After the move
Date: May 30, 2012
A new beginning for those not moving
Most staff members throughout The Johns Hopkins Hospital had the straight-forward task of packing up their units in the historic facility, moving patients and unpacking in the new clinical towers. Judy Rohde’s role in the mammoth transition was more complicated. As director of nursing for neurosciences and psychiatry, Rohde prepared staff for moving and for not moving. Although neuroscience and child psychiatry have relocated, the adult psychiatry department remains in Meyer.
That earlier “left-out” feeling prevalent among those staying put has evolved, Rohde says. Many staff members are actually relieved, she says. “There’s a certain comfort in the stability and sameness here.”
Thanks to vacated space, the psychiatry nursing staff now has a “sorely needed” break room, Rohde says. Painted in restful colors, the “Relaxation Room” gives nurses a place to eat, catch up on work and participate in group activities such as meditation. Project support came from the office of Karen Haller, vice president for nursing and patient care services, as well as a nursing endowment fund.
On Osler 4, a medicine unit that isn’t moving, team spirit remains strong. “You have to have camaraderie or you can’t do your job,” says Stacey Taylor, a nurse known for her stellar 27-year attendance record. Her unit will get a facelift in the near future. “Nobody here feels left out,” Taylor says. “We have a new unit to look forward to, which will increase by three patients and nearly double in size.”
The view from the top
On the first official day in the new patient towers, support associate Mary Washington is filling the paper hand-towel dispenser in Room 47. Widely regarded as having the best view on 12 East Zayed—the new home of Meyer 8—this corner patient room offers commanding views both south and west: the harbor, the ships, the Key Bridge, the city’s historic core, the hazy western suburbs of Catonsville. Washington can even spot the rooftop of her row house at Fayette and Collington.
For the past 16 years, her daily commute has been pretty darn good. And now she’s jazzed about the new, state-of-the-art amenities that her unit’s neurological patients are beginning to enjoy.
“It’s beautiful! It’s gorgeous!” the 64-year-old associate says, as she points to the room’s yet-to-be-used flat-screen TV and demonstrates the comfort of the expansive lounge chair. On her first full day in 12 East, Washington is getting used to the layout, the routine and the bigness of a move that still carries excitement.
“Our job is to make the patients as happy and comfortable as possible,” she says. “This place is quieter, and the patients aren’t as apt to be disturbed. They can rest in a room like this and be at peace.”
Since Washington first began working in Environmental Services, she says the level of care for patients and their families has developed markedly. She felt the improvement firsthand last year when her 6-year-old grandson was diagnosed with cancer. Although an operation at Hopkins removed almost two-thirds of his liver, the boy has regained his weight and is recovering well. The support her family received from doctors, nurses and chaplains is also the stuff from which healing springs.
Now, looking out the windows of Room 47, Washington not only sees the sweep of the city, but a world that stretches clear to June when her grandson turns 7.
“This is a great hospital,” she says.
A look back and a fond farewell
In the midst of the excitement of moving and setting up shop in the new clinical towers, two surgeons took a few moments to poignantly reflect on what the historic buildings will always mean to them.
Robert Montgomery, director of the Johns Hopkins Comprehensive Transplant Center
“The move has lots of excitement. But you have to remember I spent 25 years in those other operating rooms, a good deal of that in one OR specifically, so it’s been like home to me. So yesterday, I went over and said goodbye to that room. It was a profound experience actually. The room’s completely empty, and they’ve already started to disable it. I’m just going through the process in my mind of leaving that place and coming over here.
And then I came over here and walked around the room that will be my new home for a couple of decades, and it’s bittersweet. It’s new, and that’s wonderful, and I think it will make Hopkins even a greater place. Patients will be more comfortable, and family members can stay in the room with them, which is a huge advancement, particularly in transplant surgery.
So I’m very excited about all that, but there still is this thing of leaving something familiar that has been so much a part of me for a long time. There is just a part of me that will be left behind. We took care of a lot of patients there, transformed a lot of lives during those 25 years, and I think you have to pay homage to that. I’m kind of sentimental that way. I think that changes in life should be acknowledged and punctuated. So, I actually took a rose over to OR Room 4 yesterday and laid it inside the room and said goodbye.”
David Efron, director of the Division of Trauma and Surgical Critical Care
“You think about the history of these operating rooms … We’ve had the privilege of doing our emergency cases in the middle of the night in the same rooms that Blalock and Halsted used to operate in. I like to tell trainees that there are a lot of ghosts hanging over us, watching. It’s a privilege to work in what seems sometimes like a museum.”