What an incredible whirlwind this past summer has been! Together, we have made our way through the external structure and the layout and the interior decoration plans for our new Golisano Children’s Hospital at URMC. We have begun to orchestrate how water, heat, air conditioning, electricity, medical gases, people and everything else everyone needs get from where they are now to where our new hospital will be safely, economically, and efficiently. Now what?
Now comes what may be our only outstanding chance to optimize the most important part of a children’s hospital enterprise – the seamless interactions and innovative practices of the people who make it what it is. In the coming months, teams of us – physicians, nurses, therapists, social workers, dieticians, child life specialists, parents, patients – will be thinking through every aspect of the experiences of patients’, families’, and employees’ within our hospital. From things as simple as helping a family feel welcome and secure in their path as they go from the lobby to the admitting office to their child’s hospital room to things as complex as easing the way for a blind father to visit, first his wife, and then his new baby in the NICU, will all be “walked through” a dozen times in the minds of our different constituencies to optimize them. It will make no difference how beautiful our new hospital is if it takes navigating a circuitous route to take patient meals from the Strong Memorial Hospital kitchen to the Golisano Children’s Hospital patient rooms.
If keeping our floors and walls and bathrooms clean requires different skills or schedules than is the case for Strong, it is up to us to identify ahead of time those employees who choose to work with kids and families and to give them the training they will need and the kudos and pride they will earn before and after the building opens. And because our new building will initially make the hospital somewhat separate from the rest of the medical center, we will need to create events, venues, and circumstances that bring together the students and trainees, researchers and referring pediatricians into our new hospital so that the connections we have enjoyed and benefitted from for decades are enriched rather than squelched.
It would be so tempting, now that the building plans are nearly finished, to sit back and let our colleagues from LeChase do the rest.Â But to make our new house our community’s home for children, families, and all the people who care for them in so many ways, we must continue to work and strive for innovation, for sustainable funding, and for recognition of and collective pride in the many different skill sets and people it takes to keep children healthy.
Nina F. Schor, MD, PhD
Pediatrician-in-Chief, Golisano Children’s Hospital
William H. Eilinger Chair of Pediatrics