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.”

May 28, 2019

Whether it is ensuring that families are well informed and comfortable, or walking into a room with enthusiasm willing to help her co-workers when necessary, at the crack of dawn in the Surgery Department at The Woodlands campus, patients and employees count on Jennifer Grubbs to make their day.

Grubbs started her journey here at Texas Children’s in 2015, in the Emergency Center at Texas Children’s West Campus, and then moved to The Woodlands just in time for the hospital’s opening as a Post Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU) charge nurse. She later moved into her current role as the Patient and Family Liaison nurse that requires her to be knowledgeable, compassionate, and have the ability to communicate effectively. Grubbs exemplifies these characteristics daily which is why she was nominated by for the Caught You Caring (CYC) award by her leaders.

“She is so straight forward and concise when giving parents information about the surgery process, while also maintaining a profound sense of compassion and courtesy for their child,” Nursing Manager of Perioperative Services, Betty Smith said. “Her passion for her job is palpable and I have no doubt she will continue to provide amazing, well-rounded care to patients and families in day surgery.”

Grubbs’ flexibility to charge in the PACU, work in pre-op, or even work in the PACU as a nurse when needed on top of her duties as Patient and Family Liaison., shows her commitment to the department as well as our patients. She also serves as the chair of her unit’s Patient Experience committee.

“I really enjoy the patient experience role that I have,” Grubbs said. “I love working at Texas Children’s as a whole. There are so many opportunities for growth and the support by management here is immeasurable. Everyone is open to communication, there’s honest feedback, and it feels like a family, especially working in a community setting.”

Smith recalled a time when a PACU patient had a prescription for a medication that their local pharmacy could not fill, and Jennifer took the initiative to call several locations in the area repeatedly until she was able to find a pharmacy that carried the prescription. Something that may seem small to one person ultimately removed an immense amount of stress off of the patient’s parent. This particular occurrence is an example of her willingness to go above and beyond.

“However she can assist patients, she does,” Smith said. “Often as I prepare patients for surgery I hear her clarifying any misconceptions, addressing any fears, and comforting them every step of the way. That amongst many other things is why she is so deserving of this award.”

Grubbs’ sense of urgency that she has gained in the emergency room, combined with her compassion and patience from her PACU experience, allows her to be able to communicate with all family’s that walk in to any surgery situation.

“I am honored to be recognized for what I do every day,” Grubbs said. “It’s what I love to do, just connect with families and try to ease any anxieties they may have, and make a positive impact with every encounter I can have.”

The Woodlands Recognition and Rewards Committee has announced the third quarter Woodlands Shining Star winners. Beth Pali (left), and Dr. Rachel Marek (right) were honored for their hard work and dedication.

Pali is a registered nurse in The Woodlands Outpatient Infectious Disease Clinic and was also instrumental in the opening of the Dermatology Clinic at The Woodlands. She was nominated by several of her co-workers, all of which say she constantly goes above and beyond on a daily basis to ensure patients and families receive the best possible care and attention.

“Beth is an extraordinary human being,” physician in the Department of Infectious Disease, Dr. Ankhi Dutta said. “She takes her job very seriously, and that is what I love most about her.”

Pali’s compassion and flexibility was magnified during a situation that included the transfer of a complicated patient from The Woodlands to the Medical Center Campus following their ultimately passing. During that time she personally traveled to The Medical Center Campus to help provide support for the family.

“Beth goes above and beyond to provide exceptional care to our patients, families, and staff,” Outpatient Staff Nurse, Elizabeth Dudgeon said. “She is such a positive influence who naturally promotes all the core values, in all that she does.”

Marek is the Medical Director of Pediatric Hospital Medicine (PHM), and was nominated for her compassion and drive for amplifying unity.

“She has been an integral part of building the hospital inpatient services,” Physician in the Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology & Nutrition Dr. Andrew Chu explained. “She exemplifies our system values as she continues to lead tirelessly.”

Marek is a natural leader who has helped implement and lead core initiatives such as faculty development workshops and lectures at The Woodlands, co-rounding in which subspecialists and PHM service round together on shared patients, and the multidisciplinary Palliative Care Committee at The Woodlands.

“Dr. Marek believes in teamwork, excellence and has demonstrated outstanding ability as a leader and a physician,” Dutta said. “She has implemented an environment of camaraderie and mutual support when it comes to patient care as well as employee satisfaction.”

Congratulations to both of this quarter’s Woodlands Shining Stars, and thank you for going above and beyond for our patients, families, and employees!

May 7, 2019

Texas Children’s employees and Houston-area residents came out in full force to participate in the third annual Texas Children’s Hospital and Houston Marathon Foundation Family Fun Run at Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands.

On May 4, about 1,500 people of all abilities participated in the non-competitive 1-mile course. Following the race, participants enjoyed the H-E-B sponsored Family Fun Zone, which was packed with snacks, entertainment and 20 plus attractions.

“When I’m finished, I’m going to do the floss,” a young runner said before the race.

The grandmother of a Texas Children’s patient said she laced up her sneakers to show support and gratitude for Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands.

“My granddaughter has been here a couple of times and is doing better now,” she said. “I’m so thankful this hospital is in our community.”

Professional race announcer Mark Purnell kept everyone energized in their role as master of ceremonies cheering on the crowd and announcing any and all special guests, including sports medicine physician Dr. Kristin Ernest, who led runners and walkers in some warm-up stretches and exercises. Members of Texas Children’s Ukuele Choir played the National Anthem.

“We are so glad everyone came out and participated in the third annual Texas Children’s Hospital and Houston Marathon Foundation Family Fun Run at Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands,” said Ketrese White, Texas Children’s Hospital assistant vice president. “It’s important for families to participate to maintain physical fitness, to connect with people in the community and to learn about what we have to offer at Texas Children’s here in The Woodlands.”

To get a first-hand look at the fun, watch the video above and check out this photo gallery of the event.

April 30, 2019

Last year, Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands celebrated its first year serving patients north of Houston and beyond, collecting praise from patients and families seeking expert care closer to home. Read more

April 29, 2019

Ella Grace Hurlbut, who was born prematurely at 27 weeks and who passed away at just 50 days old, has been the catalyst for bringing joy out of sorrow – most recently at Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands. Little Ella was the first neonatal intensive care unit baby that nurse Christina Snell cared for who passed away.

“I had a really hard time with it, and I didn’t know what to do with the pain that was having,” Snell said. “So, I decided I would do something good with it.”

That “something good” has culminated in the opening of a bereavement room called the Garden Room at The Woodland’s NICU. Designed by Snell and funded by her parents, Steve and Tammy Barr, the room is a non-sterile, peaceful environment where families have the chance to spend extra time saying goodbye to their child. The room also can be used by families who are getting used to caring for their MICU baby’s needs before going home.

Similar to the Butterfly Room at Main Campus’s NICU, the Garden Room features a crib, couch, two gliders, a chest full of clothes to dress their little ones in and a Caring Cradle. Donated by the Hurlbut family, the cradle cools a baby’s body after passing, therefore prolonging the amount of time a family can spend with their baby.

“Christina helped us make molds of Ella’s hands and feet, and to this day, those are my most treasured possessions,” Katie Hurlbut said. “I knew it wasn’t a coincidence when we found out she was the one leading the development of the bereavement room in The Woodlands.”

In addition to the Caring Cradle, the Hurlbut family also donated stuffed bears, clothes and linens to the Garden Room. Two artists, Alicia Kowalki “Los Queridos” and Genie Mack, provided beautiful pieces for the room’s walls.

“We are extremely thankful for the time and effort of those who contributed to this special space,” said Susan Romero, assistant clinical director of the NICU in The Woodlands. “It will give many families a great sense of peace.”

April 15, 2019

Don’t miss out on the fun at the third annual Texas Children’s Hospital and Houston Marathon Foundation Family Fun Run at Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands. Registration for the event ends at 5 p.m. Monday, April 22, so hurry and sign up if you haven’t already. There are only about 500 more slots available, and they’re going fast.

Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands will host the fun run at its campus on Saturday, May 4. The event will offer a 1-mile course and will begin at 9 a.m. Post-race activities will follow until 11 a.m.

Participants – including those who need walkers and wheelchairs – are welcome. There will not be prizes given to top finishers as all participants will receive an award for taking part in an event designed to educate and encourage Houston-area families to adopt active, healthy lifestyles.

Click here to register and learn more about the upcoming event.

Calling all volunteers

Volunteer registration also is open for our Family Fun Run event in The Woodlands! Opportunities are available for bag stuffing, packet pick-up, day before set-up and race day. Requirements include:

  • Volunteers must be registered in advance.
  • If someone volunteers, we ask that they be available for their full shift.
  • They should not bring young children or other family members that are not registered.
  • The minimum age to volunteer is 12.

A T-shirt will be provided to all volunteers to wear during their shift.

Click here for volunteer opportunities.

Thank you, good luck and happy running!