North Arkansas Regional Medical Center (NARMC) is the best in care, but not necessarily close to home for some on the team. Admittedly most who work at NARMC live in the surrounding area; however, there are some who drive several hours to serve on the NARMC team and are Road Warriors. For most Road Warriors there are specific reasons for their long windshield time which includes the desire to work with top professionals in their specific field or after working at other facilities they have an appreciation for the quality of care provided by NARMC and they want to be a part of an organization committed to innovative, compassionate care.
NARMC has a Pharmacy Department, led by Josh Bright, PharmD Director - Pharmacy Services, which is recognized as one of the top hospital based pharmacy departments in Arkansas. Clinical Pharmacist, Drew Jensen is an NARMC Road Warrior.
Jenson, who joined NARMC in June 2016, lives in Rogers and makes the commute to Harrison to be part of the NARMC Pharmacy Department. When asked why he makes the commute, he is very clear on his reasons: ability to work with top professionals in his field. “The team Josh has assembled in the pharmacy is stellar - both pharmacists and technicians. Steve Richards and Flo Yeager each have 35+ years of pharmacy practice experience; Elaine Bieber is a wealth of knowledge, and Josh Maloney was a former UAMS classmate, so that was a bonus. We've also added some very talented people since I've started. The technicians are also fabulous and will assist in every aspect of the job. Second, Josh has a very progressive vision for the role of pharmacy in caring for patients that spans from ER visits through to discharge and post-discharge care for patients with chronic diseases, particularly diabetes” Jensen explains.
Jensen isn’t the only one with a long drive. Jim Gillam, an RN and Education Coordinator at NARMC since 2011, passes a number of hospitals on his drive to NARMC from his home in Springfield, MO. When asked why he works at NARMC he quickly responds “because of the extraordinary care NARMC offers their patients. I absolutely love the people I work with and the job that I do. It makes driving 170 miles a day worth it.”
Thomas Pepler, RN, begins his day on his families Dogwood Hills Guest Farm in Harriet, Arkansas. This Road Warrior is also clear on his reason for driving the treacherous road each day since joining NARMC in 2012. “The ability to work for an organization where I can practice with high integrity and provide an outstanding service while working with a highly skilled and caring team is worth the drive,” Pepler said.
Dawn Brown, BSN, RN, was instrumental in the work needed for NARMC to be only the 3rd hospital in Arkansas to receive the prestigious international recognition as a Baby-Friendly Designated birth facility and she has been recognized as one of the Top 100 Nurses in Arkansas. Brown is the Labor and Deliver nurse manager at NARMC, who also makes an hour drive to work. Brown lives in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, and chooses to commute to NARMC to work in the Women’s Health Department.
According to Brown, “It is special to be able to work in a field I am so passionate about. Because I work with women and children, I can help make the changes that benefit the families in our community. That is special to me.”
It’s not just clinical staff who decide to be Road Warriors. Debra Vanevera, NARMC Controller, joined the team in 2016 travels three-hours each day to-from Mountain View, Arkansas, but she says that she does not mind the drive. Vanevera has worked at other healthcare organizations and says she enjoys her job at NARMC and the people she works with. Plus she adds “the drive it’s not a big deal; it doesn’t hurt that it is a beautiful drive!”
NARMC has a number of team members who travel from locations such as Branson, Gassville, Mountain Home, Hollister, Marshall, Nixa, Green Forest and Flippin in addition to the closer communities of Alpena, Berryville, Everton, Jasper, Lead Hill, Western Grove and Yellville. The stories within this piece are just a few of the Road Warrior stories and don’t reflect the stories of those who have moved to Harrison in order to work at NARMC. All the stories have a common thread of individuals seeing that NARMC has something special and they want to be a part of the organization. Mornings may come early and nights may be late for the Road Warriors, but their compassion for our community and NARMC shines through.