The facility is beautiful and the backing is strong, but the task ahead of Sky Ridge Medical Human Resources Director Carol Haun is a daunting one.
The challenge: find enough quality people from department directors to a whole hospital’s worth of nursing staff to run the new 106-bed facility that’s slated to open next August.
"It’s been really fun," Haun said. "I just put an ad in for a Director of Surgical Services."
Forgive Haun for enjoying one guilty pleasure, plans have been in place for Sky Ridge for years now. It’s just now that Haun and Chief Nursing Officer Marian Savitsky have really gotten close to being able to start hiring.
Haun and Savitsky believe there are a number of things that will set Sky Ridge apart. And a lot of planning was put into doing that so the nurses feel at home and comfortable as well as the patients.
"First of all, when you have something new it’s beautiful," said Haun, noting Denver hasn’t had a new hospital open up in almost 12 years. "You look at what’s happening in the nursing world and healthcare world and you find out what the issues are."
Sky Ridge officials did that. They noted that the size of units plays a key role in staff turnover.
Haun said in some of the older hospitals, nurses would handle 50-60 beds.
Medical surgery in the new facility will start with 26 beds. There will be 12 intensive care beds and 26 beds in the emergency department.
Officials also looked at the distance nurses had to travel on their floors. Nursing sub stations were built at various intervals and wireless laptops on movable stands are available to be wheeled around the hallways, keeping nurses from going back to their stations to plug in patient information.
Wireless nurse calls will also be used. The calls are actual phones the nurses carry with them allowing patients to call their nurse directly. Doctors can also be paged to call the phones direct to give instructions.
The environment was also considered. With miles of beautiful Denver skyline, designers decided to bring those picturesque settings into the hospital. Nursing stations face large glass windows with a clear view of the mountains. Natural light is used throughout the hospital as much as possible, Haun said.
Haun said other small perks will be available to staff, such as on-site massages.
"Healthcare is tough," Haun said. "But we want to make it fun."
The seven-floor hospital will be a full service one that is already waiting to be built on to. The hospital can be built onto in the back and on top giving it a capacity of just under 340 beds.
The hospital is expected to carry a Level III trauma rating while providing orthopedic, gynecological, pediatric, cancer, obstetrics, neonatal and other care. There will be separate women’s and children’s facilities as well as a cancer center, Haun said.
Word has been out about the new hospital for a long time now.
Savitsky said she started receiving resumes two years ago.
"I think the nursing pool in Denver is highly qualified," Savitsky said.
She pointed to a survey done a couple years ago that identified 3,500 licensed nurses residing in Douglas County. The survey also noted that only half that number was actually working.
"We’ve talked about a greater good coming out of this hospital," Haun said. "We want to create new opportunities for nursing in Douglas County."
"My vision," Savitsky said, "is that this will be a hospital everyone wants to come not only for health care, but to work. My vision is that this is the best of the best."
The opening of a new hospital will be a challenge for all involved, Savitsky said.
"One of the challenges we’ll have is in a start-up facility it’s very different than a hospital that has been established," she said, noting turnover in a new facility can reach 70 percent the first year. "What is important is that people self-screen. People come in thinking this is a honeymoon, but they don’t realize the challenge that exists in a start-up facility.
Case in point, Savitsky’s boss asked her a light-hearted question when she was first interview. Or so she thought.
"When my boss hired me she asked me if I do windows," Savitsky said with a laugh. "Everyone has to step out of their scope to make the hospital successful."
Haun said she hopes to make preliminary offers before employees start next July.
Sky Ridge Medical Center will be located at 10101 Ridge Gate Parkway in Lonetree, Co.
Anyone interested in applying can call Haun at 303-524-1073.