As a nationally recognized leader in business and healthcare, PK Scheerle, RN ‘80 has always led with her heart, head, and hands.
From a young age, Scheerle’s passion for nursing and desire to make a difference came from watching others in action, particularly those who assisted her mother who passed away from a brain tumor when PK was 16 years old.
“I watched the care she got and was inspired by the good nurses,” she explained. “It was my passion then and has remained my passion today.”
A graduate of the Castleton School of Nursing and the Executive Program at Harvard Business School, Scheerle’s background in healthcare, marketing, finance, and management made for a perfect combination to feed her drive and entrepreneurial spirit.
In 1982, she founded American Nursing Services, Inc., one of the country's most successful supplemental staffing agencies. By the time she sold the company in 2002, it had expanded to 28 different locations.
“We wanted to reinvent the work of a nurse,” she said, adding that her time growing the business in an ever-evolving healthcare industry consisted of long days, and even longer nights.
Scheerle joined Gifted Healthcare in December 2009 and currently serves as CEO and Executive Chairman of the company. Headquartered in New Orleans, Louisiana, Gifted Healthcare is a private, in-home care, and staff relief service that specialize in supplying highly-skilled, experienced, and compassionate care through regional offices in Louisiana, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and nationally through its travel nurse division.
“I missed the action of running a company,” she stated. "Future leaders in any business in any country need to become very good at being innovative and creative."
Throughout her career, Scheerle has received numerous civic, business, and professional awards. She is the founder of the Great 100 Nurses Celebration, a program that recognizes and honors exceptional nurses. She has received the Humanitarian of the Year award from the Southeast Chapter of the American Red Cross, and the American Business Ethics Award from the Society of Financial Service Professionals. She has been inducted into the Junior Achievement Business Hall of Fame and was named one of City Business’ Women of the Year Award for three consecutive years.
Her position as a community leader continues with her newest venture, Nurses Everywhere, a nonprofit organization dedicating to improving access to nursing care. The organization features over a dozen industry leaders from across the country including nurse researchers, national nursing organization leaders, and nationally known nurse executives.
It is her Castleton degree that Scheerle credits with laying the foundation for her professional career.
She spoke fondly of the many mentors and influences she gaining during her Castleton experience including her professors and the Vermont outdoors, as well as a long-lasting friendship with her Castleton dormitory roommate and current business partner Margaret Candon ’80.
“We both gained our love of learning from Castleton,” said Scheerle, who holds education and innovation in high regards and financially put herself through school. “My professors were beacons of light.”
When asked where she gained her drive and ability to lead, PK spoke on the importance of challenging one’s self daily, turning passions into careers, and finding support in others.
“Surround yourself with people who are cheerleaders and inspire you to do better,” she explained, adding “Embrace creative abrasion.”