Hospital’s Center of Attention

Registered nurse Joyce Presser, who has been with the hospital for almost 29 years, walks down the hall to the nurse's station at the Hazel Hawkins Hospital Women's Center.

For the nurses and medical personnel at the new Hazel Hawkins Women’s Center, it couldn’t come soon enough.
“Our break room used to be a facility closet,” said Gloria Torres, the resident director for the Hazel Hawkins Hospital Women’s Center, on a recent tour given to the Free Lance.
The recently opened Women’s Center is a vast improvement over the prior facility, Torres said.
“We had six beds and two birthing rooms,” she said.
Now, the new center has 13 birthing rooms with hotel-like amenities for new mothers. The new rooms allow the mothers to deliver and stay afterward in the same room, instead of having to be moved to another unit after giving birth in the old building, she said.
“We don’t have to do that anymore,” she said. “The families like it.”
After two years of construction, the new center opened to the public Dec. 16. Construction began in June 2011. The funding for the center came from the voter-approved bond initiative, Measure L, which passed in May 2005 and raised more than $30 million for the new facility.
“It was just too small, and the equipment was outdated,” said Linda Lico, a registered nurse at the center.
The new center is 42,000 square feet and has “hotel-like” amenities for mothers, as promoted by the hospital district. It also has state-of-the-art operating suites and recovery rooms for C-sections. The facility features two open nurses stations, a newborn nursery, and a two-story atrium lobby and waiting area. Additionally, it has an improved child-security system, known as the “Hugs Infant Protection System” that prevents abductions from the hospital by automatically locking doors to the outside before would-be thieves could leave.
Torres, who has worked at the hospital in various capacities since 1962, is happy with the new facility.
“There were women who’ve delivered in both centers,” she said. “When they come through, they were just amazed at the difference.”
Since it opened in December, the center has already delivered 27 babies, including two on the afternoon of the tour.
“We’ve been plenty busy since we moved in,” Torres said.
Each birthing suite comes complete with its own bathroom, mahogany cabinets, television and a baby-warming station that can be pulled from the cabinets. Also, for nervous dads who need a nap, couches in each room – or “daddy beds” – can be converted into beds.
With taxpayers paying for the construction, the hospital foundation funded many amenities such as $31,000 for a new “SimNewB” baby doll. It is for doctor training and replicates precise issues a newborn might face – including breathing problems, seizures, cries for hunger and other issues. Lico said Stanford University has a similar newborn simulator that replicates a seven-pound newborn.
“It’s a total teaching tool,” she said.
In addition to the SimNewB doll, the Hazel Hawkins Hospital Foundation raised more than $500,000 toward equipping a new O.B. unit. Hazel Hawkins Hospital Auxiliary donated $300,000 toward the new digital mammography equipment.
In the spring, the second floor of the Women’s Center will open and the Women’s Diagnostic Imaging Center will include ultrasounds, digital mammograms, biopsies, bone densitometry and echocardiography, in addition to a resource elibrary and physician sleep rooms.
Lico said that because the staff is small, doctors and nurses have to train to “do it all.” Between Hazel Hawkins, the center and two nursing homes owned by the hospital, more than 600 people work at the hospital.
“We have nurses that have over 30 years of experience,” she said. “The staff is really well-rounded. Whatever you need to be, you do it.”
That staff is appreciative of the new equipment and building, she said.
“We have trouble getting used to the size of these rooms – our old rooms were so small,” Torres said.

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