By Makenzie McNeill

“Sky Campus” in UNM Hospital’s Critical Care Tower Will Promote Employee Well-Being


The concepts of “culture” and “well-being” often exist as vague or amorphous ideas: abstract things that can’t be touched, but easily identified when seen in action.   

UNM Hospital is committed to fostering a culture of well-being– not only for patients but also for staff - and the fourth floor of the Critical Care Tower (CCT) will hold a tangible piece of that culture.


While the other eight levels of the CCT will focus on patient care, the “Sky Campus” will be available for staff to use for wellness, education, and team-building activities, which is particularly important in this era when health care workers around the nation report increased burn out and fatigue.

This unique environment will allow team members at UNM Hospital, the Health Sciences Center, and the UNM School of Medicine to receive the self-care that they need throughout busy workdays.

The Employee Well-Being team at UNM Hospital, who was involved in the design of the Sky Campus and will have an office there, looks forward to seeing how staff will benefit from this collaborative, shared space. 

“Our role is to support staff so that they can fulfill their purpose in their work here,” said Steven Nuanez, director of Employee Well-Being at UNM Hospital. “We are so proud and happy to have a place like the Sky Campus, a concrete reflection of our culture of well-being, to help us serve our team members better.” 

Staff will enter the Sky Campus via employee-only elevators and stairs. Once they reach the fourth floor, they will have access to break areas and conference rooms, which can be used to decompress, connect with colleagues, and hold team meetings.

Dedicated locker rooms and showers will also be available to on-call physicians, residents, medical students, fellows and staff from the emergency department and interventional platform. 

Additionally, staff will have a variety of food options to enjoy for meals and snacks. Fresh sandwiches, salads and fruit will be available as grab-and-go items alongside traditional vending machines, which will offer healthier options, as well.

The centralized location and amenities of the Sky Campus mean staff will always have a place where they can rest and recharge. Moreover, they will have access to consultation services offered by the Employee Well-Being team, as well. 

“We are excited to have this permanent space where we can meet with staff,” said Melissa McConnell-Hand, employee well-being specialist at UNM Hospital. “Sometimes our team members know that they need support, but aren’t sure where to go. The Sky Campus will be a place where they can always go to receive the care that they need to return to the frontline, feeling good about the work they are doing.”  

The Employee Well-Being team also envisions the many opportunities that the Sky Campus will offer for wellness activities. Some of their ideas include teaching courses on stress management and avoiding burnout, or offering fun events like yoga classes and painting studios.

Although the Sky Campus will only be available to employees, this innovative space will inevitably lead to improved patient outcomes.  

“We know that if our staff are well, we see a reduction in medical errors,” McConnell-Hand said. “Staff are able to communicate better with patients and other team members. Ultimately, they can connect to the work that they are doing in a more meaningful way.”

The well-being of staff directly translates to patient care. When staff have the resources and opportunities to more effectively address their mental, emotional, and physical health while at work, they are in better position to more efficiently serve the patients in their care.

“The Sky Campus shows our patients and community that we are dedicated to the well-being of our staff,” said Eddie Rojas-Alvarado, employee well-being specialist at UNM Hospital. “When our staff are taking care of themselves, then the quality of their care will be better.”

The Sky Campus will serve as a concrete reflection of that culture committed to the well-being of patients and staff alike for generations to come. 

Inside Sky Campus

  • The Sky Campus will be available to team members from UNM Hospital, the Health Sciences Center, and the UNM School of Medicine
  • The Sky Campus will have conference rooms, eating spaces, and break areas for staff  
  • On-call physicians, residents, medical students, fellows and staff from the emergency department and interventional platform will have access to dedicated lockers and showers
  • The Employee Well-Being team will have an office in the Sky Campus to plan events and support staff

CLICK HERE To learn more about the hospital expansion.

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