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April Bennett: Local girl turned CEO

by EMILY BONSANT
Hagadone News Network | November 23, 2022 1:00 AM

BONNERS FERRY — April Bennett has gone from growing up in the community to the head of surgery to, now Chief Executive Officer at Boundary Community Hospital.

Bennett, who took on the role as CEO last summer, is in charge of overall operations of facility, hospital, clinics and extended nursing.

Bennett has been a nurse for several years and spent most of her time in surgery. She was the head of surgery at Bonner General for seven years and three years ago became manager of the surgery department at BCH.

“Surgery was always my passion. I went from school to the Operating Room,” she said.

After graduating with her bachelor’s degree, Bennett returned to school for her master’s degree. She said she was never really sure what she was going to do with her degrees.

“I always thought I’d be more in the chief nursing officer role at some point in her career,” she said.

Several months ago when she heard former CEO Preston Becker was leaving, she thought she'd thrown her hat in the ring and here she is.

Bennett said having local hospital experience, particularly at BCH, has given her an understanding of the day-to-day operation of a health care facility.

“It gives me a better understanding of different needs of the patient from ER to extended care facility and more,” she said.

After just a few months in position, Bennett has taken — and passed — national nursing home administration boards. All of those things have given her a better understanding of how the day-to-day with all non-clinical staff and how the whole process works together, she said. Having a clinical background helps with that as well, she added.

Growing up in Boundary County, Bennett said she is invested in the community and is striving to provide current and additional services locally.

“I want to see us succeed, thrive, and be able to provide the services for everybody here, because this is my community,” she said.

COVID-19 was really hard on the community, particularly in being able to recruit and retain staff, she said. With sky-high inflation and housing issues, getting people working at the hospital and paying them a fair wage is also a focus for her.

Bennett said in order to invest in the local workforces and train additional staff she hopes to bring a certified nursing assistant program to BCH.

In addition, she plans to revive past community events and community outreach that were put on hold due to the pandemic.

“Our mission statement is, 'caring for our community every day' and that's something that we strive for,” she said. “We want to be (community members’) first choice in health care and we want them to be able to feel confident when they come here, that they're going to get the care that they need and deserve.”

“We have an amazing staff with very skilled, competent providers to care for them,” she said.

BCH provides physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, rehabilitation, diagnostic imaging, CT, MRI, Mammo, DEXA scans, acute care, care management, extended care, cardiopulmonary, surgery and much more.

Bennett said BCH hopes to provide more services, such as autism testing in the future.

Currently, Fry Healthcare Foundation is raising funds for new defibrillators at the Emergency Room.

Bennett said BCH couldn’t provide as many services without the help of the Fry Foundation and the BCH Auxiliary.

BCH is a community hospital and is run by the CEO, board of trustees and the county commissioners.

The hospital is located at 6640 Kaniksu St., Bonners Ferry.

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