PHS alumna takes a leading role in hospital expansion

Wednesday, January 25, 2012
April Bennett

Purdy High School graduate April Bennett, assistant director of comprehensive care at Freeman Hospital in Joplin, is taking a lead role in an expansion program that will add 58 new beds to the facility.

"In response to the May 22, 2011, tornado, we have fast-tracked this project in order to better serve the needs of the community," Bennett said. "It's an exciting time at Freeman."

Bennett said the two floors were initially built into the tower during its construction in 2007 but had been primarily used for storage. The expansion will provide 58 contemporary private rooms that feature flat screen televisions and a family area.

"The private rooms will also allow for better patient care," Bennett said. "We had a lot of input on the design from patients and staff."

The fifth floor is expected to open on April 1 and will serve as a cardiac care unit. The sixth floor is scheduled to open in October and will serve as a step-down unit and surgical intensive care unit.

Cost of the expansion project totals over $15 million.

"It's exciting to be part of bringing new jobs to the community," Bennett said. "We will have a total of 60 positions for nursing and support staff for the fifth floor and around 100 to 110 positions for the sixth floor.

"I'm very excited," Bennett said. "I feel very blessed to be a part of this project and being able to help create a culture of service, excellence and providing the best in patient care."

Bennett is a 2005 graduate of Purdy High School and will receive her master's degree from University of Kansas City in May.

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