions.
“We couldn’t get furniture in the waiting room because of supply issues, so we ended up having to rent furniture,” she says. “It was a constant ‘one step forward and two steps back’ process.”
But while it was a stressful time, Camille thinks back fondly of the camaraderie between the team and the sense of mission.
“During those last three months of opening, we leaned on each other,” she says. “We were checking in with each other, and I know we succeeded because of the teamwork we had and the strong leadership with Dr. Verrill.”
Today, Kaldahl is continuing in the residency program, working on strategic business development for AdventHealth Shawnee Mission. In this new role, she helps with data analytics, market share, opportunities for partnerships and more.
“There’s a lot of growth in our region, and I’m excited for the potential of what that can be,” she says. “I’m hoping I’ll be able to help our team continue to grow our business.”
For Kaldahl, the most rewarding part of the leadership program has been the connections she’s built with people. “From the beginning here, it’s felt like family, and a culture that really wants you to succeed and grow,” she says.
For more information about AdventHealth Shawnee Mission, visit AdventHealthKC.com.