Much excitement surrounded the weeks leading to the three-mile move from Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago to the new Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital, the $855 million facility on Chicagos downtown campus of the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.
Now settled in, the feeling remains, nurses say.
“Everyones excited to be in the new space and to take our pediatric care to a new level,” said Brian Stahulak, RN, BSN, NEA-BC, administrator for transplant, hematology and oncology services. “We know that our nurses are the best pediatric nurses there are, and this facility lets them get to that, and I think they feel that. Theres a better sense of energy.”
The 23-story facility is twice the size of the old building, but because it serves about the same number of patients, there is more open space. Nurses input played an important role in the design of the new building, Stahulak said, and the changes have been noticeable not just to the staff, but also to patients and their loved ones.
“The second day we were here, I talked to a mom whose infant had been here seven months,” said Micki Arrizola, RN, BSN, IBCLC, director of critical care services.Brian Stahulak, RN
“She looked at me and said, ‘I think this is the first time hes ever slept. My son went to bed last night at 9 oclock, and he didnt wake up until 5 this morning. No other alarms bothered him. It was just him and me. I think that giving parents a private space and kids a better environment to grow was really what our intent was in moving. So its cool.”
Associate CNE Sherri Ewing, RN, MSN, NEA-BC, came to Children’s Memorial in 2001 and can appreciate the upgrades of the new facility, such as private rooms and computers right outside patients rooms.
“I think the thing thats really been so helpful to the employees is seeing how much the families are really enjoying the new space,” Ewing said. “Because the families are really happy, and theyre going, ‘Wow! it trickles over to the employees.”
Among the “wow” factors are rooms on each floor that include a kitchen, TVs and views of the outside. The hospital also features partnerships with 20 local cultural institutions, such as the Museum of Science & Industry and the Lookingglass Theatre, which provided artwork.Sherri Ewing, RN
A partnership with the Shedd Aquarium is evident in the emergency care center waiting room, which includes a view of a coral garden. There also is a Yellow Submarine-themed CT scanner and aquatic images throughout the rooms on the first and second floors.
“They just have a lot more fun and whimsy to them, and a lot more opportunity for distractions,” Ewing said. “Part of what we wanted to do was provide more distractions in areas where kids have procedures.”
And with Prentice Womens Hospital, where 25 percent of Luries patients come from, now connected to Lurie by a walking bridge, newborns requiring critical care and their mothers are benefiting.
“In the past, moms would have had to be discharged and make a three-mile drive,” Arrizola said. “Now they can come across a bridge.
“We see the moms a lot. The power of that connection and making sure that the mom feels like shes part of it and giving them some control, thats the other piece of why we wanted to be here on campus.”
Tom Clegg is a freelance writer.