Build Me Up: Redefining Healthcare with Regions Hospital Birth Center
The Build Me Up podcast is continuing its celebration of women in construction throughout the month of March. The latest episode features a two-part discussion with Regions Hospital Director of Nursing Rochelle Johnson, Kraus-Anderson Project Manager Rachael Oelke, and Reiling Construction President Brigid O’Malley. The three discuss the Regions Hospital Birth Center, opening this spring in Saint Paul. The new birth center has added amenities and an innovative care model for mothers and their newborns.
Meet Rochelle, Brigid and Rachael
Rochelle Johnson has been Director of Nursing at the Regions Birth Center since 2017. Prior to joining Regions, Rochelle served as Clinical Informatics Manager at Sidra Medicine. She received her MBA in Nursing Leadership in Healthcare Systems from Grand Canyon University.
Brigid O’Malley is the president of Reiling Construction, a woman and minority-owned general contractor based in Saint Paul. Reiling Construction completed subcontractor carpentry work on the Regions Birth Center project through KA’s Construction Partnership Program.
Rachael Oelke is the project manager on the Regions Birth Center project. She has been at KA for 16 years, specializing in healthcare, including nearly $200 million in hospital projects.
The Regions Birth Center’s Unique Care Model
The innovative Regions Birth Center is wrapping up construction and opening in April. The new center will focus on quality, family-centered care and health equity for Regions’ diverse demographic of patients in Saint Paul. 60 percent of Regions’ birthing patients are women of color, and 25 percent of those women need an interpreter for care. Statistics show that women of color are at a higher risk for pregnancy-related complications. The center will not necessarily increase the number of rooms, but the rooms will be larger and provide more amenities for new mothers and their newborn babies. That new space, designed by BWBR Architects, is intentional about accommodating patients’ needs. Large family waiting spaces and couplet care that allows mothers and babies to receive care in the same room are just a few of the added features patients will experience.
Focusing on Mental Health
The new Birth Center will focus on caring for the whole person, and that doesn’t stop once the mother has given birth. The space was strategically designed to provide care for mothers dealing with postpartum depression, as well as private grieving spaces if a mother loses her child. The Butterfly Room is a private space in a quiet area of the hospital that was designed to be a gathering space for families to grieve together if they have experienced a fetal or maternal loss. Regions is also providing home visits and advanced training for new mothers experiencing postpartum depression. This extended care for the mother’s mental health is an innovative approach that other healthcare providers will model.
Construction Career Pathways
In the second half of the episode, Rachael and Brigid discuss what drew them to the construction industry. Brigid was working in the restaurant industry prior to finding her passion for construction. Her father was in the industry and encouraged her to find her second career in construction. She finds that the business aspects of each industry are very similar, and she enjoys the fun and creativity that comes with completing construction projects. Now the president of Reiling Construction, a woman and minority-owned general contractor, Brigid is on the board for the Association of Women Contractors, which provides scholarships for women interested in joining the field.
Rachael was in her last semester of business school at Minnesota State University – Mankato when she heard a presentation about construction careers that changed her path. She said it was the first time she got excited about a potential future career. Some things that caught her attention was the high rate of job placement, the variety of work that goes into projects, and the ability to start all over every so often with a new team. Rachael has been with KA ever since she graduated, and she sees construction as a viable and fulfilling career.
Tune into Build Me Up for a more in-depth discussion on the Regions Hospital Birth Center and women in construction. You can subscribe wherever you listen to your podcasts.