Large Hospital Finalist: St. Bernards Medical Center

Large Hospital Finalist: St. Bernards Medical Center
St. Bernards Medical Center in Jonesboro

St. Bernards Medical Center is the health care destination for families in Jonesboro and the surrounding areas.

As a major referral hospital, St. Bernards Medical Center offers advanced technology and medical services across four centers of excellence: heart care, cancer treatment, women's and children's services, and senior services.

The first hospital in the northeast Arkansas quadrant admitted its first patients on July 5, 1900. That hospital — named St. Bernards in honor of St. Bernard Tolomei, founder of Olivetan Benedictines — was a beacon of hope for the region, which had been hard hit by a malarial fever epidemic. St. Bernards was born out of community need and was an undertaking of the Olivetan Benedictine sisters of Holy Angels Convent in Jonesboro.

At the urging of local physicians, the sisters — who came on a mission of teaching — stepped up to help the sick. With the assistance of community leaders they raised funds for a two-story, six-room frame house. The sisters transformed the house into a hospital and within a week of its opening most of the beds were occupied by malaria patients.

From those humble beginnings, St. Bernards has become a 438-bed regional referral center for a 23-county area in northeast Arkansas and southeast Missouri. It has the largest medical staff in the region and the only designated Level III Trauma Center in that part of the state, as well as the only neonatal intensive care unit.

In December 2019, St. Bernards opened a 245,000-SF surgical and intensive care tower, which expanded each of those services and created a new front entrance.

The tower is the third phase of a four-part strategic plan which launched in 2015. The first phase included renovation of the St. Bernards Cancer Center, which brought all cancer services under one roof. The second phase was renovations to the Emergency Department and Heart Care Center, which allowed for expanded services and treatment areas.The third phase is the new tower and the fourth phase is renovations in patient and family areas.

Years of service

Counties in service area

Registered beds

The new surgical and intensive care tower features a ground-level atrium with access to a coffee shop, education rooms, a chapel and improved wayfinding and support services for surgery and critical care areas.