Laura Bevis, advanced registered nurse practitioner and doctor of nursing practice, remembers walking through St. Luke Hospital in Marion while it was being renovated and expanded last year.
Stopping at a hallway intersection, she could see the difference being made. Looking one direction, she saw a hallway that looked old and uninviting. Looking the other way, she saw the new construction, modern and pleasant.
“It was just tremendous to see the difference between the two,” she said Thursday.
With a shortage of health professionals in rural parts of the country, hospitals have to work hard to recruit doctors and nurse practitioners to meet their patients’ needs, and good facilities are an advantage in recruiting.
It’s no coincidence that the hospital has added two nurse practitioners — Melissa Batterton and Jaynette Miller — since September, C.E.O. Jeremy Armstrong said.
“I think the building project has certainly helped with that,” he said.
The hospital also has an interview with a physician prospect at the end of January, he said.
He said health care providers have been overwhelmingly complimentary of the changes. They like the layout, and visiting surgeons especially like the operating and minor procedure rooms.
Equally important as recruiting health care providers is recruiting patients, Armstrong said. It is too early to tell whether the upgrades are having the desired effect in that matter, but Bevis is hopeful.
She said the new facilities provide a good atmosphere, especially for patients. She fills in for St. Luke’s emergency room, a job she also fills for a hospital in Caldwell. Before the renovation, St. Luke Hospital and the hospital in Caldwell were like reflections of each other, she said — similar in size and design. With the changes, she said she would much prefer to be a patient at St. Luke.