May 21, 2019

Since joining Texas Children’s Float Team, Heidi Aghajani shares her experiences collaborating with nurses across different units and the invaluable lessons she has learned along the way that truly exemplifies what it means to be One Amazing Team. More

May 20, 2019

We’ve all heard the saying, “Hard work pays off.” That old adage certainly rings true for several nurses at Texas Children’s Hospital. On May 16, nine nursing leaders received their Doctor of Nursing Practice during the Cizik School of Nursing Commencement held at the Smart Financial Center in Sugar Land.

The honorees included:

  • Mary Jo Andre, Chief Nursing Officer
  • Jackie Ward, Associate Chief Nursing Officer
  • Tarra Christopher, Director of Nursing, Emergency Center
  • Kim Clark, Patient Care Manager – Cancer Center
  • Sara Dean, Nurse Practitioner – Pavilion for Women
  • Shannon Holland, Director of Nursing – Critical Care
  • Joy Harrison, Assistant Director – Texas Children’s Pediatrics
  • Vanessa Kastner, Nurse Practitioner – NICU
  • Jennifer Sanders, Assistant Vice President – Nursing

Three years ago, these nurses embarked on a journey together when they enrolled in the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Program, a clinical doctoral program that provides advanced education in evidence-based practice, quality improvement, systems leadership and other key areas. Nurses who successfully earn their DNP have completed the highest level of training in nursing practice.

“Texas Children’s Hospital invests heavily in our nurses through various professional advancement and educational opportunities like this one,” said CNO Mary Jo Andre. “I am so grateful to share this journey with my nursing colleagues, and accomplishing this milestone together, made it even more meaningful.”

Next month, Connect will feature an article highlighting our nurses’ DNP journey, the invaluable lessons they learned along the way, and how the support from Texas Children’s made it possible for them to achieve this milestone, which will impact the care and outcomes we deliver to our patients and their families.

May 14, 2019


It’s hard to contain the celebration of nursing to just one week at Texas Children’s. Every day there are inspirational stories that demonstrate how our nurses go above and beyond to advance patient care and enhance patient experience and outcomes.

Their endless compassion, comfort and support can be seen and felt across the organization. A nurse clutching the hands of a parent who just received tough news about their child. A nurse giving up family time during holidays and weekends to spend time with families in the hospital. A nurse calming a mother’s fear as she prepares to give birth to her first child. Our nurses leave a lasting impression on every patient they encounter, and they are at the core of the experience patients and families have while in our care.

Each year, as we salute nurses across the country from May 6 to 12, Texas Children’s celebrates our amazing team of more than 3,500 nurses. The theme for Nurses Week this year was 4 Million Reasons to Celebrate – and at Texas Children’s – there are many reasons to celebrate our nurses.

This video spotlights our nurses’ many successes, accomplishments and the daily contributions they make to our patients and families at Texas Children’s.

Nurses Week activities

Texas Children’s Nursing Retention Council organized several fun activities throughout the week that included cookie deliveries to the units, blessing of hands and photo opportunities with our therapy dogs, Pinto and Bailey. Chair massages and other activities during Nurses Week centered on health and wellness to remind our nurses how important it is to take care of themselves so they can provide the best and safest care to their patients.

On May 8, Texas Children’s leadership hosted the Nursing Excellence Awards honoring seven recipients for their commitment to improving nursing care and patient outcomes.

The award honorees included:

Staff Nurse of the year: Anita Hadley
Preceptor of the year: Sherri Forschler
Rookie of the year: Jennifer Nguyen
Leader of the year: Sondra Morris
APRN of the year: Gina Santucci
Advanced degree of the year: Sharon Staton
Friend of Nursing: Dr. Matt Musick

Sandra Diaz and Erika Ramirez received the 2019 David and Polly Roth Nursing Education Scholarship Fund. This education fund will provide tuition assistance for Texas Children’s employees who have worked in the organization for at least three years and are interested in pursuing a professional nursing degree.

Faith Williams, Melissa Yu, and Lisa Carr received the Molly Mae LeBlanc Nursing Education Scholarship. The scholarship was named in memory of Molly Mae, daughter of Texas Children’s employees Jill and Andy LeBlanc, who passed away at Texas Children’s on May 6, 2017. The purpose of the scholarship is to perpetuate Molly Mae’s memory and recognize nursing staff members for going above and beyond their required job duties to enhance the quality of life for Texas Children’s patients and their families.

Priscila Reid, a nurse practitioner at Texas Children’s Heart Center, was among the top 15 award recipients from the Houston Chronicle Salute to Nurses, and 22 Texas Children’s nurses were recognized as being among the top 150 in the Greater Houston area:

Sheena Antimo
Nakeisha Archer
Angela Baldonado
Megan Beach
Janet DeJean
Nicole Dumas
Corey Gates
Jason Giangrosso
Nicole Harris
Josh Hearne
Lastenia Holton
Barbara Levy
Paul Longoria
Mona Lisa Macapagal
Tammy Myers
Virginia Plumlee
Priscila Reid
Esmeralda Reyna
Lisa Rohaly
Melissa Silvera
Kenya Starks
Elizabeth Watson

Congratulations to our nurses!

To learn more about Nursing at Texas Children’s, click here to view By the Numbers.


While on a recent family vacation, Jeanette McMullen shares the magic of Disney World and how our patients and families can relive this magical experience at Texas Children’s thanks to our Disney partnership. More

May 6, 2019

In recognition of National Nurses Week, Chief Nursing Officer Mary Jo Andre shares and encourages our team of more than 3,000 nurses to take time to celebrate the amazing work they do for our patients and their families. In this spotlight video, we that celebrates our nursing team’s dedication, their accomplishments and continued leadership in helping advance Texas Children’s advance its mission in patient care, education and research. More

April 30, 2019

Regem Biyo shares how grateful she is to begin her nursing career at Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women and how the organization is helping her grow in her new role. Read more

April 23, 2019

Following Washington State Senator Maureen Walsh’s “card-playing” comment undermining the role of nursing, Amanda Wenger shares why every nurse at Texas Children’s should be proud of the work they do for our patients. Read more