Dozens of New Nurses Recognized During Special Ceremony at Freeman Health System

(Joplin, MO) – Flanked by loved ones, 40 soon-to-be registered nurses from area college nursing programs signed a letter of intent to work at Freeman Health System on April 18, 2024.

Purposely resembling traditional athletic signing day celebrations at schools, in which local athletes sit excitedly at tables to ink letters of intent, these star nurses celebrated their futures in healthcare at Freeman with loud fanfare from cheering families, friends and colleagues.

“Nurses help patients through some of life’s most terrifying moments – and they do so with grace and compassion,” said Freeman President and Chief Executive Officer Paula Baker. “It’s been said that nursing and medicine are both a science and an art, and I believe that’s true. While our graduate nurses are well trained and highly skilled technically, they’re also equipped with the ‘soft skills’ needed to help patients feel welcome and at ease during unfamiliar or sometimes frightening circumstances.”

The graduate nurses will take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) and, upon passing the exam, will become registered nurses at Freeman.

“Truly the heart of Freeman Health System, our nurses love what they do. They go out of their way to help others, and they treat patients as if they were members of their own families,” Baker said.

The nurses recognized during the ceremony included: John Daigle, Baylie Walker, MacKenzie Rogers, Rocio Guzman, Kade Hicks, Alisha Baker, Jaclynn Cure, Emma McCoy, Carley Mazzocco, Autumn Warren-Rice, Rylee Bradley, Faith Leach, Louise Barrett, Danielle Weaver, Daniel Mendoza, Emma Elkins, Jessica Cox, Agnes Thomas, Lauren Henson, Dusti Henderson, Katelyn Hice, Amber Opel, Emily Kralicek, Rebecca Hardiman, Kianna Pellegrino, Kayla Sharbutt, Isabella Ross, Dacey Turner, Lilly Pusley, Courtney Fordham, Zackary Goswick, Mariah Stahl, Karina Becerra-Mendez, Cordina Cotton, Abby Meyer, Laura Heilig, Mckaela Warren, Haley Thomasson, Andrea Ferch, and Kaleb Helvey.

To learn more about Freeman Health System’s nursing programs, go to

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. 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


Kevin McClintock, Media Relations Coordinator
Freeman Health System

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