Our People

From the Bedside to Hospital-wide

August 19, 2022

Their roles started with patient care, then their career paths led them to serve more broadly.

For those pursuing a calling to healthcare, a successful career often requires maintaining a positive attitude, constantly seeking knowledge and following the guidance of good mentors.

Meet three colleagues whose HCA Healthcare careers started in patient care roles and led them to executive leadership positions.

Amber Boes Headshot

Amber Boes

Division Chief Nursing Executive, HCA MidAmerica, Kansas City

Boes has been a part of HCA Healthcare for the duration of her nursing career—a total of 18 years. But prior to becoming a nurse, her exercise science degree landed her a job at a fitness center, where she worked with rehab patients.

“I found that I really liked the patients a lot more than the normal clientele and the connection you could make with them,” she recalls. “I’m a big science and math person, so I love that. But I’m very relational and love the personal connection you can make with your patients.”

That realization led Boes to Research College of Nursing, an HCA Healthcare affiliate. She benefitted from HCA Healthcare’s scholarship program, which helped pay for educational expenses.

What’s kept you at HCA Healthcare?

“Really, it was because I constantly had leaders and mentors who saw things in me that I didn’t even see in myself. They invested in developing me and making me a better nurse and leader. I really loved that investment.

The network of leaders you can learn from, and just the focus on the mission that HCA Healthcare continues to have. It was really reiterated during the pandemic with how well we treated our colleagues.”

What was your role when you first came to HCA Healthcare?

“It was at Research Medical Center on the oncology unit. I chose oncology because, as I started nursing school, my stepfather passed away from pancreatic cancer. I saw the connection the nurses made with him and with my family and the difference they made. And so, I chose that and worked the night shift as a staff nurse.”

What were your professional goals early on?

“When I was a staff nurse, I never thought I was going to be a CNO or a DCNE someday. I thought I was going to be a really great staff nurse and take great care of people. And then, as time went on, my focus shifted to include, ‘how do we care for our colleagues in a way that they can provide great care.’

I worked very hard at being really good at whatever job I was doing at the time, and then the next job usually appeared. Through a lot of consultation with important mentors and people in my life, I ended up where I am today.”

What shaped your leadership development?

“Growing up, my mom did a good job of getting me involved in opportunities to publicly speak, whether it was in the church or through my school. I was also an athlete. I found myself in leadership roles, even as a child. I’m a big believer that good players like to be coached. I’ve followed through with that and kind of kept that as part of my mantra as I’ve grown in leadership. But HCA Healthcare has really done a great job making sure that you get the training or the leadership coaching that you need.”

Are there similarities between the youth coaches you had and your HCA Healthcare mentors?

“I’m a big believer that you’ve got to love them before you lead them. I think I’m invested in the people that work with me both personally and professionally. I think the people that I looked up to throughout my life and in my HCA Healthcare career did that. They knew what would be impactful to me when coaching me to be better, and I knew that they would do it in a caring way.”

What’s your advice to others aspiring to grow their careers with HCA Healthcare?

“I think saying ‘Yes’ is important. I said ‘Yes’ to all sorts of different things throughout my career, whether it was being a super user when we rolled out Meditech years ago or being willing to go to another hospital and help other people out if that’s what needed to happen.

If someone wants to invest in you, listen to that. I think others do see things in us that we don’t see in ourselves, so be open to those things. Listen to your gut when you know it is the right opportunity for you personally and professionally. And then, just do your best at whatever job you’re currently in.”

Shari Chavez Headshot

Shari Chavez

Division Chief Nurse Executive, Far West Division

Two people greatly influenced Shari Chavez’s approach to nursing: her grandmother and her eldest son.

Shari’s grandmother was a caregiver, even though she was never paid for it. While she worked full time in a factory, she also cared for close friends and family members when they needed it most. When Shari was a teenager, she helped her grandmother care for an elderly couple as their health declined. After that impactful experience, Shari’s first professional job was as a nursing home aide, which didn’t require a special certification at the time.

“Sometimes, depending upon my audience, I still talk about what a wonderful job that was,” she says. “You have an opportunity to connect to patients who are oftentimes very lonely, and then have the privilege to be with them as they’re passing.”

A group of nursing home assistants encouraged her to pursue a degree.

“They were 30 years older than me. And they all sat me down one day in the break room and they said, ‘Look, you’re way too smart to be doing this for 30 years. You have got to get into nursing school.’

They had a whole packet they put together for me to get me started with a counselor at the college, because when you’ve come out of high school and you don’t go right into college, it can be really difficult to navigate. And they insisted that I do that. And it’s really changed my life.”

Shari started her HCA Healthcare career on June 4, 1990, at Sunrise Medical Center in Nevada. She credits her longevity to great mentors and her willingness to learn and take risks.

How have your career goals evolved?
“When I first started out in nursing, I didn’t want to be a CNO or a director. I just really wanted to be at the bedside. But in 1997, my oldest son got sick, and I had an opportunity to experience healthcare on the other side. I saw a different side of healthcare throughout my son’s illness. He fought for three years and later succumbed to his leukemia and passed away.

When things were better, I decided that I was going to make a difference for every patient, even if it was one at a time. And that’s when I really became very interested in going into management and having the ability to influence a lot of patients, a lot of staff in their experience. So that really is my passion today.”


If you want to grow and take on new responsibilities, volunteer to cover for a vacant position or somebody who’s out on leave. Really lean in and pick up every chance, every opportunity, every exposure that you can get. It serves you well, you learn something in every experience, every opportunity.

— Shari Chavez Division Chief Nurse Executive, Far West Division

How has HCA Healthcare helped you advance your career?

“I would say the tuition reimbursement, and then the executive development program—being able to take advantage of that has been career-changing and life-changing.

There are so many opportunities for development in this company. So much support, really in any part of our company that you want to start out in, you just have all of these opportunities. You can stay where you’re at for a career or you can move and grow.”

What advice would you give to folks who want to grow their careers?

“Often in talking to CNCS or new leaders to our division, I always call this out: you have to be willing to take risks. I’ve taken multiple risks throughout my career with HCA Healthcare. If you want to grow and take on new responsibilities, volunteer to cover for a vacant position or somebody who’s out on leave. Really lean in and pick up every chance, every opportunity, every exposure that you can get. It serves you well, you learn something in every experience, every opportunity. Don’t be afraid, because in my experience, you learn from all of them and typically they pay off.”

Gabe Clements Headshot

Gabe Clements

Chief Operating Officer, Lee Summit Medical Center, Lee Summit, MO.

Gabe Clement’s journey from physical therapist to COO started in Georgia and led him back home to the Kansas City area. When he started out as a physical therapist in a small private practice, Gabe couldn’t have foreseen what was on the horizon.

Now, since starting as a PRN in 2001 at Cartersville Medical Center, Gabe credits HCA Healthcare’s ongoing support and leadership training opportunities as keys to his success. He also endorses self-care and a positive attitude.

“We’re in charge of our life story and the narrative that we tell ourselves. So stay positive, reflect, spend time on your mental health and your physical health. We absolutely can help tell ourselves a positive story. Stay focused on our mission. We must take care of ourselves if we truly want to be able to impact others’ lives.”

Why did you pursue healthcare?

“What drew me to healthcare was the ability to cure and care. I was initially drawn into therapy as a profession and then throughout the progression of my career, was able to grow into leadership and move from not just making a difference with the people that I was treating, but then to impacting others who were treating patients throughout our organization.”

What were your professional goals early in your career?

“My goals were to advance my clinical education and degree. With that, I obtained my transitional Doctor of Physical Therapy and certification in athletic training. As my career grew into board leadership roles, I transitioned from clinical aspirations to more of a leadership professional journey. As that continued, I saw opportunities to advance, with goals of being a vice president of operations, then COO and someday a potential CEO.”

Leverage not only the opportunities to grow yourself through education and experience, but also take advantage of every opportunity that HCA Healthcare offers to facilitate leadership and clinical development.

— Gabe Clements Chief Operating Officer, Lee Summit Medical center, Lee Summit, MO.

What role did HCA Healthcare play in your career trajectory?

“It was pivotal. I was in a small private practice in Georgia, with a local organization. I joined HCA Healthcare in Georgia in 2000. Around 2004, HCA Healthcare expanded into the Kansas City market, and I was able to relocate closer to my family and work closer to home. The move provided opportunities, not only to grow and progress to other entities within HCA Healthcare, but also my leadership growth. I was able to go through the executive development program, which accelerated my ability to impact change and be a better leader and person.

How did that additional leadership development training enhance what you had already learned?

“It was much broader and deeper and forced me to do a lot more self-reflection, a lot more self-study. It also helped me refine my skills and really take me from a self-developed leader to a leader that I wanted to be, and that I felt others deserved.”

What’s your advice to others who want to grow their careers with HCA Healthcare?

“Be open to feedback from as many individuals and avenues as you can obtain. Often, others are the ones who help us perfect our skills. I also believe in self-growth and development. Leverage not only the opportunities to grow yourself through education and experience, but also take advantage of every opportunity that HCA Healthcare offers to facilitate leadership and clinical development. Definitely stretch yourself, be willing to say yes.

And don’t be afraid to fail forward. Make improvements, even if they’re small improvements.”