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Operating rooms at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt set for major renovation

Feb. 9, 2023, 10:21 AM

This rendering shows the layout of one of the 10 operating rooms at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt that will be renovated.
This rendering shows the layout of one of the 10 operating rooms at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt that will be renovated.

by Christina Echegaray

Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt is set to begin the first major renovation of its operating rooms since the hospital opened 19 years ago.

The first phase of renovations will overhaul 10 of the hospital’s 18 ORs, focusing on two surgical suites at a time. The first two rooms to undergo renovations will be the cardiac room and a multiuse room used primarily for robotic surgery cases. Each room will take about 13 weeks to complete.

“We are very excited to begin the renovations. This will enhance the physical plant structure, including everything from the number of outlets we have to the capacity of the ceiling to hold our new booms, monitors and enhanced technology,” said Barb Shultz, MSN, RN, NEA-BC, associate chief nursing officer for Pediatric Surgical Services. “Our mission is to take care of children and their families — infants, children, adolescents — across the whole spectrum of pediatric care, and these renovations will allow us to provide that same quality, compassionate care at a higher and more efficient level for years to come.”

Every year, Monroe Carell surgical teams perform surgery on more than 18,000 children, who come from Tennessee as well as across the Southeast and the nation. Monroe Carell is also a level one trauma center and is consistently one of the top four largest pediatric heart transplant programs in the country.

“As a leading destination pediatric surgical center, we are committed to delivering premier surgical care to children for everything from routine surgeries to complex, cardiac and neurosurgical procedures,” said Jeffrey Upperman, MD, surgeon-in-chief of Monroe Carell and chair of the Department of Pediatric Surgery. “These renovations will continue to propel us forward as innovators in the pediatric surgical care space and to prepare us to serve children well into the future whether on the main campus or in Murfreesboro.”

In addition to the 18 ORs at the main Monroe Carell campus, there are three state-of-the-art ORs plus a GI procedure room at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital Vanderbilt Surgery and Clinics Murfreesboro, which opened in December 2019. The Murfreesboro location brings surgery care closer to home for families while also offering the same level of quality compassionate care by board-certified surgeons.

On any given day, about 250 employees interact with and care for children in the surgery center, including everyone from check-in, to the ORs, to the recovery areas.

Monroe Carell’s operating rooms, designed and built at least 20 years ago, have had some equipment upgrades and minor maintenance over the years. Renovations will redesign some of the rooms, but also provide significant technology improvements and increase efficiency and safety measures.

“Modern updates in OR technology will streamline our surgical service delivery and continue to support high-quality outcomes,” said John Pope IV, MD, surgical director, Perioperative Services and director of Pediatric Urology.

Maria Sullivan, MSN, RN, MMHC, CNOR, manager of the Pediatric Operating Room at Monroe Carell, led the charge on renovations, receiving feedback and ideas from different disciplines — perfusionists, surgeons, nurses, anesthesiologists, environmental services, sterile processing and more.

“This is an exciting, but also daunting journey,” Sullivan said. “We worked really hard to ensure everyone has had a voice in the process, and it’s going to be really great for our teams and patients.”

The enhancements in the OR with newer technology gives the teams the ability to do what they do well now, but more smoothly, Sullivan noted. For example, new advanced, real-time photocapturing technology will automatically upload the photos into the patient’s electronic health records as they are taken during a procedure.

“No one will have to do it manually. The picture will be taken through endoscopic technology, and they automatically load to the patient’s chart. A lot of our patients have staged procedures, so families will be able to view their child’s progress from one surgery to the next,” said Sullivan.

Planning discussions for the OR renovations began about five years ago, but ramped up over the past 17 months, Shultz said.

“We are incredibly grateful for the level of commitment from our Monroe Carell leadership as well as the Vanderbilt University Medical Center leadership for their recognition of the need for upgrades and for their continued support in the care of children in Middle Tennessee and beyond,” Shultz said.

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