From the ground up: From left, Jenna Cole, RN; Tourn; and Borgella

For most of the staff on the newly-opened Bigelow 7 General Medicine Unit, the renovated space is their first experience of working at the MGH. For two members of the team though, it is a homecoming.

Mary Brown, RN, recently graduated from nursing school only to return to the floor she trained on during her time as a patient care assistant when the floor was an Emergency Department Observation Unit.

“It’s been very comforting for me to be back on a floor I am familiar with, but with the floor being changed to a Medicine Unit, there’s a feeling that we are building the floor from ground up,” Brown said at the official opening of the new unit Oct. 29. “Before we opened, we had conversations about what we wanted our floor to look like, what kind of culture our floor would have and discussed our goals. Starting something like this from the beginning is a once in a lifetime sort of opportunity.”

Another familiar face of Bigelow 7 past and present is Pablo Tourn, operations manager in Patient Care Services. “It’s nice to be back home and see this floor come back to life during the renovation,” he said. “There were so many different groups working together on this project, from our unit staff to Building and Grounds to Pharmacy.”

Because of the tight quarters on the unit, Tourn and his colleagues had to get creative when it came to using the space. “Everything has to have a purpose and everything has a home when working on a smaller unit,” he said. “With so many of us on the floor involved in the planning process, we were able to really customize the space to ensure that we have everything we need to take care of our new medicine patients.”

The renovation of the Bigelow 7 unit is part of the hospital’s multipronged approach to addressing capacity constraints at the MGH. “The strong collaboration, dedication and commitment amongst the Department of Medicine, Nursing and Patient Care Services, and other support services and departments resulted in a reinvigorated physical environment, and a safe and efficient transition,” said Marie Borgella, RN, Bigelow 7 nursing director.

The leadership team for Bigelow 7 includes Tourn; Borgella; Mia Haddad, RN, clinical nurse specialist; and William Hillmann, MD, inpatient physician director.