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Designing Nurses' Voices Heard in Expansion

Annual Report - Winter 2011

Dynamic duo help plan new patient rooms


By Laura Harvey

They’ve been joined at the hip since 2006.

That’s when Pam Redden and Patty Johnston were chosen to lead a multi-year design and activation team for the new inpatient floors in the Albert B. and Margaret M. Alkek Hospital. 

Combining nearly 40 years of inpatient and outpatient oncology nursing experience, they brought first-hand clinical knowledge that proved crucial in designing new patient rooms to maximize time nurses have with patients.

Redden draws on experience

Redden, building planning director for clinical facilities development in the Department of Clinical Operations and former outpatient administrative director, gained invaluable insight into the construction process as she led the Lowry and Peggy Mays Clinic opening in 2004. 

Johnston, director of clinical nursing, brings expertise in specialized inpatient areas such as leukemia, lymphoma and stem cell transplantation, where services and the patient population continue to expand.

While the Department of Facilities Management oversaw the engineering feat, adding nine floors atop a bustling 12-floor hospital, Redden and Johnston led a nursing team focused on providing spaces that reflect MD Anderson’s commitment to patient- and family-centered care. 

Patient, caregiver input valued

They gathered valuable patient and caregiver input and wish lists from faculty and staff — and they worked with architects to incorporate these details.

Input from Pam Redden (left) and Patty Johnston was 
crucial in designing new patient rooms in Alkek 
Hospital. 
Photo: F. Carter Smith

“We challenged operational assumptions, instead of doing things the way we’ve always done them,” Redden explains. 

“We paid attention at the bedside. We’ve relocated supplies, incorporated computers and charts, and voice-activated communication that we’ve adapted to our relationship-centered care delivery model.”

“I considered oncology care from administering chemotherapy and conducting research to delivering care and anticipating what the future holds,” Johnston says.

There’s a reason these new areas stand out. “We used evidence-based design, along with clinicians’ expertise,” Redden says. Johnston adds, “We focused on our patients and families with the goal of providing the highest quality care every day.”


© 2014 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center