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Learning to Be a Leader

MMHC prepares ED director for wider role

Stacy Langford
Director of Emergency Services, Huntsville Hospital

Vanderbilt MM Healthcare 2015

For the past year, Stacy Langford has directed an emergency department that serves more than 80,000 patients annually and includes a Level I trauma center, a stroke-certified center and chest pain center. With 13 years of experience—she worked her way up from treating minor emergencies to trauma care to triage coordinator, clinical charge nurse, ED nurse manager and now Director—she is “very comfortable with the hands-on aspect of patient care.”

But, she adds, “I am an Emergency Department nurse at heart with zero background in the business world.” So Stacy was excited, after being identified by management as one of her hospital’s emerging leaders, when she was selected to complete the Master of Management in Health Care program at Vanderbilt.

She knew the program, which involved a weekly commute between Huntsville and Nashville and a difficult academic regimen, would require her to juggle a very busy, 24-hour emergency services operation. If anything, she says the program has been more challenging than she initially imagined—and even more rewarding.

Along with “the business side of emergency medicine”—she cites operations management and skills with Excel spreadsheets, for example—Stacy credits the program with helping her improve her abilities in ways that might seem less predictable for a health care management program. “The sessions with my executive coach have been invaluable,” she says. “She was able to dig deep to help me understand inner weaknesses that could cause challenges in my career, and she helped me identify skills to build on my strengths, to prepare me to be a highly influential leader in my organization. The program is out-of-the-box exciting!”