It is a pleasure to present the first inaugural belle of Belles of Steel, who describes herself as anything but that! Please meet PK Scheerle. Ms. Scheerle, a Registered Nurse with a clinical background in pediatric intensive care, is a self-made entrepreneur who saw a need in the nursing industry to keep experienced and talented nurses at the bedside. By utilizing her remarkable vision and tremendous determination she created one of the nation’s leading nurse supplemental staffing companies.
P.K. Scheerle, RN, a graduate of the Executive Program of Harvard Business School in 1991, founded American Nursing Services (ANS), a privately held, highly successful nurse staffing company in 1982. Under her direction, the company grew from five employees to over 3,000 employees with locations in 12 states providing local nurse staffing, travel nurses, therapists and private duty nurses. The idea for starting the company literally came one night after a group of nurses went out for early morning cocktails at Riverbend in New Orleans for a gab session. She and her colleagues were watching fellow nurses leave the bedside in droves; feeling powerless and voiceless in a healthcare system with no leverage. Talking over drinks, her colleagues discussed starting their own staffing agency with nurses who were the best at the bedside. Nurses with passion and intelligence who wanted to be there; providing outstanding care to patients. According to P.K., she was the only one brave enough in the group to go to the bank and sign a note. “I didn’t know what I didn’t know” she laughed, referring to the challenges and risks in running her own business.
During her 24 year tenure at the helm, ANS received numerous awards including the American Business Ethics Award from the Society of Financial Service Professionals, a Top 100 Business by New Orleans CityBusiness for eleven consecutive years, and America’s Top 500 Women Owned Business by Working Women’s Magazine.
Ms. Scheerle has and continues to serve on numerous for profit and not-for-profit boards. She has also received many awards for contributions to the community and the nursing profession including, but not limited to, the Humanitarian of the Year Award from the Southeast Chapter of the American Red Cross, induction into the Junior Achievement Business Hall of Fame, the Boggs-Bourque Woman of Distinction Award, and the New Orleans CityBusiness Women of the Year Award for three consecutive years. She also served as Chairman of the Young Presidents Organization for Louisiana and served on their Southern Regional Board.
In addition, Ms. Scheerle continues to be in great demand as a consultant and speaker for businesses, entrepreneurships and value creation. Additionally, she is regularly sought after and relied upon for her expertise by successful CEO’s. P.K. is married to Bruce Bolyard and they have three daughters and a son.
P.K. attributes her success to the hundreds of incredible men and women in leadership who were “a little older and a little smarter” than she, but who were willing to share their kindness and guidance to a young pioneer striking out on her own. “I never missed an opportunity to pay it forward with networking. A hand written thank you note, a contact or connection for another colleague. My shoebox full of business cards was never out of my reach.”
Ms. Scheerle doesn’t consider herself to be a Belle of Steel she believes that she is “just like every other self-made entrepreneur, blessed to create a better world.” In her case, “better patient care for people I don’t even know.” She remarks, “A rising tide lifts all ships.” P.K. founded “The Great 100 Nurses” Celebration in Louisiana – a program that recognizes and honors the top nurses in the profession. It has now been modeled in numerous other states.
Five years from now, Ms. Scheerle hopes to still be running Gifted Nurses, Inc her current firm which provides programs by which nurses design initiatives to decrease costs within healthcare. Yet, increase patient satisfaction and quality of care. She strongly affirms that our burgeoning elderly population needs to make informed choices about the astronomical and oft times futile healthcare expenditures which occur during their last few months in life. “Nurses are high on the food chain. They need to work collaboratively with physicians to reform models of care into best practice. There needs to be an aggregation nursing’s expertise in this area.” She remains committed to nurses designing and financing cost effective means to increase the dignity and satisfaction of patient care while limiting expenditures. “It’s about basic human dignity, not 97 year olds suffering on a ventilator.” Ms. Scheerle remains as passionate about the art of nursing today, as she did when her only goal was “to be a great nurse.”
For this and many reasons, P.K. Scheerle continues to be a shining beacon of what can happen when one doesn’t just talk or dream about an idea. P.K. encourages women to think outside the box, pull resources together, and makes it happen. For her personal mentorship to me as a nurse and author, it is an honor to select P.K. Scheerle as the first of 100 Belles of Steel. I hope you find her story inspiring. So much so that you take hold and begin your own metamorphosis. Congratulations to P.K. Scheerle for being AgeView Press’ top, freshly pressed Belle of Steel.