June 26, 2018

On June 22 one of Texas Children’s three therapy dogs, Bailey, celebrated her second birthday. Bailey’s handler, Adair Galanski, and the Child Life department threw a party for her and invited several patients and their families to join the fun.

The celebration was held in the Kid’s Zone, an area on the sixteenth floor of West Tower that provides a fun, safe and procedure-free environment for Texas Children’s inpatient population and their families. Bailey was donated to Texas Children’s Hospital from our President and CEO Mark Wallace and his wife as a gift earlier this year, to offer a distraction and motivation to patients undergoing certain medical procedures.

As soon as patients checked in and walked through the door, Bailey and Galanski were directly across the room for them to pet her, play, and wish her a happy birthday. Bailey was prepped and ready to take pictures in her pink tutu and pink crown with a number two right in the middle.

On top of plenty colorful decorations, there were several areas available for patients to play and engage with each other. There was a station with paper and color pencils so patients could create personalized birthday cards for Bailey, an area where they could paint ceramic dogs to take with them, and a board with baby pictures of all of the therapy dogs so that patients could play a game of guess who is who. With dozens of people coming and going, one of the busiest portions of the party was the doggy corner, where Bailey’s siblings Elsa and Pinto were hanging out and cuddling with patients.

The relationship that Bailey has with patients was extremely evident as they brought gifts of their own to celebrate the occasion. One patient presented her with a hand painted name badge that said “#1 couch potato,” because she calls Bailey her small fry. Another patient also brought her a teddy bear, but what is most important is all the love that was brought to Bailey from all of the children.

“The interactions and the special moments that they spend with Bailey are what means the most,” said Galanski. “If they were nervous about something, or just wanted to come give her a hug because they missed her; those are all the gifts in the world that Bailey needs.”

Another patient ran straight to Bailey in her crown and beautiful pink dress as she was eager to tell her that she was celebrating her birthday as well.

“It’s my birthday and I’m in the hospital,” said the patient. “And it’s your birthday and you’re in the hospital, so we’re the same!”

Parties like these are thrown every year to celebrate the therapy dogs because it is another event that provides normalization.

“That’s what kids get to do outside of the hospital is go to birthday parties for their friends,” said Galanski. “The more that these kids get to know the dogs, the more they become their friend. So why not go to your friend’s birthday.”

March 6, 2018

On March 1, close to 340 golfers played colorfully and raised more than $500,000 at the 20th annual Bad Pants Open golf tournament at the Clubs of Kingwood, benefitting Texas Children’s Newborn Center.

Each year, organizers of the golf tournament set out to raise hundreds of thousands to support the hospital’s level IV neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) that cares for the smallest and sickest babies. To celebrate Bad Pants’ 20th anniversary, the tournament also honored Texas Children’s NICU patient families from the last 20 years, many of whom attended the annual event.

“It was uplifting to see these children, now much older doing so well after going through a tough NICU course, and it was moving to see the pride and joy on the faces of the families of these children,” said Texas Children’s Chief of Neonatology Dr. Gautham Suresh. “It reminded me of what a privilege it is to serve as a physician and have the opportunity to take care of NICU patients in such a wonderful place as Texas Children’s Hospital.”

The event featured a post-play awards ceremony and dinner where players were awarded plates painted by Texas Children’s patients for both the best golf scores and baddest pants. Allyson Johnson, a NICU nurse at Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands, was presented with the Nurse of the Year award, a special recognition awarded at each tournament. While it is an honor to receive this award, she says seeing former patients thriving and happy is a reflection of the great work we do.

“It made me feel proud to know and hear from several families there how much we make a difference in their time spent in the NICU,” Johnson said. “It really warms my heart to see good outcomes from the attentive care we proudly provide in the Newborn Center at Texas Children’s.”

Proceeds from The Bad Pants Open support continued innovation and excellence in the research, treatment and care of critically ill and premature infants at Texas Children’s Newborn Center. Over the past 20 years, The Bad Pants Open has provided nearly $6.5 million in support of our Newborn Center – the nation’s largest NICU and one of only two Level IV NICUs in the greater Houston area. Their support has helped the Newborn Center provide programs and services to our NICU families including Family Support Groups, NICU Reunion, Parking for Patients Program as well as the work being carried out through Neonatal Family Advisory Committee.

“The Newborn Center is very fortunate to have the Bad Pants Open Committee raising money for the patients we care for and their families, as well as for the nurses and for medical research,” Suresh said. “I think of the committee as the “Bad Pants-Good Deeds” Committee and I am immensely grateful for their volunteer efforts.”

The next Bad Pants Open golf tournament is scheduled for October 11. More information is available at www.badpantsopen.com

Want to help build a generation of healthy, active children? There are only a few spots left to sign them up for the 2018 Houston Texans Kids Triathlon and Texas Children’s Hospital will pay their registration fee.

As the event’s presenting sponsor, the hospital will foot the bill for 50 children of employees to participate in the event slated for April 21 and 22 at NRG Stadium. The complimentary registrations are not retroactive, therefore if you have already signed up for the event, we cannot provide a reimbursement.

Drawing more than 3,000 participants ages 6 to 15, the event is expected to be the largest USA Triathlon sanctioned kids triathlon in the world for the fifth consecutive year.

Click here for more information and here to watch a video of last year’s event.

If you are interested in receiving one of the complimentary spots, please fill out this form and submit it to Alexandra Comerota at alexandra.comerota@houstontexans.com. The deadline to use these complimentary registrations is Wednesday, April 18, so don’t delay!

January 23, 2018

Want to help build a generation of healthy, active children? Sign them up for the 2018 Houston Texans Kids Triathlon and Texas Children’s Hospital will pay their registration fee.

As the event’s presenting sponsor, the hospital will foot the bill for 50 children of employees to participate in the event slated for April 21 and 22 at NRG Stadium. The complimentary registrations are not retroactive, therefore if you have already signed up for the event, we cannot provide a reimbursement.

Drawing more than 3,000 participants ages 6 to 15, the event is expected to be the largest USATriathlon sanctioned kids triathlon in the world for the fifth consecutive year.

Click here for more information and here to watch a video of last year’s event.

If you are interested in receiving one of the complimentary spots, please fill out this form and submit it to Alexandra Comerota at alexandra.comerota@houstontexans.com. The deadline to use these complimentary registrations is Wednesday, April 18, so don’t delay!

January 15, 2018

Inclement weather update no. 3: Resuming normal operations

As of this afternoon, normal operations have resumed throughout the Texas Children’s system. Our clinics and primary care offices are now seeing patients during our regular hours and accommodating appointments that had to be rescheduled.

We want to thank all of you for carefully braving the weather to come into work yesterday and today. Your efforts to be here and your dedication to our patients ensured that we provided them safe, seamless care, and further demonstrate that we are an organization of staff and employees who think and act quickly and thoughtfully during times of challenge.

As we prepare for another deep freeze tonight, please be careful as you return home to your families. We encourage you to exercise caution when navigating roadways as some areas may still be wet or icy from earlier precipitation.

Judy Swanson
Administrator On Call

James Mitchell
Emergency Management

Inclement weather update no. 2: Tuesday, 2:15 p.m.

As expected, much of the Houston area is experiencing rain and below freezing temperatures. As we continue to monitor local reports, Texas Children’s leadership throughout the day has been assessing the needs and staffing of both patient care and non-patient-care areas within the hospitals, clinics, practices and health centers.

New information

  • Inpatient operations. At this time, we are continuing operations as normal throughout the Texas Children’s system. Leaders will continue to assess staffing needs and will make adjustments accordingly. Staff who want to come in early prior to their shift should contact their leader.  If you choose to spend the night, bring an overnight bag. Cots will be available for staff if you are unable to return home.
  • Outpatient operations. We are planning to suspend outpatient services by 3 p.m. today. Outpatient clinics will open at 10 a.m. on Wednesday to allow patients and staff more time to arrive to their destination.
  • Shuttles services from Garage 19 and Meyer to the Medical Center  Campus are running on schedule.
  • One-to-one handoff will occur in the inpatient areas at shift change

Medical Center campus retail food service
Tuesday
Food Court: closing early at 3 p.m.
Fresh Bistro:  normal hours 6:30 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Coffee Corner: closing early at 9 p.m. (sandwiches, paninis, salads and soup) – usually stays open until 11pm

Wednesday
*This is the plan for now, although staffing could affect opening times
Coffee Corner: 6 a.m. – midnight
Fresh Bistro: 6:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. (will evaluate station closures based on staffing and volumes)
Food Court: 10:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. (will evaluate station closures based on staffing and volumes)

West Campus Retail Food Service
Tuesday
DOTS Kitchen – will remain open until 6:30 p.m., Deli window in DOTs will remain open until 8pm (EXTENDED HOURS).
Coffee Spot: Closes at 2:30 p.m. per normal operations.

Wednesday
*Planned to maintain normal hours, given that staff can arrive tomorrow morning safely.
Coffee Spot: will open at 6:30am
DOTS Kitchen: will open at 7am

Sleet and freezing rain are expected to create hazardous road conditions especially during the afternoon/evening commute. We encourage staff to exercise caution when navigating roadways especially on bridges and overpasses as water can freeze very quickly with a sudden drop in temperatures. Please plan for additional travel time, and be sure to communicate with your leaders should your arrival to work be delayed due to the inclement weather conditions.

We will continue to monitor the weather and assess any possible impacts to you, our patients and their families. and will send additional global alerts as needed. For more information, including the latest weather, traffic and road conditions, go to the Emergency Management Connect site and the National Weather Service website.

Judy Swanson
Administrator On Call

James Mitchell
Emergency Management

Inclement weather expected tomorrow: Monday, 9:30 p.m.

The National Weather Service is forecasting rain and below freezing temperatures across much of southeast Texas. Light rain is expected to begin at 2 a.m. on Tuesday. The morning commute is not expected to be affected. However, as temperatures begin to drop during the mid-morning hours, sleet and freezing rain could create hazardous road conditions especially during the afternoon commute.

We are monitoring local reports and will continue to do so throughout tonight and tomorrow morning. As of now, Texas Children’s is expected to remain fully operational. This includes both patient care and non-patient-care areas within the hospitals, clinics, practices and health centers. However, leaders are assessing the needs and staffing of their respective areas and will subsequently provide any further information or instruction.

We know staff and employees may be concerned about the impending weather conditions. Please remember that we all are here to take care of our patients, and ensuring that their care is safe and seamless is our priority. Please plan to get an early start tomorrow so you can make a thoughtful assessment of the current weather situation and your plans for reporting to work safely. We encourage you to exercise caution when navigating roadways and plan ahead in case there is an interruption to any city services or school closures.

For more information, including the latest weather, traffic and road conditions, go to the Emergency Management Connect site and the National Weather Service website.

Judy Swanson
Administrator On Call

James Mitchell
Emergency Management

January 9, 2018

The countdown clock is ticking. Texas Children’s Nursing will host its fourth virtual town hall from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. on Tuesday, January 16, at the Pavilion for Women Conference Center.

Nursing has partnered with the Corporate Communications team to organize this event to engage our team of more than 3,000 dedicated nurses that make up Texas Children’s largest employee population.

Hosted by Chief Nursing Officer Mary Jo Andre’, the town hall will include a discussion of FY17 nursing accomplishments, system updates, and readiness for the January 22 – 24 Magnet site visit, a crucial step in the hospital’s journey toward Magnet re-designation. The town hall will also include time for Q&A. Nurses watching the livestream remotely will be able to participate in the Q&A session thanks to our use of virtual technology.

“By leveraging new technology at our first town hall, we were able to engage more nurses in a town hall than we ever had before,” Andre’ said. “As our team continues to grow, it will be increasingly important for us to identify and leverage opportunities to make communication easier and more effective.”

For nurses who cannot attend the live event, there will be several gathering locations to view the live stream:

Wallace Tower (for Ambulatory Services) – D.0800.39 (eighth floor)
West Campus – WC.150.10 and WC.150.20 (first floor)
The Woodlands Hospital [Conference Rooms A, B (second floor)] Health Centers – Sugar Land, Cy-Fair, The Woodlands, Kingwood, Clear Lake
The Center for Children and Women (Greenspoint and Southwest)
Forming your own huddles? Please submit sign-in sheet to jcchilds@texaschildrens.org.

As always, patient care is our first priority, and we know not all nurses will be able to attend the live event or view the live stream. However, those nurses will still be able to participate by viewing the event on-demand at their convenience.

Click here to pre-register for the Nursing Town Hall.

January 3, 2018

Texas Children’s President and CEO Mark A. Wallace is committed to meeting every employee at Texas Children’s, and one way he does that is during his new employee reception.

This past reception was filled with team spirit, Texas Children’s pride, and a high-energy atmosphere as the reception has been re-branded into a New Employee Pep Rally! During the Pep Rally, new employees had the opportunity to hear from and meet Wallace while celebrating Texas Children’s employees, staff and culture.

The pep rally style reception falls in line with Texas Children’s recently rebranded new employee orientation called Texas Children’s Hi.

More than 500 new employees were invited to attend the Pep Rally on November 27 and from the moment team members arrived, they shared their excitement to be with Texas Children’s! Red foam fingers, megaphones, and pom-poms helped fire up team spirit, while pictures of each Texas Children’s Hi class scrolled like a virtual “Yearbook” for all attendees to enjoy.

New employees, leaders, and assigned “buddies” mixed, mingled, and snapped selfies around the room. To close the event, team captain – Wallace – celebrated what our team had accomplished and what’s ahead as our one amazing team keeps growing!

Congratulations 2017 Armadillo Class!