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Stephanie Appling brings remarkable care to life

Recently, there was a mother at Novant Health Presbyterian Medical Center. Her child was having surgery. Stephanie Appling wanted to check on her, so she gave the woman a call.

It came at a crucial moment. The woman had just found out her child had cancer, and Appling remembers the call well. Appling wanted nothing more than to be there for the mother.

“Hearing the words ‘your child has cancer’ breaks your heart,” Appling said. “I told the mother, ‘OK, you’re taking in a lot right now. I’m going to text you. Here’s my cellphone number. If you need anything, let me know. I’m here for you.’”

Right away, Appling contacted Novant Health Foundation and arranged for snacks and a basket to be delivered to the family, and she stayed in close contact.

“The patient was so thankful and appreciative,” Appling said. “This kind of care is what I see as remarkable care: following through the whole experience, making sure they have the support they need. It really is about being there on the journey with them as their advocate.”

These tender support experiences are just one small part of Appling’s role at Novant Health. Appling is senior director of women’s and children’s services for the greater Charlotte market.

In her position, Appling focuses on strategy, operational workflows and patient satisfaction. She devotes time to making the rounds with patients, families and team members, answering questions and helping connect the dots. She supports Presbyterian Medical Center and other Charlotte facilities, along with all Novant Health pediatric and OB/GYN clinics in Charlotte. She sees her leadership as an opportunity to be a “go-to” resource.  

“If you have a question about financials, operations or even an upset patient, come to me,” Appling said. “From there, either I take care of it or I find the right person who can help.”

Since Appling joined Novant Health in 2017, she’s had the joy of taking part in several remarkable projects at Novant Health Hemby Children’s Hospital, such as Caroline’s Corner, a respite space for families, and Blume Family Playground . She also has a hand in developing relationships with outside partners. For instance, she’s been engaging with local family science museum Discovery Place to help design the Pediatric Center for Development and Behavioral Health and looks forward to an upcoming expansion in pediatric hematology and oncology at Novant Health.

“I was connected to Discovery Place leadership to ask, ‘What could you incorporate from a Discovery Place sense that could really make this space special?” Appling recalled. “They’ve helped us to expand our vision for this project.”

As a mother of a young son and daughter, Appling is able to relate strongly with women’s healthcare and pediatrics. She knows what it’s like to balance healthcare between baseball practices and gymnastics.

“My heart is in pediatrics right now from a personal perspective,” Appling said. “I’ve had to take my kids to the emergency department. I’ve had to live the life of a parent not knowing what’s wrong with your child. My experiences help me better serve these families. And I can see the big picture from a strategic perspective.”

Appling does everything she can to stay engaged with the community. She’s a lecturer in the health administration program at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and she is chair of the Care Ring Nurse-Family Partnership board, a program to support mothers in low-income households in Mecklenburg County.

“I’m passionate about making a difference in our community,” Appling said. “I think if you’re passionate about something and you go for it, then you’ll excel at it.”

Now is your chance to join Appling and stand up for remarkable care in your community.

The Hope for Remarkable Team Aubergine Fund (formerly the COVID-19 Disaster Relief Fund) provides financial support to Novant Health team members experiencing personal hardship during the COVID-19 pandemic. Your gift can have an impact on a front-line worker in your area. Donate now.

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