JOPLIN, Mo. — The Healthcare Spotlight is highlighting the impact more than four decades of experience can have in the Emergency Room.

“Things are always changing and things are always evolving,” said Bob Denton, Freeman Emergency/Trauma.

And that’s a good thing for Bob Denton. His healthcare career spans 46 years, starting with a random conversation about jobs with his college lab partner.

“And I said, ‘Well, I’m not qualified to do anything.’ And he said, ‘Well, can you drive?’ And I said, ‘Well, yeah I can drive.’ ‘But do you have a driver’s license?’ I said, ‘Of course I have a driver’s license.’ And now there’s like, ‘Would you be interested in driving an ambulance?’ I said, ‘Yeah, I can do that.’ He said, ‘Well, can you drive fast?’ I said, ‘Oh, yeah,'” recalled Denton.

He’s come a long way since then, now in charge of Emergency/Trauma for Freeman Health System.

“My day to day job is ensuring that this department is ready to care for the people in this community and that the staff had the resources and the tools that they need to do that job and the training and the experience is there,” he said.

With so much experience under his belt, his goals have been changing.

“My perspective has changed. My priorities have changed. Right now my ultimate goal is to mentor others. So there’s people that understand what happens in the ER.”

He adds how you do the job is just as important – with kindness, respect, and professionalism.

“Some of our outcomes are really good. Some of them are not so good, and we do the best we can to make the outcome as good as it can possibly be,” Denton added.