Nurse Manager Brittany Ransom, center, speaks with Food and Nutrition Services Contractor Jim McKeown on 2 West.
Brittany Ransom, center, nurse manager, speaks with Jim McKeown, food and nutrition services contractor, on 2 West.
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New patient floor helps meet UMMC’s capacity needs

Published on Monday, May 6, 2019

By: Ruth Cummins

When the University of Mississippi Medical Center’s newest adult patient floor opened April 15, all of its 13 beds were in use by the end of the day.

That’s no surprise, seeing that 2 West was created as a medical-surgical overflow unit for University Hospital, which almost every day is at capacity.

“It’s no secret that UMMC is always bursting at the seams,” said Brittany Ransom, nurse manager for the newly renovated floor that formerly housed offices and procedural areas. “We determined the need for a new unit where patients can stay and receive the same care as on other medical-surgical floors.”


“Two West is the first in a series of steps for our plan to manage capacity in the adult hospital,” said Jason Zimmerman, associate chief nursing officer for adult nursing services. “We chose med-surg for 2 West, because that’s currently where the majority of our capacity issues lie.”

Daily occupancy stands at 90-plus percent for the Jackson campus’ 697 beds spread between University Hospital, Wiser Hospital for Women and Infants, Conerly Critical Care Hospital and Batson Children’s Hospital. “We go with that on a day-to-day basis, and we’re at capacity greater than 80 percent of the time,” Zimmerman said.

Two West is considered part of the old adult hospital, but is connected to University Hospital. Transforming it into a patient floor was a process.

Every room was refurbished, and a few were combined in a facelift that began in late fall. “Once that was complete, I was hired as manager and some new staff were hired,” Ransom said. All told, the 2 West team includes four full-time charge nurses, eight full-time registered nurses, four technicians, four secretaries and several relief positions.

“The nurse-patient ratio is very similar to other floors,” she said. “For the most part, I hired all outside applicants.”

The renovation took more than planning and hiring staff, though.

Registered Nurse Cynthia Grice, left, works the desk on 2 West.
Nurse Cynthia Grice, left, works at the 2 West desk.

“Getting supplies and other things ordered definitely took a whole team,” Ransom said. “We had to stock nutrition items like juice, ice cream, popsicles and broth for patients on clear liquids. We ordered glucometer supplies for finger sticks and respiratory supplies. We used the 2 North supply stock as our template, because we have very similar patients.”

Beds are filled by patients who primarily arrive post-surgery, from one of the intensive care units or from the Emergency Department, with an occasional patient admitted after being seen in a clinic, Ransom said.

“So far, it’s all gone as smoothly as we could have made it,” she said.

The cost of renovating alternate space in other parts of the hospital was higher than converting 2 West into a patient floor. “It was a more immediate solution,” Zimmerman said. “But, we will be building out other units as well.

“The Medical Center has dedicated capital dollars to continue the expansion of beds through fiscal year 2020,” he said, with UMMC’s capacity steering committee of clinicians and executives leading up the efforts.

“The bottom line is that we have a high demand of very acute patients that only UMMC can take care of. We’re the only hospital in the area or state that can take care of some conditions, so that’s a further need for creating more capacity.”