July 19, 2016

72016pokemon640In light of the recent Pokémon GO craze, Texas Children’s wants to remind employees about our policies and our continued responsibility to promote a safe environment for our patients and their families while they are in our care.

A recently released mobile game called Pokémon GO encourages players to use their smartphones’ GPS and cameras to catch virtual Pokémon in various and unexpected locations. This game encourages players to wander in public places in search of Pokémon characters.

It has been reported the app is being downloaded and played at Texas Children’s locations, and some Pokémon characters are showing up at our locations including patient care and secured areas. As a result, this could potentially lead to many unsafe situations for our patients, their families and our employees. This includes:

Patient and family safety
  • Patients leaving their patient care areas without telling caretakers or parents
  • Patients entering unsecure/dangerous areas
  • Patient photos being posted to social media without knowledge/consent
  • Strangers entering Texas Children’s facilities with the sole reason to play Pokémon GO
  • Malware affecting their smartphones
Employee risks
  • All of the above
  • Leaving patient care areas
  • Violation of the following:
  • Use of Social Media Policy
  • Wireless Acceptable Use IM Policy
  • Employee Conduct Policy
  • Patient Photography Procedure
  • Patient Photography Policy
Information Services (IS) risks
  • App’s ability to compromise network’s security
  • Malware infecting the network
  • Productivity loss

There are no acceptable circumstances where the app may be downloaded or played at any Texas Children’s location.

Please be aware of the above risks and possible policy violations. IS has put measures in place to block this application from our networks; however, individuals may still have access to the app via their personal data plans. Information will be distributed to patients and families as well.

72016alkalinebattery640From implementing eco-friendly programs to reduce medical waste, enhance energy conservation and promote recycling practices, Texas Children’s Green Team continually engages employees and staff around collaborative initiatives to help Texas Children’s go green every day.

On July 14, the Green Team launched a pilot program for recycling alkaline batteries, which is being rolled out in strategically designated areas of the hospital at Texas Children’s medical center campus.

“We had a lot of interest expressed during events about the possibility of recycling alkaline batteries,” said Ron Robb, Texas Children’s assistant director of Biomedical Engineering. “We checked with the City of Houston for guidance, and ultimately decided to move forward with expanding our recycling program.”

Considering that Texas Children’s uses more than 10,000 pounds of alkaline batteries each year, the Green Team will pilot the recycling program in areas that are the largest users of alkaline batteries which include Pharmacy, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Cardiology, Biomedical Engineering and Facilities.

The recycling bins are located in the following areas:

  • NICU (West Tower, fourth floor) – Pod A and Pod B Utility Room
  • EP Lab (West Tower, 20th floor) – Cartech office
  • Pharmacy (Pavilion for Women, seventh floor)
  • Facilities Operations (Abercrombie Building, B2) – Reception area
  • Central Distribution (Abercrombie Building, B1) – Decontamination area

When recycling these items, do not tape or cover the leads on the alkaline batteries. Only alkaline batteries will be accepted.

For hospital areas that will not receive collection containers, employees can drop off their alkaline batteries at the Biomed Front Desk on the sixth floor of Abercrombie Building near the Red Elevators.

“Our long-term goal is to expand this program system wide,” Robb said. “The program will be rolled out in phases, depending on compliance and participation, which will drive the number of containers and frequency of collection.”

Facilities Operations will monitor the recycling bins to see how quickly they fill up. If a recycling bin is full, contact Ted Walker at Ext. 4-5197. For more information about the pilot program, contact Robb at Ext.4-1808 or Eric Swaim at Ext. 4-3685.

Save the Date: Energy Conservation Event

On Tuesday, August 2, from noon to 2 p.m., the Green Team will host an energy conservation event on The Auxiliary Bridge.

Several community vendors will provide eco-friendly, cost-saving tips to employees including how to become more energy efficient all year round as well as information on energy and utility incentives available, tips on rain water harvesting, how to maximize energy conservation in your home with the installation of solar roofs and panels, and much more.

Be sure to save the date and encourage your colleagues to participate.

Stay tuned to Connect for more details about upcoming Green Team activities including the hospital’s October launch of the pharmaceutical waste recycling program. Also, if you’d like to reach out to the Green Team with your green ideas or suggestions, email teamgreen@texaschildrens.org

72016Sager640Craig Sager, recipient of the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance at ESPN’s Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly Awards, or the ESPY Awards, gave an inspiring speech about his journey battling cancer and the comfort he’s found in the model train exhibit at Texas Children’s Hospital.

“Many nights I don’t get out of the hospital until after midnight. I always take the same walking path back to the hotel. The sidewalks wind through a maze of buildings, including Texas Children’s Hospital. Many nights I would stop, pause and I’ll go inside. A few feet inside the hallway is this large model train display covered by glass. There are seven buttons on the outside. They activate the trains, the circus, the toys and the trolley. And many nights alone, in the stillness and the solitude of the hospital, I push those buttons and I watch the trains as they disappear through the tunnel and emerge full steam on the other side. I watch the trains as they pass by the town square, the dinosaur canyon, the pirates cove, Santa Land and the ice skating rink. And I sit there and I watch and l listen. I listen to the sounds of the circus, of the kids laughing and of the train chugging along. Now I don’t know why I am so brought to this train set. Perhaps it’s my life coming full circle. Maybe it’s just the kid inside all of us. Or perhaps it’s a few minutes of my life that leukemia can’t take from me.”

Sager’s full speech: http://ow.ly/2PCs302fbkg

72016PaulaMcSwain175Paula McSwain of Texas Children’s Pediatrics Baytown is the latest Texas Children’s Super Star leader. “Working for an organization that values and recognizes employees for their efforts has raised the bar for my professional and personal goals as well,” McSwain said. Read more of McSwain’s interview below and find out how you can nominate a Super Star.

Your name, title and department.
Paula McSwain, Practice Manager, Texas Children’s Pediatrics Baytown

What month are you Super Star for?
Third Quarter (July – September) 2016 for Texas Children’s Hospital

Tell us how you found out you won a super star award.
A surprise breakfast meeting was planned by my staff/providers; Kay Tittle, president of Texas Children’s Pediatrics; Pat Coleman, director of regional operations; and Claudia Cerrato Day, assistant director of regional operations.

What does it mean to be recognized for the hard work you do? How has the organization helped you achieve your personal and professional goals?
I was honored to receive this award from the organization. Working for an organization that values and recognizes employees for their efforts has raised the bar for my professional and personal goals as well.

What do you think makes someone at Texas Children’s a super star?

  • To be Committed to the values of Texas Children’s
  • To be Motivated to come to work every day looking for ways to help others.
  • To be Determined that every decision you make is centered on the patient and their families for a positive outcome.

What is your motivation for going above and beyond every day at work?
I like to know that families are receiving the best possible care for their children as I would want my own children to receive. Texas Children’s is an organization that leads health care around the world, and I take pride every morning when I put my badge on knowing that I am a part of that team.

What is the best thing about working at Texas Children’s?
Being able to help others, be it a patient, staff member or a provider. Also when I meet someone off of the job while in the community and they ask where I am employed, I proudly tell them Texas Children’s!

What does it mean to you that everyone at Texas Children’s is considered a leader? What is your Leadership definition?
I believe that part of being a leader is having the ability to influence others by your actions. I realize that every day my co-workers are watching my actions and are reacting to those actions as well. I also see the same thing going on with other staff members within the clinic daily, so we all can be leaders.

Anything else you want to share?
Over the years I have told my staff and providers that every patient should be treated as we would like our own families to be treated. Customer Service is something that I feel is very important and I strive daily to exceed the expectation of our patients and their families. I love helping people while at work and in the community as well.

93015JohnDormans175Chief of Orthopedics John Dormans, MD, received an honorary professorship in Orthopaedic Surgery from the School of Medicine at the University of Basrah in Basra, Iraq. He was presented with the honor at the university’s spring graduation ceremony by Thamer Hamdan, MD, chancellor of the University of Basrah. Dormans received this honor for his humanitarian work with the international pediatric orthopedic community.

72016WayneFranklin175Wayne Franklin, MD, director and founder of the Adult Congenital Heart Disease Program, was recently selected to participate in The Aspen Institute Fellowship, a two-year fellowship focused on strengthening the leadership of innovators across the U.S. health care ecosystem.

Called the Health Innovators Partnership and in conjunction with South Carolina’s largest non-profit healthcare system, Greenville Health System, the Aspen Institute’s primary objective for the fellowship is to create meaningful change in health care with the help of 21 newly appointed fellows, including Franklin.

Franklin and his associate fellows were selected to innovate change and improve the health and well-being of all Americans. The team – made up of experts in pharmaceuticals, public health, biotechnology, insurance, mental health and government – will collaborate to institute the advancements of America’s health.

Rima Cohen, the managing director of the fellowship, described her excitement about the fellow’s various backgrounds, energy, and expertise as being united to “tackle our nation’s most pressing health care challenges.”

72016jrreporters640A team of nurses, surgeons, and anesthesiologists from Texas Children’s Hospital’s Main Operating Room recently participated in a medical mission in Antigua, Guatemala.

The mission was coordinated by Faith in Practice, a Houston-based organization dedicated to the medical care of indigent people in Guatemala. The 44-member team that went consisted of medical and surgical staff from hospitals in the Medical Center and out of state. Among the volunteers from Texas Children’s were Drs. Olutoyin Olutoye, Oluyinka Olutoye, Robert Power, David Mann and Stephanie Cruz; certified registered nurse anesthetists Nate Jones and Megan Koudelka; and registered nurses Karen Bustos, Debra Batiste and Juan Sale.

Focusing primarily on pediatric patients, the team performed nearly 140 surgeries in just four days, including inguinal and umbilical hernias, orthopedic surgeries, podiatric cases, and dental extractions conducted in support of the people of Antigua.

“It is always a humbling experience to go on this mission trip,” said Bustos, who has been on the mission five times now. “These people come from villages eight to 10 hours away and come to us full of trust that we will make their children well.”

Sale, a first-time volunteer, said the trip was “an amazing experience, especially when you get to help the children.”

Glass, the group coordinator for Texas Children’s, said she has been participating in similar mission trips since 2002 and has gone to Guatemala 15 times.

“This activity is open to all surgeons, operating room nurses, anesthesia staff, recovery room nurses, and especially bilingual people,” Glass said, adding that financial donations will help support the mission as well as donation of unused OR supplies.

According to the organization’s website, Guatemala is considered extremely impoverished in comparison to other South American countries. Half of Guatemala’s 14 million people live in poverty, which is defined as living on less than $2 per day. In addition, the vast majority of Guatemalans have virtually no access to public health care.

In spite of these deficiencies, The Faith in Practice organization has made a significant impact on the people of Guatemala. In 2015 alone, 1,200 US volunteers travelled to Guatemala to participate in the mission activities coordinated by Faith in Practice. As a result, a total of 2,400 surgical procedures were performed and 25,000 Guatemalan patients were seen by the medical mission teams. Texas Children’s Hospital is extremely proud of this team and their selfless dedication to service.