Kid Friendly space

A detail from the mural in the pediatric surgery center
A detail from the mural in the pediatric surgery center

Pediatric nurses know that surroundings can have a huge Impact on the way children feel ”“ especially when they're feeling nervous about impending surgery.

When Amber Lloyd, RN, BSN, CPN, came to work for the Pediatric Surgery Center of the University of Maryland Children's Hospital two years ago, she took one look at the waiting room for young surgery patients and decided it could use a few cosmetic procedures.

"Our waiting room was not kid-friendly," says Lloyd, whose nursing duties include preparing children for surgery and caring for them in the post-anesthesia period. "The colors were a dark blue with flowered pictures on the wall and blue chairs."

So Lloyd set about connecting with other departments in the Medical Center to get the resources to pay for the job and make sure it was carried out well. "I approached our nurse manager, and she helped connect me with the UMMS Foundation office," Lloyd says. The UMMS Foundation is the philanthropic arm for the Medical Center and other hospitals in the University of Maryland Medical System.

Pamela A. Scott, RN, MS, the nursing manager whose areas include the Pediatric Surgery Center, thought of the UMMS Foundation because it had provided some small donations in the past that came from grateful former patients or other members of the community who wanted to support pediatric areas.

Over the years, grateful families had given collective contributions specifically earmarked for improving the aesthetics of pediatric areas. From this money, Foundation staff were able to provide Lloyd with a budget of $10,000 to carry out her ideas.

In order to use the money in the most efficient manner, Lloyd worked with the UMMC Facilities Department, including project managers Christina Riggs and Lois Savage. The Facilities staff learned of a mural company that could produce what Lloyd had envisioned ”“ a magical "under-the-sea" feeling ”“ using inexpensive murals.

"Once we started really looking at the space, we realized that we could create a soothing atmosphere by providing murals and color, yet still allow a professional but comfortable space for anyone who came in," Riggs says.

Lloyd says the end result feels like walking into an aquarium: chairs were recovered in fish patterns; two walls each have an under-the-sea mural; all of the walls were repainted in greens, blues and yellows; and a new bookcase holds the storybooks that help soothe or distract children who are waiting for surgery. Three new Playstation game consoles are also popular with the children.

"What we have now is a huge improvement from the past," Lloyd says. "It is amazing now to watch the children come in and enjoy the murals on the walls and tell their parents what animals they see. We now have a few more ideas that would make the space even better ”“ a few more pictures for the walls, and a design for the front door. We will be working with the UMMS Foundation to try to identify other sources of funding to make that possible."