Jacksonville is located just 30 miles from the state capital in Springfield, Illinois, and two hours from a major metropolitan area (St. Louis, Missouri).
Simply stated, Jacksonville and its surrounding area, is an excellent place to live and work. Jacksonville is a family-oriented town of quiet neighborhoods, modern subdivisions, and historic districts. The city has both strong public and parochial schools. In addition, Jacksonville is home to two liberal arts colleges and two state institutions. Jacksonville is also rich in culture, offering citizens a symphony orchestra, theater guild, and art gallery, plus numerous special events throughout the year.
As nurse manager for the Behavioral Health Unit (BHU) at Passavant Area Hospital, a Memorial Health System affiliate, Barb Smith is busy building the foundation for the new service. It’s a job she’s accomplished before.
“I’m excited that Passavant has identified mental health as a priority. Our new BHU will give the community access to services where it’s been lacking. And, it’s phenomenal to have three psychiatrists to be part of our team,” said Barb.
Barb comes to Passavant from Lincoln Prairie Behavioral Health Center where she was she was the clinical nurse manager the past eight years, during which time she helped established the Center’s child/adolescent and partial hospital programs. Prior to the Lincoln position, she worked with both adults and children/adolescents at Memorial Health System and St. John’s Hospital. Barb earned her associate’s degree in nursing from Lincoln Land Community College and is currently working on her bachelor of science degree in nursing from Colorado Tech University. She is certified by the American Nurses Credentialing Center in Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing.
“My goal is to establish a whole continuum of care for the behavioral health patient. Currently, I’m working on hiring registered nurses and techs. We also plan to work with occupational therapy, pastoral care, and the dietitians as we treat the whole patient,” Barb said. “And, we will help guide the other nursing units in their care of the behavioral health patient.”
A native of Jacksonville, Barb is very familiar with Passavant. Her mother was a 1948 graduate of the Passavant School of Nursing (and later worked at the Jacksonville Developmental Center). “She’d be very proud of where I am today,” Barb said with a smile.
The 10-bed inpatient Behavioral Health Unit is expected to open this summer.