On April 23, the second phase of the MGH’s bed reallocation project took place as part of the hospital’s multipronged approach to addressing capacity constraints at the MGH. Dedicated staff across a number of disciplines worked together to ensure a smooth transition for patients, and the move was captured in a special “Day in the Life” photo slideshow, available for viewing on Apollo, the MGH intranet.

6:30 am: MGH staff gather in the Phillips House 22 lounge. Its floor-to-ceiling windows overlook the city, fog draping a wet cover over the tops of the skyscrapers, red and white lights highlighting the near standstill traffic snaking in from all directions, the famed Citgo sign dark at this early hour.

The solarium lounge-turned-command center is in stark contrast to the damp spring weather. Here, neon lights are ablaze, energy is rampant, coffee flows freely. In less than three hours, the second phase of the MGH’s bed reallocation project will officially begin. Phillips 21 – a Gynecology Unit – will become a General Medicine Unit with Hospital Medicine. Phillips 22 – General Surgery, General Medicine and Orthopaedics – will become the Vincent Gynecological Service and General Surgery Unit.

The move has been carefully planned. Dozens of staff members across multiple disciplines have spent months discussing, coordinating and scheduling the relocation of patients and services. From 6 am to 3 pm, each minute has been carefully detailed. The goal is to adhere to the schedule as closely as possible to ensure there is no disruption to patient care.

But this dedicated team of nursing professionals knows first-hand the variables that come with patient care. Change is constant. Plans always tentative.

“This is no easy task, but ultimately we believe this will positively impact our hospital capacity challenges,” said Suzanne Algeri, RN, associate chief nurse and bed reallocation implementation co-lead.

The team reviews multiple spreadsheets, reading aloud directives and discussing and prioritizing each patient, each room, each and every concern.

“I have a question about my patient. He’s been ambulatory for four days and we’re watching his pain.”

“When my patient is moved, do I ride in the elevator with him? I’d like to make sure he’s settled and introduced to his new care team.”

The questions are varied, but the overarching response remains the same: “Whatever works, we can do.”

7:15 am: Roles are assigned. Red and blue vests are handed out. Nurses have offered their expertise in different leadership roles: Jessica Flynn, RN, and Heather Szymczak, RN, are unit leaders. Molly Lyttle, RN, and Maryalyce Romano, RN, serve as greeters to stay with patients during the relocation to help answer their questions and make sure they are settled. Dianne Heislein, RN, is the team’s resource nurse.

The clock ticks closer to 7:30 am. There is a collective pause and silence as they come to the last page in the packet of paperwork.

For the next hour, staff will ready their patients for the move. Breakfast is served. Medication is reviewed and dispensed. Each patient received a letter about the relocation and their family members were briefed, but the nursing staff want to be at the bedside to make sure they have answered any lingering questions.

And the Phillips 21 and Phillips 22 staff begin to complete their last tasks as staff members on the floor.

To read the full story and see more images, visit Apollo at apollo.massgeneral.org.

This article was originally published in the 07/12/19 Hotline issue.