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Smiles, Tears Abound as New Sherman Hospital Opens

Nurses at Sherman Hospital’s gleaming new facility on the west side of Elgin, Ill., were prepared for the Dec. 15 move-in day in a variety of ways.

There was a 327-page move manual, a mock patient move-in day in October and discussions about a number of what-if situations.

“It was almost like … a wedding,” said Neshell Sims, RN, of the ortho/neuro unit. “We planned for every single thing.”

They also were prepared for a rush of emotions as the first patients arrived by ambulance from the former Sherman Hospital on the city’s east side in the early morning hours.

As some nurses worked their final shifts at the old hospital, which has been transformed into an immediate care center, their memories were overwhelming.

“I thought I was going to cry,” said ortho/neuro nurse Bobbi Kuti, RN.

The arrival of Dec. 15 brought plenty of cheers to replace those tears.

One of the most eye-catching features at Sherman is the 15-acre geothermal lake that will heat and cool the hospital at a savings of $1 million a year.

“The patients, as they are coming onto the floor, are getting a standing ovation from the nursing staff,” said Judy Balcitis, RN, who serves as chief nursing officer.

Patients and nurses alike spent much of the first day enjoying the fresh look and feel of the 225-bed, 645,000-square-foot facility just south of Interstate 90. While some patients glanced out at the 15-acre geothermal lake that will be used to heat and cool the hospital at a savings of $1 million a year, many staff members were enjoying the sun-drenched cafeteria that features two-story windows, the Tree of Life structure that rises from the atrium and numerous other eye-catching features.

The anticipation of opening day was met almost immediately by reality when the first ED patient walked in at 7:01 a.m.

“Emergency nurses thrive in this kind of environment,” said Jeanne Venella, RN, the ED director. “We all felt stalled on the runway. We wanted to get going. The staff is truly thrilled to be in this new environment to have such a great place and space to care for patients.

“The nursing staff and everyone has worked so hard, and we’re just grateful to see this day come.”

Mother-baby nurse Pam Diaz, RN, was a member of the transport team and said all of the planning paid off handsomely for nurses and other staff members.

About 90 minutes after the first ED patient arrived, the hospital’s first baby arrived via C-section.

The technology in the new facility also has made nurses’ lives easier. “I’m most excited that we don’t have to send patients out for an MRI,” Kuti said.

For ED nurse Trisha Bowers, RN, the new surroundings match the skills of those already on staff.

“We’ve always had great people,” she said. “Now we have a great facility too.”

Barry Bottino is a regional editor for Nursing Spectrum.

By | 2020-04-15T14:08:28-04:00 February 8th, 2010|Categories: Greater Chicago, Regional|0 Comments

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