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Nurses, hospital staff help new Silver Cross Hospital shine

Rooms in the new Silver Cross Hospital are 305 square feet and contain plenty of benefits for nurses and patients alike.

Long before nurses stepped into the new $370 million, 289-room Silver Cross Hospital replacement facility in New Lenox, Ill., for the Feb. 26 opening, they got an up-close look at a patient room.

Like many hospitals moving into new digs, Silver Cross created mock rooms. At the hospital’s 120-year-old campus on Joliet’s east side, nurses and other staff members critiqued the surroundings and suggested changes. Then, hospital decision makers made a critical choice.

“We actually took it a step further,” said Peggy Gricus, RN, MSN, MHA, Silver Cross’ CNO/vice president of patient care. “We took two rooms on the sixth floor of the current hospital and turned them into actual patient rooms.”

Not only did nurses get to see how they would work on a daily basis in their new surroundings, but the project gave Silver Cross valuable feedback from patients — who had agreed to stay in the rooms — and from their families, along with other hospital employees.

“It was amazing,” Gricus said. “We thought with the mock room that we had fixed it all. We found … 25 things that we wanted to change.”

Hospital staff noticed a threshold — where IV poles would get stuck — between two types of flooring from the patient’s room into the bathroom. That led to the removal of the threshold in all rooms. When tested, patient lifts in the mock rooms “got the patient out by the door instead of by the bed,” Gricus said.

Another discovery was that of an overhead light controlled by the patient for reading in bed.

“As soon as the patient sat up, the light was behind them,” Gricus said. “Clearly, you don’t read flat on your back. We would’ve made that mistake 289 times (in the new building). If we had not taken that second step and had patients test the mock room, we probably wouldn’t have been able to change it.”

The fact that the suggested changes came from every direction delighted Gricus.

“It’s been an overwhelming privilege to represent the staff and advocate for what they know is best for patients,” Gricus said. “It’s the people at the bedside. It’s the housekeeper who keeps the room clean. It’s nutritional services, the pharmacy. It’s all the caregivers.”

The new facility has allowed nurses to adjust their assignments as well. A 54-bed med/surg unit in the former hospital, for example, is now made up of three 18-bed pods.

The benefit, Gricus said, is more continuity in caregivers for patients and better handoffs.

Immediately inside each patient room is a sink for the caregiver, which allows nurses to follow good infection control practices and offers patients peace of mind.

“The patient can feel assured,” Gricus said. Nurses also will feel assured by being part of the idea process that led to identifying barriers and inefficiencies, such as time spent hunting for and gathering supplies, Gricus said.

“We were tenacious in our desire to chip away at the two hours a day that they were wasting,” she said.

Along with ergonomic wall outlets, RNs will benefit from a bedside computer in every room that will help the nurse “be closer to the patient,” Gricus said.

Barry Bottino is a regional editor.

CHECK OUT PHOTOS and a list of more features in the new Silver Cross Hospital at


By | 2020-04-15T09:29:00-04:00 March 19th, 2012|Categories: Greater Chicago, Regional|0 Comments

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