13:51 PM

Christi Thornhill Named A 2022 DFW Great 100 Nurse

Christi Thornhill

An email popped up “out of the blue” congratulating Christi Thornhill on her selection as one of the 2022 DFW Great 100 nurses. She looked at the screen, letting the news soak in and then tears filled her eyes as she thought of her friend Joni Daniels, a previous DFW Great 100 recipient who died of cancer six years ago.

“I’m not going to lie, I started crying. The very first thing I wanted to do was call Joni and tell her I had joined the club, but I couldn’t do that,” Christi said.

Christi, director of Cook Children’s Trauma Program, and Joni Daniels were best friends for more than 30 years. They met when Christi was in nursing school and worked together off and on throughout their careers. The pain of her loss still remains.

“It’s those grief moments that sneak up on you,” Christi said.

For those who know her, it’s probably no surprise that Christi is thinking of others during one of her career highlights.

Details of the May 17 ceremony for the Great 100 have yet to be decided because of the pandemic, but the news leaves Christi humbled by the honor.

“There are so many nurses in our community, especially at Cook Children’s, who do so much,” Christi said. “I don’t feel like I do anything special. I just do my job. We have a lot of nurses at Cook Children’s who have been in the Great 100. There are so many nurses who I believe do much more than I do every day.”

While Christi may try to downplay her accomplishments, her colleagues say the work speaks for itself.

Christi has worked as a nurses aid at a nursing home, an emergency nurse practitioner in a rural facility, a nurse practitioner for pediatric trauma and more. She is so respected in her field and has been a guest lecturer at universities and has spoken at conferences all over the United States.

She helped create guidelines and processes to aid in identifying abused patients, and mentored many nurses who have also made great contributions to nursing today.

Even during her free time, Christi is looking to make the world a better place. She’s currently raising money to benefit the Women of Impact campaign benefitting the American Heart Association.

“I am so proud of Christi being selected for the Great 100 Nurse honor. She is a leader of several different programs and continues to work as a pediatric nurse practitioner,” said Cheryl Petersen, vice president of Nursing and Chief Nursing Officer. “What a wonderful role model and teacher. I am inspired when I hear her speak of her passion for nursing and for the children in our community.”

Christi credits the mentors who shaped her as a leader. She carries those lessons with her as she enters her 14th year at Cook Children’s and looks for ways to now mentor others.

“I love Cook Children’s so much,” Christi said. “It’s this amazing place. The reason for that is our culture and our leadership. Our leaders value the staff, and you don’t get that everywhere. I tell people I’m not the boss. I’m here to assist you to be successful.”

The nomination forms for the DFW Great 100 keep the nurse’s name, place of work and title anonymous. It only focuses on the performance of the individual.

Kalinda Evans, program manager of Trauma, shared her nomination letter with us. She spoke of Christi’s “servant heart” and how she leads by example in her nomination letter.

“(Christi) builds those she works with up and wants to see you succeed,” Kalinda wrote. “Your growth and success is her growth and success, it is a good day when she sees those around her growing and becoming their own leaders. I say this because it is what she did for me and I did not even work with her at that time. She is strong, compassionate, and incredibly knowledgeable related to patient care in many different areas. She is a lecturer, and a teacher as well as a mentor and role model to many. Many seek her out for her knowledge.”

Christi values her role as a mentor and says one person stands out for imparting the life lessons that shaped her the most.

“I grew up with a single mom who raised two girls and taught us to always do the best you can do. She taught us to always give it your all, no matter what,” Christi said. “Don’t just show up and punch the clock. Do the things that make your heart beat. That’s why I work at Cook Children’s and do all the extra stuff I do. I work with several charities. It goes back to my mom. You give back. She taught us what was important. She supported me and taught me to be the person and nurse I am today.”

A nurse who has solidified herself as among DFW’s Great 100.