Sacred Ground Pays Tribute to the PICU
by Elizabeth Heubeck
A few years ago, when Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) staff members realized the move to The Charlotte R. Bloomberg Children’s Center would soon become a reality, colleagues Tricia Nace, BSN, RN, and Laura Lefkowitz, BSN, RN, decided there was one thing they didn’t want lost or forgotten in the shuffle: the memories of the critically ill patients they’d treated in the old building. They also wanted to share how these patients had drawn together each member of the PICU staff—nurses, physicians, child life specialists, respiratory therapists, and more—as an exceptionally strong, caring, and resilient team.
To preserve the legacy, share the cherished memories, and honor the children and families whose lives were forever changed by their experiences in the PICU, the two nurses engaged PICU staff—past and present—to write a book named Sacred Ground—A Tribute: Johns Hopkins Pediatric Intensive Care Unit.
From the start, their idea to produce a book for and by the members of the PICU’s interprofessional team was well received by their colleagues. “No one ever hesitated. Everyone said, ‘You must do this.’ It gave us momentum,” Nace says.
That support evolved into a substan-tial written body of work, which includes around 40 heartfelt entries from various PICU team members based on their experiences on the unit. The stories range from uplifting to heartbreaking to hilarious, and certain themes surface throughout—resilience, commitment, teamwork among them.
If there’s a single passage that sums up the book’s significance, perhaps it can be found in Nace’s introduction: “How do we remember all that we have done for these children and all the times we’ve stood by one another year after year? We have built a camaraderie second to none, forged bonds that can never be shattered, mysteriously read each other’s minds and every move, and worked to an unvoiced rhythm that never misses a beat.”