Thomas (Tom) Sharon, January 2019 Employee
Your name, title and department. How long have you worked here?
Thomas (Tom) Sharon, Chaplain, Spiritual Care Department with the Heart Center as my primary clinical area of responsibility. I have been at Texas Children’s for four years.
Tell us how you found out you won a super star award.
I found out I won this award at a surprise gathering of my Family Services and Heart Center family. My wife, daughter and grandson also were present and knew about it before I did but “kept the secret!” We had been working for months to complete repairs on our home and one of the last contractors was starting that day. My wife texted to tell me they had to wait and managed to keep the secret and surprise me with my family’s presence. My AD, Norma Shreck, coordinated the surprise presentation, and I was totally shocked. I thought I was having a meeting with her and my PICU chaplain colleague, James Denham, and walked into a large conference room full of people. I was humbled and honored by not only the award but all of the people who took time from their busy schedules to stand in unity, as they always do, to present it to me. This included leadership from the Cameron Watrin and other Heart Center as well as from the directors from the Family Services line including Michelle Lawson and Tabitha Rice and many others. But also present were my colleagues from the full spectrum of my Texas Children’s Hospital family. We enjoyed time from celebration and treats together, but their presence was the biggest treat. Two days later I was surprised again when Cameron Watrin and Tracy Porter recognized me at the Heart Center’s physicians’ rounds in our new conference center.
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 was shocked, honored, humbled, and moved deeply to be recognized for my work. I was shocked because I do not function with the idea of personal recognition or reward beyond what I receive in doing my job each day. There is such reward in working beside the level of physicians and staff with whom I am honored to work each day. But even more so the honor of standing on the hallowed ground of our patients’ rooms as tireless, dedicated care is provided day-after-day and seeing not only the physical healing that this brings but an inexplicable emotional and spiritual wholeness. For these patients and families to know and experience the greatest pediatric physicians, nurses, therapists, social workers, child life specialists, … providing world class care is to be expected from a medical institution of our caliber. But the way it is provided with such compassion and passion, dedication and determination, … and yes, love; this is what leaves me shocked and honored more deeply than words can say that I would receive this recognition from within the midst of this amazing team. But it is also what makes it not so much of a shock as an affirmation of how special my team is. This organization has helped me achieve my goals of providing the best care I can for the patients and families at Texas Children’s by fostering an environment in which I am embraced and encouraged to do just that. By holistically embracing our greatest assets as an institution which is the human factor. Our patients and families are human beings with minds, bodies, emotions and spirits; all of which are challenged in our pediatric care setting. But so are we as an institution and we perform at our best human abilities when we function holistically. We have assembled the greatest minds on earth and work as a unified body to provide care on unparalleled levels. But what places Texas Children’s on a higher level is that this is done while also embracing the emotional and spiritual aspects of our human-being. This is what I feel was recognized by my receiving this honor. And it is the kind of support that I feel lived out and that I am able to live into every day as a professional and human being. This, above, all else, is what has helped me achieve my personal and professional goals at Texas Children’s.
What do you think makes someone at Texas Children’s a super star?
As a further reflection on this I feel that what makes a person a super star at Texas Children’s is not simply doing but being. Being a part of the larger human factor at Texas Children’s which embraces freedom for our patients and families and for each other; leads tirelessly in providing for that freedom to do our best so we can be our best; that lives compassionately by embracing and supporting our patients, families, and each other in all the ways they and we need it right where we find ourselves day-after-day; and amplifying a unity that makes providing care holistically not just what we do but who we are.
What is your motivation for going above and beyond every day at work?
I never think about “going above and beyond at work” as this award recognizes. My focus is on being with our patients, families, physicians and staff where they are each day. My motivation is to somehow make their moments, hours and days the best they can be given the circumstances in which they find themselves. This involves constantly assessing and reflecting on the needs of my patients and families and embracing them as my own family. And my motivation from this comes from being a part of the Texas Children’s family and working together to address the circumstances on hand and those that may be on the horizon. It is the outcome of that level of care that motivates me each day. And that outcomes is that I have somehow touched fellow human being. Helped them know how truly precious and beloved they are and helping them live into the very most of their potential today and in the days to come. The reward of standing back and seeing joy restored to mended bodies and once broken or shattered spirits is my true reward and motivation. What motivates me is that I am not only free but encouraged to celebrate our victories and grieve our losses with some of the most amazing people on earth every day.
What is the best thing about working at Texas Children’s?
The best part of Texas Children’s is, hands down, the people. All of you!!
What does it mean to you that everyone at Texas Children’s is considered a leader? What is your leadership definition?
It means everything to me that “everyone at Texas Children’s is considered a leader” and that these are not just words but who we are and how we live. A leader to me is a person who is empowered and encouraged to contribute all that they can to make us as an institution the best that we can be. We can have amazing leadership skills of being able to motivate and manage people, equipment, and facilities but unless we are powered and encouraged (set free) to act to the fullest of our abilities we are lacking in leadership. So leadership is about every individual in our institution acting in unity as a whole. And this includes our patients and families.
Anything else you want to share?
I would like to repeat my sincerest thanks for this award and for the honor of working at Texas Children’s each and every day. Thank you to my whole team because I could not have achieved it without every one of you. And I receive it on behalf of all of those with whom I am blessed to work every day. I will remember and cherish it and each of you always.