Nurses Week begins with announcement of 2021 Nursing Excellence Award recipients

May 4, 2021

Each year during Nurse’s Week, we pause to celebrate nurses and their contributions to our patients and their profession. The American Nurses Association Enterprise has joined with the World Health Organization in extending the “Year of the Nurse and Midwife” into 2021, as well as extending the duration of Nurse’s Week to a month-long event, to elevate the profession and further recognize nurses for their steadfast commitment to meeting the needs of patients.

To celebrate National Nurses Week from May 6-12, Texas Children’s Nursing Retention Council has taken great pride in developing plans to ensure that our more than 3,500 nurses from across the system know how deeply valued they are and how much we appreciate them for their hard work, dedication and sacrifice especially during these challenging times.

“We are excited about the opportunity to celebrate our nurses during National Nurses Week,” said Rhonda Wolfe, director of Acute Care Nursing at Texas Children’s Medical Center campus. “There are several events scheduled across the system, ensuring alignment with social distancing guidelines, to recognize the hard work of our nurses over the past year.”

The Nursing Retention Council collaborated with the Employee Well-Being team and our chaplains to create virtual support during this unprecedented time with the virtual Blessing of the Hands event. To see the full schedule of events, click here.

2021 Nursing Excellence Awards

As a finale to Nurses Week from May 6-12, Texas Children’s will be recognizing our 2021 Nursing Excellence Award honorees for their commitment to improving nursing care and patient outcomes. Since a formal in-person ceremony could not be held this year due to COVID-19, winners will be celebrated at a live virtual ceremony hosted by our Chief Nursing Officer Jackie Ward.

Congratulations to this year’s Nursing Excellence award recipients (pictured above)! Excerpts from their nominations are included below.

  • Staff Nurse of the Year – Alva Mixon, Staff Nurse, Endocrine/Diabetes Clinic
    “Alva is one of the best nurses I have ever seen…Very caring, personable, and always goes above and beyond to provide excellent patient and family centered care in the Diabetes Urgent Bay…Her patients love her, her team respects her, and leadership looks highly at her willingness to do whatever is needed for the good of the patients and the team…She upholds the highest professional standards, always has a positive attitude, and a desire to achieve results. She has terrific interpersonal skills…Patients, physicians and support staff all uniformly appreciate her calm, kindly, and knowledgeable manner. She puts all our families in the Diabetic Urgent Bay at ease.”
  • Nurse Preceptor of the Year – Michael Sparks, Staff Nurse, Pavilion for Women, Labor and Delivery
    “Michael is a fantastic team mate to work with, willing to help, never makes you feel bad for not understanding something… He is always open to new ideas and additional opportunities for learning how to improve our care… He promotes excellent patient care by helping the family truly embrace their newest member. He put in extra effort to individualize our training and make sure we understood how to prepare and care for different patients. Michael is a phenomenal preceptor – this is evident in the feedback I receive from orientees, nursing students, medical students, leaders, and coworkers.”
  • Nurse Resident of the Year – Megan Bush, Staff Nurse 1st Year, PICU
    “Megan exemplifies all the qualities we seek in our nurses, both her diligence to patient care as well as her empathetic approach to patient and family relationships. She is eager to learn, open to feedback, and always takes a challenge head on. She radiates positivity, compassion, and an eagerness to grow and improve daily. She supports her team by always jumping in to help, advocates for her patients and families, and speaks with professionalism and warmth. She is relentlessly positive and bubbly and her can-do attitude has made her a true asset to TCH.”
  • Nurse Leader of the Year – Alex Sardual, Assistant Clinical Director, PICU
    “Alex always performs his job with a positive attitude and in a manner that makes it clear he is a fantastic team player. His best attribute is undoubtedly his hard work and dedication….He is available 24 hours a day by phone and is constantly checking on the status of patients and staffing to see if there is any way he can help the unit. Alex consistently supports our team in a way that both validates and alleviates the stress of the unit. Every day and every night. He is amazing.”
  • Advanced Practice Nurse of the Year – Elise Whalen, Nurse Practitioner, Pulmonology
    “Elise has shown excellent common sense judgment and humane sensibility to patients and families. She is a superb and sensitive clinician. Patients and families have easily come to trust her care. She is an absolute team player…She constantly collaborates within the section. She has quickly established herself as a provider who is dedicated to excelling in the professional values, collaborative relationships, leadership, and family-centered care that are the cornerstones of advanced practice. She works to ensure that patients are able to understand their own health and advocate for themselves.”
  • Advanced Degree Nurse of the Year – Anne Lam, Clinical Specialist, PICU
    “Anne shows fierce advocacy, sense of humor, unflappable calmness, and is a pillar of stability. She keeps us focused on our mission to care for our patients and we are so thankful for this leadership….She has always strived to and succeeded in directly affecting the lives of children at Texas Children’s Hospital through diligent care, a focus on Quality and Safety, and her sheer determination to always advocate for perfection in care of the most fragile patients.”
  • Friend of Nursing – Dr. Amy Arrington, Physician, Special Isolation Unit
    “At every turn, she has supported nursing staff with extensive PPE training, COVID specific simulations, and infectious disease lectures. No physician has done more for nursing this past year than she has. Nurses are valued equals to be consulted as experts and developed as leaders. She was always concerned with how the nursing staff were doing and would debrief with the group after a difficult situation. She consistently solicited nursing feedback with the goal of improving patient care and team safety. I refer to her here by her title only for the purpose of official communication. On the unit, we call her Amy.”
Houston Chronicle’s Salute to Nurses

Each year, thousands are nominated for the Houston Chronicle Salute to Nurses award and 15 outstanding nursing professionals are chosen to be honored as greater Houston’s Top 15 Nurses of the Year. Karla Abela, assistant director of clinical practice in the PICU was among the top 15 award recipients. Baylor College of Medicine nurse manager Debbie Barrera from the Research Administration department was also on the Top 15 list and Alicia Howell from the Cancer Center was on the top 150 list.

In addition to Karla being honored in the top 15, a total of 27 Texas Children’s nurses were recognized as being among the top 150 in the Greater Houston area.

Danielle Baker (NICU VAT)
Sophia Bailey (Operating Rooms CHSS)
Nancy Benson (WOO Hospitalist)
Warren Boudreau (Quality Administration)
Lisa Burns (Methodist – Willowbrook)
Natashia Bush (Emergency Room Physicians)
Amanda Byers (WOO acute care)
Melissa Campbell (Transport Services)
Heather Collins (West Campus Nursing Operations)
Crystal Dunaway (IRU Nursing)
Sherry Grant (Nursing Float)
Robin Haidacher (TCCC OP Clinic)
Nennan Harris (HR – Employee Health)
Shelbi Hill (Neurology Administration)
Tina Knutson (WOO ICU)
Diana Lopez (Supply Chain Administration)
Maria Miller (WC Nursing Operations Float)
Alva Mixon (Diabetes/Endocrine Clinic)
Denine Moody (Nursing Operations)
Dana Reaves O’Neal (NPP Acute Care Services)
Aarti Patel (NICU II)
Rhoda Phillips (TCCC Clinical Administration)
Kimberly Sanchez (Women’s Specialty Unit)
Ketrese White (Executive Comp and Benefits)
Lisa White (WOO Acute Care)
Amanda Willis (NPP Administration)
Megan Wimbish (Autism Center)

Texas Nurses Association District 9 Nursing Heroes

The Texas Nurses Association District 9 recently identified 44 nurses from Texas Children’s Hospital as Nursing Heroes for going above and beyond – supporting those in clinical practice, in the community, or in any setting during this time of increased need.

Jennifer Abernathy (Nursing Operations)
Tara Barrick (PFW 9th floor)
Regi Biju (Cancer Center)
Chelsea Campbell (Cardiology)
Mona Clark (12 West Tower)
Sheritha Copeland (OB L&D)
Maria D. Cruz (WOO Cancer Center)
Lindsey Curry (CVICU)
Sheranda Fesler (Nursing Quality)
Amelia Fleming (BMT)
Teresa Gomez (7 South)
Lindsey Gooding (West Campus Cancer Center)
Susan Hardy-Croskey (PFW OB/GYN)
Marissa Hergott (Inpatient Float)
Myoshia Hollings (12 West Tower)
Chelsey Hood (Cancer Center)
Stacey Hudspeth (VAT)
Rebecca Kudlaty (10 West Tower)
Jackie Kuna (Cancer Center)
Julie LaSalle (CICU)
Melissa Lopez (WOO Cancer Center)
Donna “DK” Lovick (LT ACHD)
April Lyle (Cancer Center)
Kathy McCarthy (Cancer Center)
Morin McMillian (Progressive Care)
Amy Mitchell (VAT)
Alva Mixon (Diabetes/Endocrine Clinic)
Denine Moody (Nursing Operations)
Yvette Ochoa (Nursing Operations)
Cindy Orellana (Pulmonary Adolescent Med)
Kaitlyn Pawelek (NICU II)
Mary Joy Pedroso (MBU)
Knezyk Pennington (West Campus PACU)
Rhoda Phillips (Cancer Center)
Ashley Pollard (West Campus EC)
Erika K. Quinlan (WOO Dermatology)
Nicole Sanders (Quality Improvement)
Alex Sardual (PICU)
Kenya Starks (Emergency Center)
Lori Stoddard (MBU)
Jenny Tcharmatchi (PICU)
Jacqueline Ward (Nursing Administration)
Rachel Werley (WOO Cancer Center)
James Ziegenfuss (PACU)

Congratulations to our nurses! Happy Nurses Week!