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CHOC Children’s RN says new tower ‘great opportunity for nursing staff’

CHOC Children’s Hospital in Orange, Calif., is on its way to becoming a top pediatric care facility through a new state-of-the-art tower set to open in spring 2013.

Already a leading hospital in the area, CHOC soon will be able to treat more patients and perform surgeries, vital testing and other key services on-site, said Lyn Ames, RN, MS, CNOR, NEA-BC, administrative director of surgical services. Surgeries and other services such as laboratory, radiology and ED care now take place at the neighboring St. Joseph Hospital through a special agreement starting in 1964 when CHOC began by leasing a wing there. That agreement is slated to expire in April 2013 as services at the new south tower come online, Ames said.

CHOC broke ground on the approximately $560 million seven-story structure in August 2009. The addition is expected to add 426,000 square feet of space and feature Orange County’s only pediatric ED, as well as operating rooms and laboratory, pathology, imaging and radiology services.

“It’s pretty phenomenal,” Ames said. “Imagine what it’s going to be like when all of those services are actually in one place and on-site. It’s also a great opportunity for nursing staff.”

The expansion will create about 500 healthcare positions — 300 of which will be for nurses, Ames said. CHOC is planning to start posting jobs by July, she said.

“We have all kinds of jobs that will be available,” Ames said. “This is a really unique opportunity.”

Melanie Patterson, RN

Designed to appeal to young patients, each floor features different Earth- and universe-related themes, starting with a fossils and dirt theme in the basement where the lab is located, said Melanie Patterson, RN, MHA, executive director of south tower activation. An ocean theme is planned for the first floor, with a beach concept for the second floor and an insect and flower motif on the third.

The fifth floor, which will house the hematology and oncology unit, will feature a sky theme and boast relaxing shades of blue and bird details. The fourth, sixth and seventh floors will remain shelled as future expansion space and eventually feature themes of reptiles and vegetation, the solar system and space and constellations, respectively, Patterson said. Renovations are planned to update the look of the hospital’s existing north tower and add similar themes.

To make long or frequent stays at the hospital more comfortable, the tower will offer 28 private hematology and oncology rooms equipped with desks for laptops and homework, iPod docking stations, safes and refrigerators.

“It will be huge for our families,” said Patterson, who previously worked as clinical director of the Hyundai Cancer Institute at CHOC before playing a role in the tower planning. “We want to make sure that they can continue their daily living.”

Evidence-based practice, along with comments from staff contributed to various safety aspects in the design, such as making every patient room same-handed, Patterson said.

Lyn Ames, RN

“Each patient room will be identical to minimize the potential for human error,” she said. “You don’t have to figure out where the suction canister is or where the oxygen is.”

Rooms also are being constructed with materials that help reduce noise, Patterson said. Large windows are planned to bring in natural light and make patients more relaxed.

Other amenities in the new tower include a second floor meditation and prayer center, a family resource library, coffee kiosk and teen and pre-teen rooms. To provide a fun, interactive outlet for patients, an in-house radio station and multimedia center also is planned.

The tower also will feature a 3,000-square-foot outdoor play area for patients, along with 7,000 square feet of outdoor garden space.

“The garden really gives our families some place to be outside,” Patterson said. “It’s beautiful. Everything has been designed to enhance the patient care experience.”

Using sustainable construction and green infrastructure, the tower also boasts an eco-friendly design, Patterson said.

“All the building materials, the energy and water management systems that we’re installing showcase we’re committed to the environment and efficient use of our natural resources,” she said.

A cutting-edge MRI machine and operating room integration system are among the advanced equipment that will be used in the new building, Ames said. The project also will allow CHOC to add a second heliport. “We are all devoted and committed to the kids,” Patterson said. “All of our services include everything kids might need. Kids are not little adults. We don’t treat them the same.

By | 2020-04-15T09:36:48-04:00 May 1st, 2012|Categories: Regional, West|0 Comments

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