When you approach Roper St. Francis Mount Pleasant Hospital, you get the feeling you’re about to check into a health spa or swanky hotel. That’s because this is not your ordinary hospital.
It’s specifically designed, you see, to be a quiet place, quite unlike the hustle and bustle you might experience at other hospitals.
“People say it’s so quiet around here and they wonder if we’re open,” said John Sullivan, chief executive officer of the hospital near Wando High School on U.S. Highway 17 North. “But the truth of the matter is that this wonderful facility was designed to be just that – quiet.”
Roper St. Francis Mount Pleasant Hospital sits on 78 acres of lush Lowcountry land, set back from the highway, with minimal signage in order to meet the town’s restrictive codes. Normally it takes a start-up hospital three years to operate in the black. On the second full year of operation, Roper St. Francis Mount Pleasant Hospital was in the black. The hospital has also won numerous awards for its service to the community.
Once you enter from any direction, it’s not like your typical hospital where corridors run through the center of the building, putting patients and visitors right in the middle of the healthcare hubbub most folks are accustomed to.
Indeed, Sullivan explained, visitors never see patients being wheeled on stretchers or in wheelchairs, unless they’re being discharged. All that activity, including the nurses’ stations, occurs behind the walls and out of sight.
“I guess it’s kind of peculiar for it to be so quiet around here,” Sullivan said with a smile. “But quiet is one thing that ranks high on patients’ satisfaction lists, so we’re designed to specifically meet that need.”
Hush, therefore, is more than a word. It’s also an acronym at Roper St. Francis Mount Pleasant Hospital that stands for “Help Us Speed Healing.” And each afternoon, from 2-4 p.m., the staff turns down the lights and any bells and whistles for a designated quiet time.
On a recent visit, for instance, about 150 people were in the building and yet you seldom saw any of them unless you were escorted behind closed doors where the medical staff worked as busy as ever.
“This is the future of healthcare,” Sullivan said. “And when it comes to our goal of distinction in the three areas of quality, patient safety and the patient experience, we want to show that we measure up to anybody.”
By: Ken Burger, former Post and Courier sports columnist and local author. Reach Ken at firstname.lastname@example.org.