Freeman News

Freeman Finds Success with In-House Surgical Tech Apprenticeship

September 02, 2021

Second Class Graduation Nears and Application Window Opens for Next Class

Joplin, Mo – Graduation Day is September 9 for some Freeman Health System employees. The surgical technician apprenticeship class members have completed classroom and clinical training to become allied health professionals providing surgical care to patients.

“The Surgical Technician Apprenticeship is a great way to provide new opportunities and career advancement within the Freeman Family,” said Freeman Program Educator Savannah Hemann, RN. “We have some truly exceptional employees who are sharing their experiences, knowledge and skill sets with these apprentices, and it’s showing to be very effective. They have become not just an employee, but a part of our surgical team.”

The program was developed internally last year and is proving to be a successful staffing tool.

“Freeman Health System had a need for qualified scrub techs and we took that need and created our own scrub tech program,” said Freeman Chief Human Resources Officer Mary Frerer. “Individuals can take part in the program, all while being employed by the health system. They are being paid to take part in the program, gaining knowledge and experience, and once they have successfully completed the program, they are guaranteed employment in the operating room as a qualified scrub tech. This program is a win for the scrub tech student/employee and a win for Freeman Health System”.

Surgical technician apprentices spend ten weeks in a classroom setting to become experts in the theory and application of the principles of asepsis and sterile technique, along with knowledge of human anatomy. Apprentices also learn through clinical hours studying surgical procedures, and implementation of tools and technologies to facilitate a physician’s performance during procedures.

“Our program continues to draw interest from around the hospital,” said Marty Fordham, Freeman Director of Perioperative Services. “This program is especially attractive to entry level employees who are looking for an opportunity to put themselves on a career path. I’m grateful to the administration and human resources for seeing the vision of what this apprenticeship program can do for good hardworking employees who are looking for a way to take care of our patients in a high-quality manner and advance themselves in a solid and needed clinical field.”

Applications for the third apprenticeship class are being accepted from August 25 to September 10.

“Our first class produced some real stars, and we have the same feeling about our second class,” said Fordham. “We have started to take applications for our next class and have had several inquiries even before we opened that process. The bottom line is this is a very good program for high-performing entry level staff looking to advance their career at Freeman Health System.”

The classroom portion of the program will start November 22. The clinical portion will start Monday, January 31, 2022. Coordinators say it’s an opportunity for advancement without having to leave work to go back to school, and participants are motivated to succeed.

“They are dedicated, hardworking and continuing to fine tune their skills every day,” said Hemann. “The apprenticeship has grown and improved with every class, and I hope to see more opportunities like this one come to our hospital.”




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