Creating Healing Spaces: THE PLAYERS Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders at Nemours Children’s Health, Jacksonville

Mariel Beesting, NCIDQ, EDAC, LEED Green Associate

Mariel Beesting, NCIDQ, EDAC, LEED Green Associate

Sarah Boyne, RID, NCIDQ, IIDA

Sarah Boyne, RID, NCIDQ, IIDA

According to the American Cancer Society, about 9,910 children in the United States under the age of 15 will be diagnosed with cancer in 2023. In the face of pediatric cancer, families find themselves navigating a tumultuous landscape filled with stress and uncertainty. That is why we kept them front of mind throughout the entire design process for THE PLAYERS Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders at Nemours Children’s Health in Jacksonville, Florida. Through Nemours’ strong partnership with Wolfson Children’s Hospital, the new space provides an enhanced experience for patients and family members. The state-of-the-art facility offers a fully integrated approach to hematology/oncology treatment with the ability to provide consolidated services under one roof.

A continuation of Gresham Smith’s longstanding relationship with Nemours, the specialty clinic is located on the fifth floor of Nemours Children’s Health, Jacksonville, which was originally designed by the firm. Gresham Smith’s Life and Work Places market worked with Nemours to relocate their administrative offices from the fifth floor to the seventh floor of the building to open up 12,000 square feet of space for the clinic.

The firm’s Healthcare group provided architecture and interior design services for the project, with a goal to create a space that not only equips clinicians to deliver the best care, but also reduces stress for patients and provides respite for family members. In this post, we take a look at the new children’s specialty clinic that immerses its young inhabitants in a world of colorful spaces and nurturing amenities that embrace the notion that healing extends beyond physical treatment alone.

Fostering a Sense of Hope

Within THE PLAYERS Center for Cancer & Blood Disorders at Nemours Children’s Health, Jacksonville, every detail of the design has been meticulously crafted to provide a comforting and uplifting environment for pediatric patients and their families. From the carefully designed flooring patterns and curvilinear forms to the vibrant accent colors on the walls and ceilings, the intentional design elements play a crucial role in aiding with wayfinding while fostering a sense of hope and positivity.

Thoughtfully Planned

Once visitors step off the elevator, the colorful lobby and waiting room is the first space they’ll see. Designed to reduce anxiety, this distinctive gateway to the clinic features floor-to-ceiling windows with expansive views of the St. John’s River that runs through the heart of downtown Jacksonville. Recognizing the innate healing power of creativity, a dedicated arts and crafts space was thoughtfully planned to engage and uplift young patients.

Privacy, Visibility & Innovation

The infusion suite features five semi-private infusion bays with large windows that also provide stunning views of the St. John’s River in downtown Jacksonville. Through a partnership with Nemours, the infusion suite is staffed by Wolfson Children’s Hospital pediatric oncology-certified nurses. These infusion bays are situated around the exterior to take advantage of natural light for both patients and staff. Playful floor patterns and color-changing lights that can be controlled from the bays serve as a positive distraction for patients as they undergo treatment. Low walls create a sense of privacy while at the same time provide clear sightlines and easy access for care staff.

This infusion suite is a catalyst of innovation between healthcare providers for the Jacksonville community. Providing a new dedicated laboratory space for care testing, it includes a pneumatic tube station connecting Nemours’ main laboratory to Wolfson Children’s Hospital. This unique connection allows patients and families to receive their care more efficiently and in an outpatient setting.

Customizable, Responsive & Sustainable

The design was thoughtfully structured to offer flexibility, allowing for seamless configuration as the center’s demands shift. For example, demountable partitions in staff work areas can be reconfigured to accommodate changing workflows and staff needs. This creates a work environment that is not only sustainable and efficient, but is also customizable and responsive, enhancing the overall experience and productivity of staff.

A Fun Oasis

Nestled within the cutting-edge specialty clinic, the Teen Center offers an array of video games and lounge space for teenagers, providing moments of joy and escape—whether they’re a patient or a family member waiting for a loved one to finish treatment.

Enhanced Care

The clinic also houses exam and consultation rooms, including separate exam rooms for immunocompromised patients to provide an additional level of care. The rooms are located along the exterior walls to maximize views of the waterfront and downtown Jacksonville, as well as provide ample daylighting for patient care. Keeping both staff and patients in mind, the workspace is designed to pivot seamlessly out of the way, allowing for greater mobility and efficient workflow.

Transforming Lives

Furthering the incredible work being done at Nemours Children’s Health, Jacksonville, the recently opened specialty clinic is set to transform lives and strengthen the community. The center not only represents a landmark moment for cancer and blood disorder care in Northeast Florida, but also serves as a beacon of hope for children, adolescents and their families, reminding them that they do not face this journey alone.