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.”

June 24, 2019

After nearly 30 years at Texas Children’s, Xavier George is just as devoted to patient care as he was when he first stepped foot in the hospital. As a patient care assistant (PCA) George is the first person to see the patients in the post anesthesia care unit (PACU) at the Medical Center Campus. The majority of his time at Texas Children’s he has been the comforting part of the patient’s experience, easing any apprehensions they may have before procedures.

“It’s so fantastic to work for Texas Children’s,” George said. “All of my hard worker and the reasons that I continue to come to work, day after day and year after year, is for the children.”

George’s compassion and experience with the children helps decrease anxiety of the parents and guardians as well.

“We have been coming here for two years now and every time we come, Xavier is kind, compassionate, friendly, and upbeat,” the parent of a patient said. “I cannot say enough nice things about him, he’s so great!”

George has the ability to work in many roles in PACU. He is able to work the waiting room and pre-op and PACU secretary. His flexibility makes it so much easier for everyone on the department to do their job.

“Xavier demonstrates teamwork and compassion towards coworker’s on a daily basis,” Perioperative Nursing Manager Beth Jones said. “He works well with the pre-op team to ensure positive experience for our patients. He steps in wherever he is needed to ensure a positive work environment. He will do all of this with a positive attitude. It is great having him on my team.”

June 17, 2019

Every day there is a different task and work space, but the quality of Kristi White’s patient care in always the same; extraordinary. As the charge respiratory therapist, White assumes the responsibility of assisting almost everyone whether it is relieving people for breaks, setting up equipment, or attending meetings. Despite the many busy days, she says that being successful is all about remaining confident and encouraging.

“It’s a positive and happy environment here. Even on their worst days, the kids don’t think of the negative things,” White said. Since the children are already so positive, we have to remain that way as well to keep the energy up.”

White is the epitome of positivity as she continues to be dedicated to making sure her patients and co-workers keep a smile on their faces as the head of the Respiratory Department’s Morale Committee. She is also a forward thinker and takes initiative when it comes to advancing a patient’s recovery.

“Kristi steps out of her role as a respiratory therapist all the time,” Respiratory Care Supervisor Lindsey Franks said. “She goes above and beyond for not only the people in our department, but for our patients as well. She is an amazing knowledgeable charge therapist who is always willing to go the extra mile.”

Franks recalled a time when Kristi first started at West Campus and had a patient who was on a home continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) mask. She was very concerned that the child was outgrowing the mask and knew it was something that needed to be accessed.

“Kristi took time out of her busy day to call the home health company, give them the patient’s name, serial number of mask, and inform them that the patient needs a mask refitting as soon as possible,” Franks said. “She is more than deserving of the Caught You Caring Award because to me, it is all about the little things.”

White’s innate ability to automatically adhere to the needs of patients regardless of what it is makes her stand out from others. She has no problem jumping into a full body Disney character costume to please a patient, or even come in early or stay late just to finish a project for the kids. She says that thinking outside of the box is such a regular action for her that she didn’t expect to be acknowledged for it, especially this time around.

“I actually laughed and I said, who nominated me for this?” White said amusingly. “I didn’t believe it, because in my mind I just do regular things that a pediatric respiratory therapist would do. However, that is the nature of this department, there is always a surprise and I am very appreciative of this particular one. The possibilities, opportunities, and experiences are endless here at Texas Children’s.”

June 10, 2019

Many people hope to be able to work in their preferred career upon graduation, while others may just want to work at their desired workplace with the goal of moving towards that career. Juan Flores, Radiology Generalist at The Woodlands Campus, as successfully done both very early in his career and can add a system-wide award to that list.

“This is amazing! I just graduated a little over a year ago, so working here is kind of like a dream come true,” Flores said. “I never thought I’d work at Texas Children’s until maybe later on, until I have more experience, but I took a chance so I’m happy about that.”

Flores is known to be very quick to volunteer outside of his role as a radiographer. He is on the Radiology Events and Activities Committee, he has played a role in several simulations inside and outside of Radiology, he is a part of the Customer Obsession Task Force, and helps with The Teddy Bear Clinic.

When his youthful presence is removed, Flores can be mistaken for a Texas Children’s veteran even though his has only been here a year, as his work constantly exemplifies our mission.

“In such a short time, Juan has been a fantastic addition to our team! He takes his role as a radiographer seriously and puts forth 110 percent every day,” Assistant Director of Radiology Traci Foster said. “Regardless of the day he’s having, Juan is always positive and has a great sense of humor.”

Foster recalled a time when a 4-year-old in the orthopedic clinic had a fractured arm and needed an x-ray. She says that the child was extremely anxious due to a recent, difficult, experience at an outside urgent care.

“Juan worked with the mother of the patient to identify a comfort position for the child. He was extremely patient and allowed them time to warm up to the environment by showing them the big camera and allowing the patient to touch and explore the room and equipment prior to positioning him for the x-ray,” Foster said. “The child was very receptive to his gentle approach and was able to complete the x-ray while smiling and saying ‘cheese.’ The mother was so appreciative of Juan and so are we. The entire department thanks Juan for going above and beyond to create a great patient experience for all of our patient families.”

At times after a hard day of work, when an emergency occurs there aren’t many people who will volunteer for additional duties. Flores’ hard work, determination, and persistence are all of the reasons why he is one of this year’s Caught You Caring Award recipients.

“I was so surprised when I found out that I won this award. “The fact that I’ve only been here a short while, and I work with so many other amazing people, this was really unexpected,” Flores said. “I love it here. It’s a tough job, but it’s extremely rewarding, and I hope to continue here for years to come.”

June 3, 2019

Whenever anyone asks about Shamika Jenkins, the first observation made is about her infectious smile and enthusiastic personality.

Customer service isn’t just a specific portion of an employee’s job description, it affects a patient’s entire experience. As a clerical secretary, Jenkins comes in contact with just about every patient that checks in during her early morning shift. In the Pavilion for Women Surgery department the patient’s experience begins with her warm welcomes and persistence.

“Although it can be pretty busy, I love meeting all different kind of people,” Jenkins said. “There are times when some people may be in a bad mood, a wonderful mood, some may be lost, and others are as upbeat and cheery as I am. Regardless, it gives me joy to encounter all moods because no matter what, I’m here to make their day.”

The waiting area can be the most quiet and uneventful time during a patient’s hospital visit. Either following check in, during an appointment, or after surgery as a patient recovers, patients and their families can potentially spend hours sitting in the lobby. Jenkins has transformed her role into not just checking patients in for their appointments, but makes them feel comfortable as well.

“Shamika is always the pretty, smiling face and helpful person in the waiting room,” Nursing Manager of Pavilion for Women Perioperative Services, Aleli Cabali said. “Shamika goes above and beyond to make sure that families in the waiting room are updated while patients are in the operating room.”

Jenkins’ diligence and consistence in making sure all surgery patients are called and scheduled for their appointments helps both patients and her co-workers, and is what allows the department to continuously provide high quality care.

“I remember a time when several people from the department had to go on vacation, and Shamika called patients ahead of time and scheduled their appointment to make it easier on the rest of the team,” Cabali said. “This was a big help to the unit and is why she deserves this award.”

Jenkins says despite the constant verbal recognition that she receives, she was not expecting to get a hospital-wide award.

“To be honest I didn’t see this coming,” she said. “I just come into work, do my job, and always remember to be myself; that is probably what excites me the most about being recognized. When working at Texas Children’s you have to be ready to put your ‘A game’ on every day. We have people come from everywhere so we need to make sure we maintain that great customer service consistently, and I am more than happy to be that example.”

May 20, 2019

Over the next couple of weeks, we will highlight some of this year’s Caught You Caring Award winners and how they go above and beyond for their patients and colleagues.

Carmen Vela began working for Texas Children’s as a hospital operator. She later moved on to central scheduling and is now an Ambulatory Services Representative in the Division of Plastic Surgery. For the past 17 years she has used her compassionate communication skills to assist patients in a variety of situations.

“As a bilingual employee I know that I am able to communicate with many different patients,” Vela said. “I love knowing that I am helping out the community. I love customer service, I love helping people, I love to listen, and if I don’t have to answer I will find it.”

Caught You Caring is a recognition program offered to patients and families, as well as staff, to recognize employees who have gone above and beyond their role to provide compassion and kindness to another person. This could be in the care of a patient, service to a family, or in support of a coworker. Launched in 2015 in ambulatory surgery, the now system-wide program has recognized many employees, including the eight listed below who were honored by the program this year.

Vela was nominated for the award by the Senior Project Manager in the Division of Plastic Surgery, Betty Tung.

“Almost daily, I can hear her talking to the families trying to make appointments, and she’s so nice, helpful and professional when handling the appointments,” Tung said. “I have witnessed situations where she has to go to the clinic upstairs because the parent wants to hug her to thank her for her help. She goes way beyond her job duties to help the parents.”

Vela continues to demonstrate teamwork and compassion towards co-workers. She is known for helping patient’s parents if they call with a situation such as traffic, running late, or with questions about parking.

“Receiving this award is very gratifying,” Vela said. “I think everyone should be recognized because it is such a team effort, but for Betty to notice my hard work and how much I care about the patients, means a lot.”

Texas Children’s wants to continue to recognize those who take great pride in the work they do and encourages patients, families and employees to catch someone who is making a difference. Caught You Caring boxes and cards can be found throughout the Texas Children’s system for patients and families to fill out and recognize staff. Employees can fill out a Caught You Caring form on Connect. Cards and online submissions will be distributed to leaders for staff recognition.

Click here to learn more about the Caught You Caring Program.