Freeman Celebrates Trauma Staff During Emergency Nurses Week

Leaders Salute Nurses Grit, Passion and Persistence

Joplin, Mo – Caring for everything from car crash injuries to COVID-19 and heart attacks to broken bones, emergency nurses demonstrate sharp medical skills and compassion under all kinds of circumstances. They have “grit.” Persistence and passion are traits emergency nurses rely on as they do what it takes to provide patients with the best care possible any time, day or night. They are attributes easily found in Freeman Health System Trauma Program Manager Chris Hoag-Apel, who this week celebrates 47 years with Freeman.

“You never know what is coming through the door,” said Hoag-Apel. “That is what keeps you on your toes. We are the front door and first medical staff with whom patients and families interact. We are there to help them to the best of our ability. The staff in ER are wonderful and they are the reason I keep going. I’m thankful to each and every one of them.”

Emergency Nurses Week (October 10 – 16) honors the efforts and teamwork of all those who tirelessly help treat patients when they enter through emergency room doors.

“As emergency nurses, they help someone who is facing one of their most challenging days,” said Freeman Emergency/Trauma Director Hilary Riley. “They don’t hesitate to act in the face of adversity and keep pushing forward. That was especially true during the past 18 months of the pandemic when they often faced a surge of patients while knowing they were also at risk.”

“COVID-19 has made its mark in the ER,” said Hoag-Apel. “Patients are diagnosed here and receive care in the ER until an inpatient bed is available. It takes a thick skin and the ability to deal with everyone.”

Freeman is designated as a Level II Trauma Center by the Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services. The Dr. Robert & Dorothy Willcoxon Emergency Trauma Center at Freeman West provides comprehensive emergency care 24 hours a day. Freeman doctors and nurses also offer free forensic exams and compassionate care to adult female and male sexual assault victims through the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) program.

About Freeman Health System

Locally owned, not-for-profit and nationally recognized, Freeman Health System includes Freeman Hospital West, Freeman Hospital East, Freeman Neosho Hospital and Ozark Center – the area’s largest provider of behavioral health services – as well as two urgent care clinics, dozens of physician clinics and a variety of specialty services. In 2020, Freeman earned dozens of individual awards for medical excellence and patient safety from CareChex®, a quality rating system that helps consumers evaluate healthcare providers. U.S. News & World Report named Freeman Health System the Best Hospital in Southwest Missouri for 2020-2021. With more than 320 physicians on staff representing more than 80 specialties, Freeman provides cancer care, heart care, neurology and neurosurgery, orthopaedics, children’s services and women’s services. Additionally, Freeman is the only Children’s Miracle Network Hospital in a 70-mile radius. For more information, visit

Lisa Olliges
Marketing and Media Relations Coordinator

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