The Josie Robertson Surgery Center is the newest outpatient facility as part of the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Opening this past January 2016, the JRSC will be open 24 hours a day, 6 days a week. A state-of-the-art facility, the JRSC combines not only the latest in technological and medical advancements in surgical care, but integrates art into the daily life of the patients there.
From the minute a patient walks into the lobby, he is greeted by art. Contemporary art covers almost every wall, inspiring anyone who walks through the halls, encouraging them to meditate and heal. There is so much art in fact, that the JRSC is planning to host Art Tours that will help recovering patients to get walking and reach their post-surgery goals.
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center is the world’s oldest and largest private cancer center. Founded in 1884, MSK is known for their exceptional patient care. Consistently ranking among the top hospitals in the nation for cancer care and pediatric care, MSK was recently recognized for having the most top cancer doctors in the New York area. Their new JRSC is located at 1133 York Avenue at East 61 Street. With this outpatient surgery center, doctors can perform 60 operations a day that will include mastectomy, breast reconstruction, prostatectomy, nephrectomy, thyroidectomy, hysterectomy, and plastic and reconstructive surgery. The center is committed to developing the best in patient care and to finding innovative ways to perform operations and to help patients heal afterward.
Walking after surgery is critical for successful recovery. Art is only one part of what will inspire a patient to get out of bed and ambulate through the halls, but the JRSC considers it essential to the center’s operations. Art can do many things, and in this case, it seems to help heal. Examiner spoke with the executive director of the design team to learn more about the center and its art:
Suzen L. Heeley is the Executive Director of Design+Construction for Memorial Sloan Kettering. She’s been with MSK for 5 years, spending almost all of that time developing the Josie Robertson Surgery Center.
Examiner: What need does the JRSC fill in New York?
Suzen Heeley: JRSC offers our patients a high-volume, aesthetically beautiful and safe facility to accommodate the increasing numbers of outpatient and single overnight stay surgical procedures for cancer treatment.
The Josie Robertson Surgery Center (JRSC) is totally devoted to furthering the effectiveness of advances in ambulatory surgery for our patients, documenting those advances and demonstrating the high quality of ambulatory surgical care with quantitative metrics of performance. In addition to increasing the availability of these surgical procedures to MSK’s patients, JRSC will provide an academic, research and training platform with important consequences for cancer treatment in medical centers throughout the world.
Examiner: When and why was the idea of art in the surgery center included in the plans?
SH: Given the short term nature of this facility, it is important for patients to ambulate prior to discharge. In order to manage patient ambulation, we devised an art walk which creates milestones by which patients and clinicians can monitor progress. The art, along with a real time location system enables us to chart patients and their ambulation achievements.
Examiner: What kind of art is hung or installed in the center? Who chooses the art?
SH: Largely, we retain art consultants to provide art for newly constructed or renovated spaces. The art should be sensitive to and supportive of cancer patients, providing them with positive distractions that are meditative and reflective, yet also infuse surprise and delight into patient environments. A wide variety of media, original and reproductions are integrated into the art programs to exhibit a full range of art types. Additionally, we use curated photographs taken by our own staff, which serve to fully engage employees in the patient experience.
Examiner: What effect does the art have on patients? On doctors? Visitors?
SH: Satisfaction with the hospital environment is an important component in service quality. The physical environment is not a just a backdrop for healthcare delivery, but can play a powerful role in the overall patient experience. There is a robust body of evidence regarding the importance of nature, and its impact on the healing process, especially when actual views of nature are unavailable. Infusing art into the patient experience can have positive effects on heart rate, level of pain medications required, blood pressure, stress-reduction, patient/staff satisfaction and more.
Art therapy, such as our Art Expressions program, instructs outpatients and caregivers in creative art workshops. Visitors and caregivers can spend countless hours in healthcare environments, so positive distractions may provide welcome relief. The MSK ArtKart circulates through clinic waiting rooms, providing diversional projects to both patients and caregivers.
Examiner: Is there anything else readers should know about the center?
SH: Our purpose and promise statement are clear. We are a community of exceptional people united by a singular purpose: to conquer cancer. Not only do we deliver exceptional cancer care, we strive to deliver a transformative patient experience that includes an environment that supports the body, mind and spirit.