NEA Baptist colleagues plan move to new 550,000+ square-foot facility

In November, NEA Baptist Memorial Hospital colleagues will move to a new 550,000+ square-foot facility–a place many have watched evolve from a field of grass while spending many hours planning the move and designing every inch of the new hospital.

NEA Baptist Health System’s centerpiece will be the new hospital, which will feature larger, all private patient rooms and operating suites, enhanced with new technology and amenities. The new 212,000-square-foot NEA Baptist Clinic headquarters will be attached to the hospital, allowing physicians and the hospital to provide integrated health care.

NEA Baptist colleagues have been heavily involved in planning for the transition to the new facility for more than four years. In addition to providing great patient care each day, many colleagues are spending time making sure the move and every part of the new facility functions properly.

“Colleagues have been involved from the initial planning phase,” said Melanie Edens, director of Radiology at NEA Baptist. “The front line staff are definitely the experts in helping design a high functioning department. They were asked to give ideas on what would make their jobs easier. There were several great ideas such as wider doorways with automatic openers for patients on a stretcher, higher power outlets to reduce bending and back strain, deeper sinks and many other great suggestions.”

Edens has been a part of the details of every room for radiology. She is also on the Interior Finishing committee, working with the interior designers to select all the finishes for the hospital. As chair of the Artwork Committee, she works with an art consultant to help select artwork throughout the hospital and the Cancer Center.

“I am also on the Patient Care Delivery Committee. This committee is planning every detail of the actual patient move day along with the patient workflow policies and procedures that will change as a result of moving to a new location. As a part of the Support Service Committee, we interviewed the moving company that would move everything but the patients as well as selected a new security company for the new hospital. We are also actively planning how to decommission the old facility within 30 days after the move. Finally, I am also on the Regulatory Committee. My role is to ensure that we have met all requirements to move our radioactive materials license and X-ray tube registration to another location.”

The move planning can seem overwhelming for those colleagues that have spent their entire career in one facility or have never been a part of a brand new hospital, but colleagues say NEA Baptist has taken the challenge in stride, forming a stronger union amongst hospital staff.

“For some, this is bittersweet. Many of us have worked our entire career in this building. We love that we have a family work environment and that we know almost everyone we meet in the hallways. We all feel that it is very important to keep the culture that has been established in the building as we move to a much-needed new hospital,” said Edens.

The new NEA Baptist Hospital will have additional space for patients, new advanced technology to diagnose and treat patients, in addition to equipment backups and more digital equipment to increase efficiencies and workflow.

“There is a lot of excitement around moving to the new facility. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity for us all to be in a facility that was a green field three years ago,” said Susan Livengood, director of Nursing.

Livengood has worked for NEA Baptist for 11 years and as the director of Nursing for almost four years. She has been a part of the design phase of the hospital, equipment, the critical care area, and works heavily with other nursing leaders for the move planning.

Livengood praises the nursing staff and their ability to step up during the process.

“We have seen colleagues take leadership roles because we’re not around as much and we have seen them volunteer for things such as learning how to use a piece of equipment and teaching everyone,” she said. “There has been a camaraderie developed amongst all the departments. We have had to work together to be successful to do the best for our patients and we have developed stronger relationships because of it throughout the entire hospital. Look out Jonesboro, we are here!”

The new facility will enhance the mission of NEA Baptist Hospital is to provide comprehensive, personalized, quality health care for patients throughout the Northeast Arkansas region.

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