September 23, 2019

Your name, title and department. How long have you worked here?
My name is Lorenzo Benavides, Social Worker, Patient and Family Services. I have worked here for two years.

Tell us how you found out you won a super star award.
I was told by my leadership that I needed to give a presentation about a Texas Children’s Hospital event that happened earlier that month. I was nervous to present about this event as it was heavy in areas that were outside of my expertise. My manager also gave me an incredibly short window to present on such a complicated issue. I ran through the first few slides and was then eventually surprised by a new slide in my presentation that read “Congrats! You won the Super Star award!” In the moment, the audience (which I then came to realize was composed by the wonderful people I work with every day) all stood up and congratulated me. It was truly an amazing and wonderful experience to say the least.

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?
It is a very humbling experience. I work with wonderful, intelligent, and compassionate people at Texas Children’s Hospital who all do amazing, wonderful work for our patients. The core values and culture of Texas Children’s Hospital have helped me become a more confident leader, team-player, and has refreshed my understanding of what providing world-class service to others looks like.

What do you think makes someone at Texas Children’s a super star?
I believe working tirelessly for others, always being open to feedback, and above-all knowing the value of collaborating with other people and disciplines, makes someone a super star.

What is your motivation for going above and beyond every day at work?
The profession of social work, by nature, is consistently involved in the most dire and vulnerable psychosocial cases. We can help one family with acquiring the most basic access to necessities, help another family address concerns and fears, advocate for a vulnerable child, and also provide comfort to another family for the loss of a different child, all in one day. I, like many other social workers, are motivated by knowing that our work is important and meaningful, and can sometimes positively change lives.

What is the best thing about working at Texas Children’s?
By far, the best thing about Texas Children’s Hospital is the culture and level of respect we all have for one another’s profession. It is such a unique and unifying feeling to be able to walk down the hall and be greeted by a friendly smile or nod from attendings, residents, nurses, care managers, directors, child life, janitorial staff, etc. It makes me feel that we are all part of a team that truly believes in doing better for our patients.

What does it mean to you that everyone at Texas Children’s is considered a leader? What is your leadership definition?
I believe that it pushes us to become better overall. My definition of leadership is to consistently find ways to improve yourself and your profession, while also finding the beauty and joy of where you currently are. I believe that that we all have room to grow and glow, and I find that everlasting mission wonderful because it keeps life fun and challenging.

Anything else you want to share?
I want to recognize the daily hard work of my fellow social workers, the nurses on 11 West Tower, the nursing leadership, the 11 West Tower care managers, child life, activity coordinator, PCAs, unit secretary, the floor’s PA-c, all the medical teams, and all the hospital directors/assistant directors that consistently work hard for our patients and families. You guys truly make work a fun and joyful place to be.

Texas Children’s Hospital was recently re-verified as a Level 1 pediatric trauma center by the American College of Surgeons and the Texas Department of State and Health Services.

During the re-verification process, the American College of Surgeons evaluated whether Texas Children’s Hospital met specific criteria. The evaluation included a lengthy and thorough questionnaire, patient care review, and an on-site visit.

The evaluation found no deficiencies and listed multiple strengths, including the excellent multidisciplinary efforts, leadership, quality improvement, and commitment to research by the hospital and its staff.

Selected comments from the reviewers are below:

  • The hospital administration’s commitment to provide the facilities and support for the trauma program is outstanding. Texas Children’s Hospital clearly demonstrates leadership in both the state and regional trauma system development. The comradery and commitment of everyone associated with the trauma program is outstanding. The Trauma Program has an outstanding trauma registry validation process. The addition of an outreach and education coordinator has markedly impacted this service in only a few years. The trauma prevention manager is a strength for the program and brings extensive experience, productivity, and energy to the program. The hospital’s collaborative efforts internally and with the other Level I pediatric trauma centers in combined prevention efforts is excellent.
  • The commitment of the Pediatric Emergency Medicine physicians to the trauma program is outstanding and there is a notable culture of cooperation, trust, and respect between the emergency medicine physicians and the trauma service.
  • The hospital has many outstanding resources including a technologically advanced Mission Control Center, an extensive child abuse program and resources, and the commitment of the trauma floor to provide dedicated trauma nurses and rooms. The commitment of the PICU physicians to the trauma program and their relationship with trauma related services is also outstanding.

The trauma center is led by Dr. Bindi Naik-Mathuria, medical director and Christi Reeves, the director of trauma services.

July 29, 2019

Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Centers recently honored three team members with the Bravo Award for going above and beyond to ensure our patients and families receive the best possible care.

The award is handed out quarterly and recognizes nurses and other professional staff in the Cancer and Hematology Centers for outstanding performance. Anyone within the Texas Children’s system may nominate a member of the cancer and hematology teams for this award. The team’s clinic leadership will select the winners.

Last quarter’s winners of the Bravo Award were:

Suzy Gaius is a Financial Counselor with the Cancer and Hematology Center at Main Campus. Gaius was honored for spending countless hours explaining insurance plans and options to families and staff. She is always available to help us ensure patients receive ongoing care. Gaius is patient and never rushes families if they have questions or need more information.

Yadhira Huerta is a Social Worker with the Vannie Cook Vannie Cook Children’s Clinic in McAllen. Yadhira is a team player who always finds time to lend a hand and give accurate and compassionate advice. She is caring, respectful, and goes out of her way to find answers for patients’ needs. She is equally passionate about helping care for members of the care team at the Vannie Cook clinic.

Teresa Nafegar is a Medical Assistant in the Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Clinic Main Campus. Teresa is excellent at keeping patients moving through her pod in clinic. She is a great communicator to the medical team promptly updating them on patient needs and offering ways to increase efficiency. Nafegar also is able to find creative ways to communicate with patients with whom she may not share a common language.

July 15, 2019

There are many types of supervisors in various work environments; those who enforce rules, and those like Ashly Swaty, who elevates them. As a Patient Care Manger in the Legacy Tower pediatric intensive care unit (PICU), Swaty makes sure that all the nurses are taken care of and have all materials and any assistance they need.

With the PICU being so unpredictable on a daily basis, in addition to payroll paper work and nursing rounding, she ensures that nurses take lunch breaks on time. Due to the busy and fast-paced environment at times nurses often cannot leave the bedside without someone covering their assignment. Swaty is known for not hesitating to step in and make sure both the patient and nurse are taken care of daily.

“Her heart is to serve our patients, families, and staff. She consistently goes above and beyond to ensure those around her have the best experience possible,” Director of Nursing, Shannon Holland said. “In all my years of leadership, I have rarely met someone with Ashly’s dedication and compassion.”

Holland recalled a time on a busy day when a nurse skipped lunch because she was extremely busy managing her very sick patient.

“Ashly jumped in feet first, took over care, and insisted the nurse take a break,” she added. “She did all of this with a smile and supportive and caring attitude. She is truly a servant leader who is caring, genuine, and the embodiment of Caught You Caring!”

Another part of Ashly’s job is to sit down with patients’ parents to understand the motivation behind certain behavior and how they can move forward with better outcomes.

“I truly love being with the families!” Swaty said. I know these days may be the worst of many in their lives, but it means the world to me knowing I can bring just a little bit of comfort or knowledge, when they’re questioning something.”

The appreciation and compassion she has for her patients and nurses goes hand in hand. Her selfless personality is why she believes there are others that deserve this award as well, nonetheless, she is grateful for the honor and the opportunity to work for such a prestigious organization.

“I was so shocked when I found out. I was mostly surprised because, honestly, there are so many people who do great things here in the PICU, so anybody in this whole place could have won,” Swaty said. “It’s such a great honor to be recognized, and an even greater honor to work for Texas Children’s.”

July 9, 2019

Every team needs someone who wants to do the required tasks that no one else is willing to carryout. Calvin Haskett is that person as the waste removal unit support assistant in the Facilities Operations Department.

When he walks in at six o’clock in the morning before anything, he drinks a cup of coffee to prepare for a day of hard work, as he is known for putting his all in every day. According to Haskett after making sure his areas are clean and all of his supplies are prepped, he makes sure that his coworker is in good shape and prepared for the day as well. His highly considerate personality and drive is why his managers speak so highly of him.

“Calvin is soft spoken and pays attention to every aspect of his job,” Assistant Director of Facility Operations Lisa Green said. “Calvin recently requested off for vacation and when another employee had an emergency and needed the same days off, he later rescheduled his vacation time around his coworker’s time off to make sure the department was not short staffed. That is just one example of his unconditional dedication to our team.”

Haskett has been at Texas Children’s hospital for seven years and his urge to learn more grows every year. His mangers and co-workers have been captivated as he practices Error Prevention in his work even though he has not had the official training that is provided to managers.

His willingness to go above and beyond is shown on a daily basis. With this being his first award on the job, Haskett said he could not believe he was being recognized for his work.

“I felt shocked and did not know what to say at first,” Haskett said. “I have never gotten an award and it’s something very special that I will always remember. I love working at Texas Children’s; it’s a good company to work for with good, caring people.”

July 1, 2019

As a manager and veteran nurse, Almea Montillo is someone that both patients and employees can count on. Her experience over the past 20 years has allowed her to form relationships with some of the most critically ill patients, and watch their journey to recovery.

“I’ve gotten to be very fortunate to see how my patients that I have sent from the Emergency Center, up here to the floor get better and go home,” Montillo said. “It’s really a great feeling to see how well we’ve taken care of them.”

Montillo began working in the Emergency Center, then became a staff nurse for a few years and later an educator. Now as she manages other nurses, she also makes time to be an active member of the Patient Experience Leader Rounding and Bedside Shift Report teams. She provides valuable feedback and is seen as a leader in the realm of patient experience.

“It’s been an awesome experience working at Texas Children’s,” Montillo said. “I’m very fortunate to be in an institution where you’re supported by leadership, and I feel that we take care of our patients very well.”

She is known for the love and comfort she provides patients, and the guidance and encouragement she gives employees. Between greeting staff, leading huddles, leadership rounding, and administrative tasks, her days can be pretty busy. She is also a Central Line Champion, as she makes sure that the staff carryout cap changes, and central line dressing changes properly.

“Mea personally rounds on each and every patient and family every day. She enjoys developing a relationship with the families and wants them to feel they can come to her for any need,” Assistant Clinical Director of Nursing at West Campus Sondra Morris said. “She ensures they feel comfortable by making sure they are aware of the resources at the campus and in the unit. She is a role model for the staff and a great example of how we should care for our patients and families.”

Montillo says that although the Caught You Caring Award came as a surprise, she was very excited to receive confirmation that the immense amount of effort and heart she puts into her work has not gone unrecognized.

“I was very happy to know that I made a difference with someone. I don’t ever look for any kind of praise, she said. “I feel like it’s my job to know the patients and the families and make sure that they have the best possible experience, because nobody wants to be in the hospital. It’s our job to make it a positive experience no matter what’s going on, and that is my motto and goal every single day.”

Congratulations to Clinical Staff Development Specialist, Lauren Ivanhoe, MSN, RN-BC, CEN, who is the recipient of the this year’s third quarter, Best of the West award.

Ivanhoe is a well-respected healthcare education professional throughout the campus, system, and nationally. She freely lends her educational expertise and leads initiatives anchored in staff development and patient safety.

The Best of the West award recognizes an employee each quarter who has exceled at demonstrating Texas Children’s values – leading tirelessly, living compassionately, amplifying unity and embracing freedom.

“Lauren has gone above and beyond to ensure we are aware and capable of best practices,” her co-workers expressed. “She is one of those people who is always willing to help and support the team.”

Ivanhoe recently worked closely with the West Campus Radiology Team to simulate patient care in the mobile CT scanner. She has spent countless hours coordinating and developing training content that translated into safe practice. Additionally, Ivanhoe has worked extremely hard to develop and train staff in preparation for the Epic Upgrade, Beaker go-live, and Interoperability transition.

She also coordinates Cy-Fair Independent School District student schedules for on-site training, contributing to a pipeline of future health care professionals.

“It goes without saying that Lauren is more than deserving of this award and we are better as a campus and system because of her passion and dedication,” the radiology team collectively mentioned. “We cherish the wealth of knowledge she shares and absolutely admire her uplifting and encouraging attitude.”