Super Star Employee: Clarissa Gonzalez

February 17, 2020

Your name, title and department. How long have you worked here?
Clarissa Gonzalez, Inpatient Staff Nurse in Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU). I have been in the PICU for almost five years.

Tell us how you found out you won a super star award.
I was charging at work and one of our managers, Amy Hathaway, was talking to me about how the unit was doing and our educator, Emily Nguyen, asked me if I could go drop a few papers in the break room. We walked in and everyone was in the break room including my family, fellow staff, and leadership team. I was so surprised and still had no idea what was happening. Amy read Emily’s letter recommending me for the award and then presented me with the super star award. I cried and there was cake and it was a moment I will never forget.

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 feel so honored. I love what I do and would keep doing the same things award or not, but feel very special to be recognized. I work with the best people and so to be selected out of all the amazing staff is incredibly humbling. Texas Children’s Hospital’s culture of compassion and service drives the sacrificial work that we all do. I feel privileged to work for an organization whose core values align with my own. Texas Children’s has supported my professional growth through an extensive graduate nurse residency, funded advanced certifications and empowered me to advance to expanded roles in the PICU.

What do you think makes someone at Texas Children’s a super star?
We work long stressful hours, and everyone I see is doing super star things. We support these families while away from our own families. Everyone I work with is dedicated to providing excellent care for our patients and for fellow staff. We feel the weight of the importance of the work we get to do and that drives everyone to go above and beyond. The patient that I give chemo to now has the potential to grow up and cure cancer because of what is happening at Texas Children’s. That potential is seen by all of our staff and it means that each employee has to come to work and this be more than just a job.

What is your motivation for going above and beyond every day at work?
The work that we get to do is the highest privilege. We meet families in the hardest moments of their lives and they trust us with their children. I cannot think of anything that demands more of a commitment to excellence than the honor of having any part in taking care of the families and being a part of their lives.

What is the best thing about working at Texas Children’s?
The people! And the dogs. But mostly the people. I tell everyone that Texas Children’s feels more like a family than a bunch of employees and it was so great to have my own family come and see and say the same things. My family was in awe about what amazing people I work with. They were impressed with the technology and architecture of Legacy Tower but they can’t stop talking about how kind and caring everyone in the PICU is. I always knew that I would love the patients and families but I had no idea how much I would also care about my PICU family.

What does it mean to you that everyone at Texas Children’s is considered a leader? What is your leadership definition?
I have learned something from everyone I have encountered at Texas Children’s, and to me, that is what I consider exemplifying leadership. We are called to set an example for others, and our conversations/interactions, even outside of work, set a precedent for who we are and what we represent. Texas Children’s employees are the best of the best, and we are called to be leaders not only in the institution, but in the communities and to other children’s hospitals who look to us for guidance and support.

Anything else you want to share?
Emily Nguyen, our nightshift educator, nominated me. Her support and the support of the PICU leadership team has created a culture that I am so proud to be a part of. I cannot thank Emily and all of my PICU family enough or have enough words to share what PICU means to me.