Two weeks after graduating from high school, Shane Knisley enlisted in the U.S. Navy. He was only 17 years old.
Shane credits this teenage decision with preparing him for the leadership role he has today, serving as president of Mercy Health – Clermont Hospital.
“The Navy provided a structure that allowed me to grow both personally and professionally,” Shane notes.
Shane retired in 2014 after more than 23 years of military service. The experience provided Shane with his first time working in health care, as he was a hospital corpsman for the first nine years of his career. This role culminated in Okinawa, Japan, where Shane served as a field corpsman with the Marines.
He would continue down a health care path when he was commissioned as an officer with the Navy’s Medical Service Corps. Shane then ended his military service with nearly 15 years in a variety of health care administrator positions.
“Every team member matters,” Shane says when asked what lessons from his time in the military have translated to his role leading Clermont Hospital. “Regardless of the task you perform each day in your job, the team cannot be effective without you. The best aspect of the Navy was the friendships and camaraderie you develop through a sense of shared sacrifice. I bring that passion to my role each day, seeking to instill a sense of ‘pride in ownership’ to each member of the team. Set aside individual pride and ensure you are rowing in the direction to move the team forward.”
The ability to move a team forward served Shane well through the challenges of COVID-19. In fact, it was his military background that allowed Shane to remain agile when the situation dictated it.
“No plan survives first contact with the enemy,” Shane shares, recalling the military saying that still rings true to him in health care. “A plan is a great roadmap, but you need to be able to adapt to time and circumstances. As we saw with the pandemic, many unforeseen influences will disrupt best laid plans. You have to be flexible and willing to adapt to what makes sense in the moment.”
In his civilian life, Shane sees health care as a calling that is similar to the one that leads many to the military.
“I have had the good fortune to work alongside a few of the women religious that helped to create this amazing ministry that we are fortunate to be a part of,” Shane says. “Their passion for serving the underserved is inspirational and a constant reminder of why we do what we do.”
Shane is also quick to credit his team at Clermont Hospital for their amazing work that keeps patients at the center of all they do.
“I hope that my gratitude shows in my interactions with them each day,” he adds. “To each team member, I want to say thank you for what you do each day, to not only support me, but also to support our communities. Times are challenging, but I wouldn’t want to face the challenges with anyone other than you.”
Those challenges can be less daunting thanks to Shane’s military background as well as the work ethic and problem solving his decades of service instilled in him. It’s that preparation that Shane believes is one reason other veterans have found post-military careers with our ministry.
“The place is a natural fit for those who have worn the cloth of our nation,” he shares.
Thank you to Shane as well as all our other veteran team members for your service to our country. Read more stories about our veteran team members.
Also, learn more about the health care services we offer at Mercy Health.