Honoring our amazing nurses providing life-changing care every day

May 15, 2023

To celebrate Nurses Week (May 6-12), we’re taking a moment to recognize our more than 4,000 nurses across the Texas Children’s system and pay tribute to their countless contributions to patients, their families, and the nursing profession.

“Each year during Nurses Week, we celebrate nurses for their service and dedication,” said Patient Care Services Director Juanna Brandon. “Nursing Retention Council takes pride in providing a week full of memorable events and activities to acknowledge their hard work.”

Nurses Week 2023 festivities include fun daily themes, an engaging scavenger hunt for a special prize, and 10-minute chair massage sessions at all campuses. Nurses are also invited to swing by one of the grab-and-go breakfasts, which feature well-being succulent planting activities and a blessing of the hands. Click here to see the full lineup of Nurses Week events.

2023 Nursing Excellence Awards

One of the hallmarks of Nurses Week at Texas Children’s is the annual Nursing Excellence Awards. This year, recipients were celebrated during a special awards ceremony hosted by System Chief Nurse Executive Jackie Ward.

“Our awards program was designed to identify and celebrate nurses who demonstrate a commitment to excellence in their nursing care delivery, and to recognize one of our friends that has demonstrated unparalleled partnership and support of our vision for nursing,” said Ward. “Please join me in congratulating them!”

Read on for more information about each Nursing Excellence Award recipient, including excerpts from their nominations.

  • Staff Nurse of the Year: Chloe Smith (Staff Nurse, Radiology)
    “As an MRI nurse coordinator, she is constantly communicating with the interdisciplinary team. An outpatient was scheduled for three diagnostic studies and three combined procedures, which would require four attendings, three location changes and two separate scanners. The patient was traveling from eight hours away and may not get every exam they needed after traveling so far. She partnered with her fellow staff members and was very instrumental in getting all procedures completed ahead of schedule through strong communication.”
  • Nurse Resident of the Year: Virginia Hoffmann (Staff Nurse, Legacy Tower CICU)
    “The Cardiac ICU can be a challenging place to begin your career as a nurse as the environment is extremely fast-paced and our patients can be very sick. Because of this, most graduate nurses experience lapses in confidence at various points throughout their orientation, and she was no exception to those days. What impressed me most was how she managed those times when her confidence waned. She worked even harder. She asked more questions. She leaned on her preceptors for support. She trusted the process and completed her orientation. Since then, she has thrived on our unit.”
  • Nurse Preceptor of the Year: Rodney Witt (Staff Nurse, The Woodlands EC)
    “Some preceptors just focus on their way and make sure you’re able to do the task. He explained not only how to do the task, but also the importance of the task, as well as other key knowledge points to know to ensure the safety of our patients. He would be one of the top picks for me to choose as a nurse to care for my family, and there is a sense of calmness and ease when working alongside him.”
  • Nurse Leader of the Year: Jasmine Sammons (Assistant Clinical Director, PFW NICU)
    “She is the definition of a transformational leader who encourages diverse thinking amongst her staff, encompasses an unselfish mindset and cultivates a culture of trust within the unit. She has given staff back their autonomy and consistently includes us in the decision making. She has made an indelible mark on our unit through her presence, communication style, and her upfront and honest nature. She has worked hard to transform our unit into one that is sought out by others, as evidenced by the current list of people wanting to transfer into PFW NICU. She truly lives the core values, and we are so grateful to call her our leader.”
  • Advanced Degree Nurse of the Year: Kristen L. Scheer (Staff Nurse, West Campus EC)
    “She will go out of her way to ensure everyone is taken care of. This includes co-workers, providers, patients and families. She ensured everyone had gone on break and when she was about to go, she did not hesitate to assist in being part of the team required to respond to a code in the hospital. Outside of the hospital setting, she serves as a child advocate for children currently in CPS care. She spends her off days ensuring these vulnerable children have her full support in promoting their best interest and needs. Her dedication and perseverance for these children is truly admirable.”
  • Advanced Practice Nurse of the Year: Jenilea Thomas (Nurse Practitioner, West Campus PICU)
    “She is an extremely productive clinician, teacher, clinical research scholar and program leader…She is acute care certified in both pediatric critical care and neonatal care – I know of no other nurse practitioner who has attained this dual certification. She is a thorough and compassionate clinician, comfortable in urgent situations and with the difficult conversations that occur with a critically ill child in the PICU. She has garnered the respect of the entire West Campus PICU team.”
  • Friend of Nursing: Jessica B. Ramirez (Professional Development Associate, NPD)
    “Although she spends the majority of her time managing the Office of Student Affiliation as the program administrator, she leads and provides support with several development programs and system-wide initiatives under the scope of the NPD department. She became the PCA Workshop lead in May 2022. This workshop is designed for new hire PCAs. She supports nursing professional advancement by building upon the expertise of staff nurses in the Excel+ program. She provides monthly opportunities for Excel+ nurses to facilitate skills stations and this enables staff nurses to engage with the PCAs in an educational setting. Because of this, the PCAs are able to communicate with their nursing team more effectively.”
Houston Chronicle’s Salute to Nurses

To recognize nurses’ service, stamina and dedication, the Houston Chronicle asked for nominations of nurses who went above and beyond for those under their care. Out of thousands of nominations submitted, Texas Children’s is proud to have two nurses included among the Top 15 Nurses of the Year in the Greater Houston area:

  • Corrina Calzada (LT PICU 11)
  • LaShawnna Samples (Diabetes & Endocrine, West Campus)

Congratulations are also in order for the 21 additional Texas Children’s nurses who earned recognition among the Top 200 Nurses of the Year in Greater Houston:

  • Meghan Anderson (Heart Center)
  • Marco Costilla (Acute Care)
  • Leonida Culajara (14 WT)
  • Laci Decker (Otolaryngology)
  • Lori Douglas (Cancer Center)
  • Jamie Gilley (NICU)
  • Kimberly Holt (Patient Care Services, The Woodlands)
  • Ashlee Krueger (Infusion Center, The Woodlands)
  • Kathleen Magee (Cancer Center)
  • Melanie Markovich (Infusion Center)
  • Kelly Miranda (Hematology Center)
  • Imelda Mercado Nuyda (Vascular Access, The Woodlands)
  • Claudia Perez (Cancer Center)
  • Jessica Raymond (Float Pool)
  • Sohrab (Alex) Sardual (PICU Services)
  • Yolanda Seguara (GI Procedure Suite)
  • Jasmine Simmons (Newborn Center)
  • Kelly Timmons (IS Epic Integration)
  • Mari Trace (Texas Children’s Pediatrics)
  • Kristina Tucker (Women’s Services)
  • Janet Winebar (Periop and Trauma Services)

There was a May 2 luncheon celebration at the Royal Sonesta Hotel to recognize all the honorees. Click here to learn more about Salute to Nurses.