Finding a Calling on South Clinical Campus

Administrative Coordinator Kisha Chapman-Turman Reflects on the ‘Aha’ Moment That Redirected Her Career

Even before she came to work at the Medical Center in an official capacity, Kisha Chapman-Turman was a true child of Albany Med. She was born at the hospital, and she spent much of her childhood in its literal shadow, living with her family in the Park South neighborhood. Her father, James Chapman, was a valued member of the Facilities team for more than 40 years before he retired in 2021 (“I could see him walking home from work from my bedroom window on Morris Avenue when I was a kid,” she said) and her mother Sallie Chapman’s career as a home health aide deeply informed her view of the world.

“My parents are my role models,” she said. “Through them, I saw how important health care and taking care of people are.”

Still, as much as she admired the work they did, Chapman-Turman set her sights on a different path. Born with a great head for numbers, she decided on a career as a certified public accountant.

So, when she came to work at Albany Med in 2003 as a technician in the Hearing Center, it was only to support that goal. And she went on to make good on this game plan, graduating from Hudson Valley Community College and then Sage College with a bachelor’s degree in accounting and raising two boys along the way.

During these years, as she worked to support herself and her growing family, Chapman-Turman transitioned to several different roles in Radiology Services on South Clinical Campus, including MRI tech assistant and administrative support supervisor. She was mentored by Art Pielli, retired quality manager in the Department of Radiology, who continues to be a good friend. “Art taught me the basics of radiology, and he really encouraged me to keep pushing and not settle professionally,” Chapman-Turman said. “I learned so much from him.” It was knowledge she would put to good use when, a few years later, she moved to the “front of the house,” taking a role as a receptionist for the same Radiology Services team she had served with clinically.

Receptionists and administrative support associates, or ASAs, are often the first people patients see when they arrive for appointments at the hospital or practice sites, and their role is significant. They coordinate the guest experience and provide strong team support. In a job that often requires them to be human switchboards, they also need to be masters of many core skills, including organization, time management, congeniality, and a crack ability to multitask.

Chapman-Turman had all these talents, and the clinical knowledge she had gained—along with her innate compassion for others—helped compound her success on the job.

“I love my patients. I love hearing their stories,” she said. Some of the patients who arrived for imaging appointments were understandably anxious and Chapman-Turman was sensitive to that. Colleagues joked that her reception station was a place where patients received far more than registration forms. She could often be heard providing comfort, counsel, and an informed perspective on diagnostic services.

Just as she was poised to transition to her long-sought career in accounting, Chapman-Turman had an epiphany.

“I began to realize I probably wasn’t meant to sit behind closed doors at my job, punching numbers,” she said. “I’d come to Albany Med to help support my family. My boys and my husband are my world. But, as I worked here, other things started making sense for me. You get all these skills. You grow. You get maturity, strength. And I realized I love to help people. I’m a person of faith, and I began to understand that this is my purpose. To help people who are sick or struggling.”

In 2015, Chapman-Turman was promoted to lead receptionist. For the next six years, she oversaw reception for both Radiology Services and the Breast Center, establishing herself as an indispensable resource. “Kisha is a shining example of a patient advocate,” said Jennifer Dwyer, manager of the Breast Center. “She was instrumental in setting a positive tone in the Breast Center that her coworkers continue to emulate.”

Chapman-Turman recently took a new role as the administrative coordinator for the Department of Psychiatry, and while the job is different—she assists with scheduling and daily operations— she still calls on the same skills she developed on South Clinical Campus. “I use the same problem-solving approaches I learned as a receptionist every day.”

The secret of her success? “I focus on the patient,” she said. “You can’t go wrong when you do that. I remember in Radiology our first patients arrived at 6:15 a.m., and I always knew I had to beat them in. I couldn’t imagine someone who’s come all the way in for an important appointment arriving and there’s no one there. That just couldn’t happen. So I’d set my alarm for 4:45 a.m. We live outside of Albany, so I’d check the weather. Are they calling for snow? I did whatever I had to do to get myself and my boys ready. Being a parent teaches you how to multitask. So does a job at Albany Med. It’s a scramble sometimes. But in the middle of it all you realize you love it.”