Executive Director of Strategic Management
Karin Henderson is a nurse who leads major construction and design projects along with other strategic initiatives for Cone Health. As part of her health system’s response to the pandemic, she was asked to draw upon her experience as an ICU nurse and construction leader to transform an existing vacated women’s hospital into an ICU-level facility. Karin led an interdisciplinary team to complete the planning, design, and repurposing work for the transition.
In four weeks, the team transformed a maternity care facility into a campus equipped to meet the unique needs of COVID-19 patients including over 100 negative pressure rooms and capability to support 96 ventilators.
The area that previously held NICU patients in a ward setting was transformed into 3 bed co-horted spaces that allowed staff to care for these intensive care patients efficiently and safely. In addition to creating a space to treat patients, the transformation was designed to meet the safety, infection prevention, and unique work needs of the nurses, respiratory therapists, and full care team who would be located there.
Small changes to the built environment, such as changing keypads into electronic sensors to allow doors to open without staff touching the surfaces, reflect the detailed planning meant to keep staff safe. New approaches to providing negative pressure environments allowed staff breaks from wearing PPE and supported staff well-being in a highly stressful environment.
Henderson’s leadership fostered an inclusive culture at Cone Health, which empowered front-line leaders and staff to contribute to the design and creation of the new facility. This enabled a rapid transformation of a 176,000 square foot campus into a new care venue that optimizes care delivery processes for clinical teams and meets current and projected COVID-19 care needs for the community.