Level 3 will house our Pediatric Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (PCICU) and Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU). It will have 28 private patient rooms, an increase from 20 rooms in the current PICU. Having one patient per room enhances rest and privacy. It also promotes healing by helping prevent infection. Large windows in every room will let in natural light.

As with all patient rooms in our new hospital, each room will be divided into three areas. The care team zone will include a sink and access to supplies. The patient zone will feature the patient’s bed, TV, and a colorful lighting system known as Drew’s Lamp. The family zone will include a sleeping area to support two adults. A nearby recliner lays flat for sleeping and also has a glider feature for soothing patients and siblings.

Each family zone also will include a TV for the family and lights that can be controlled separately from other lights in the room. All rooms will include a locking storage cabinet and a refrigerator, both for family use. Providing these amenities will help create a sense of normalcy for families.

Rooms will be same-handed in design, meaning that the room layout is identical in every patient room on this level. As a result, beds will never share a common wall, cutting down on noise transfer between rooms. The standardized layout also will improve staff efficiencies and reduce the potential for errors. In case of emergency, the standard layout will enable staff to focus more readily on patients since they’ll know where to find needed supplies. 

Offstage, or staff, areas in the center of every floor have been designed to make patient rooms and hallways quieter, too. The offstage area on Level 3 will include offices, storage areas, and service elevators. Deliveries will be handled offstage, further reducing noise. Patient elevators, also found offstage, will allow patients to be transported between floors privately. Transport will be streamlined as well. PCICU and PICU patients are often accompanied by big teams and large pieces of equipment. Employees will not need to fit equipment into an elevator shared by members of the public.

Patient Care                                          

Patient rooms on Level 3 will be set up differently than rooms on other inpatient floors. Bathrooms will be outboarded, or located at the rear of each room in the family zone. This design allows clear sliding doors to be installed at the entrance to each room, giving the care team a clear line of sight to their patient for monitoring. The large, trifold doors also will make it easier to move needed equipment in and out of rooms quickly and easily. Families will appreciate having their own bathrooms since most rooms in the current PICU don’t have them.

Every room in the PCICU and PICU will have a unique piece of equipment suspended from the ceiling known as a boom. Only four rooms in the current PICU have booms. The others have power columns that cannot be moved, resulting in an inefficient use of space. Each boom in our new hospital will be positioned near the patient’s bed, allowing 360-degree access to the patient at all times. Booms will consist of one long movable arm, with three smaller moveable extensions.  

Everything the care team needs for patient care will be integrated into the boom. For example, the boom in each room will include surgical lights for in-room procedures. The lights on the booms in the new hospital will be the same as those used in operating rooms.

Booms allow the care team to position patient monitors, lights, and medical gas outlets precisely where they need them. Since the booms are easy to move and adjust, the care team can change their position instantly. All booms will feature two monitors. One will be used by a nurse, the other by a surgeon, during procedures. The dual monitors will enhance safety and efficiency.

One of the shorter arms on the boom will include a touchscreen TV for patients. The TV will be positioned on the boom, rather than the wall, at the suggestion of a member of our Youth Advisory Council. During the planning process, he explained that some PCICU and PICU patients must lie flat, making it difficult to see a TV on the wall. Having the TV on the boom also will mean employees will not need to move beds to provide the best viewing angle for each patient. Every patient TV will be equipped with Oneview, our new interactive education and entertainment system for patients and families.

Fourteen of the rooms on this level will be dedicated to the PCICU. All of the nurses caring for patients in this area are specially trained in pre- and post-operative care of pediatric cardiovascular surgery patients. Six rooms will be specially equipped for patients needing electroencephalogram (EEG) monitoring. The rooms will feature a camera and equipment to support 24/7 monitoring.

Four rooms on this level are designed to have the air flow away from the patient’s room and into the hallway. This airflow system will create what is called a positive pressure environment, reducing the risk of infection for the patient.

Three other patient rooms will serve as isolation rooms for those with a contagious illness. These rooms will provide a negative pressure environment. As a result, the room is designed to keep air flow from leaving the room and entering the hallway. One of these rooms will have a small anteroom, or buffer, room. The anteroom will allow the proper air pressure to be maintained in both the patient’s room and nearby hallways.

Two rooms on Level 3 will feature special equipment for bariatric patients. These include portable lifts, reinforced bathroom fixtures, and increased bed capacity.


Amenities on this floor are designed for the convenience of families. Here are some highlights:

Ronald McDonald Family Room: This space is designed as a “home away from home” for families. Hot meals will be provided every evening. Food will also be available for breakfast and lunch at no cost to families. The family room will include a kitchenette, dining area, and living room.

Ronald McDonald Family Sleep Room: Equipped with a queen-size bed, this private bedroom will be available to adults for overnight stays and naps.

Ronald McDonald Family Shower Suite: Family members who spend days at the hospital with their loved ones will appreciate access to showers.

Ronald McDonald Parent Respite Room: This quiet spot will provide a space where parents can decompress or hold private conversations.

Ronald McDonald Lounge—Snacks, basic services, and a TV will be provided.

Family Activity Room: Located on the south side of Level 3, this playroom will provide a place for siblings to entertain themselves away from the patient’s room. Currently, siblings must be taken to an activity room in another area of the hospital.

Level 3 will offer a lactation room for nursing mothers, a family laundry room, two conference rooms, and two nourishment rooms.

Offstage (staff) areas will include office and storage space, staff lockers, and a staff lactation room. An extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) storage room will provide quick access to this specialized equipment when needed.

Getting there: Take the public elevators to Level 3; look for the green fox icon. To reach inpatient rooms, call the unit clerk from a phone in the elevator area. Once admitted to the unit, visitors should wash their hands as directed.

Employees working on Level 3 can get back and forth between University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics and the children’s hospital via the connector on Level 3.