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Connect Newsletter (Dec. 7, 2023)


Connect Newsletter                                       
Dec. 7, 2023

Let's Get Jolly: Jingle Mingle and Holiday Extravaganza

Holiday sweater 2022

You are invited to gather in Fort Worth on Friday for Jingle Mingle, a holiday celebration for employees that includes a buffet of delicious food, holiday music and connecting with colleagues, and on Saturday for Holiday Extravaganza, featuring a Santa visit, performances, holiday treats, tree lighting and FIREWORKS.

Jingle Mingle is scheduled for Friday, Dec. 8 under a tent on Pruitt Plaza for employees at the Medical Center-Fort Worth, 901 Building, Dodson Specialty Clinics, Rosedale Office Building and 750 office building. Breakfast will be served from 6:30 to 9:30 a.m. and lunch will be served from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

Jingle Mingle events will also be held at the Calmont Office Building on Dec. 13 and Medical Center-Prosper on Dec. 14, and leaders of other locations will receive funds to host their own events. Details on Jingle Mingle, holiday sweater contests and how to access the Holiday Interdepartmental Transfer of Funds (IDT) form are on the Team Experience site on the new CookNet

Details on Holiday Extravaganza are here on the Connect Newsroom.


Cook Children’s Radiothon Is Here

Radiothon23 CookNet Graphic-01The Cook Children’s Radiothon is broadcasting live on New Country 96.3 and 99.5 The Wolf on Thursday and Friday Dec. 7 and 8.  Be sure to tune in! You will hear heart-warming stories from Cook Children’s patient families and staff encouraging loyal listeners to support Cook Children’s. Employee volunteers will be answering phones from generous donors in a phone bank in the Medical Center-Fort Worth Atrium. 


Finding Togetherness During This Busy Holiday Season

CookKeller_Aug22_675202With the holidays approaching and our system's high census, we understand the significant workload and potential stress our teams are facing. We want to take this opportunity to remind everyone of our core values: kindness, respect, and generosity. These are more than just words – they are the very essence of who we are at Cook Children's.

During this busy season, let's weave our values into every interaction. Offer a helping hand, share words of encouragement, and be patient with your colleagues. Be a champion for those around you, and let's hold each other accountable for demonstrating the compassion and support we value so dearly, especially in these challenging times. Remember, we are in this together, and we always overcome any challenge when we stand together.

We appreciate your tireless dedication and commitment to our patients. Please take care of yourselves and don't hesitate to reach out for support if needed. We have resources available to help you navigate stressful situations.

Together, through shared purpose and unwavering compassion, we will continue to provide the highest quality care and make a difference in the lives of children and families. Thank you for being the heart and soul of Cook Children's.

  • Uprise Health (Employee Assistance Program) – free access to speak to a counselor or therapist immediately.
  • CareATC (Employee Assistance Program) – free virtual or in-person access to a licensed counselor
  • Cook Children’s Spiritual Care – talk to someone who works at Cook Children’s
  • Call, page or Vocera for a hospital chaplain 24/7 
    • To contact a chaplain during business hours, call 682-885-4030
    • After 5 p.m., call the operator to page a chaplain.
  • Raising Joy Podcast: Raising Joy is a Cook Children's podcast dedicated to suicide prevention and mental health. Listen wherever you listen to podcasts. 



A Special Visit With Our Dallas Cowboys 

2F7A0540The Dallas Cowboys and the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders and mascot won hearts and spread holiday cheer at Cook Children’s Medical Center-Fort Worth. After meeting with patient families in the Atrium, the group visited with patients in their room, taking photos, signing autographs and handing out gifts. Each child received their very own stocking filled with Cowboys goodies and a special toy from the UnitedHealthcare Children's Foundation, Inc. 

View more photos and video of the incredible visit here on Checkup.


teams2Here's a Tip: Using Microsoft Teams

To help you unlock the full potential of Microsoft Teams and streamline your workday, we will be providing essential tips and tricks to master communication, collaboration, and productivity within this powerful platform. 

Click here for two great tips about syncing to Outlook and email notifications related to missed chat messages.


VIDEO: Surprising a Health Care Hero

Radio surprise

Blair Sweeney, RN, a nurse in Hematology-Oncology, is the latest recipient of the Hudson's Heroes from 94.9 KLTY. Blair’s mom Holly, wrote to KLTY and told them how Blair gives her best to her patients, their families and her co-workers with every shift she works, and how proud she is of her daughter. We captured the moment she was surprised by John Hudson of “Hudson In the Morning” with a check for $1,000 from Cornerstone Staffing.

Watch a video of the big reveal and listen to a recording by the radio station.



An Honor for Our President and CEO

Mr. Merrill at Prosper

D CEO Magazine has named Cook Children’s President and Chief Executive Officer Rick W. Merrill as a member of the Dallas 500, the most powerful business leaders in Dallas-Fort Worth. The magazine noted that the System opened our 23-acre Medical Center-Prosper in January. Mr. Merrill has been at the helm of Cook Children's Health Care System since 2007. Congratulations Mr. Merrill! We are proud of how you inspire us to live the Cook Children's Promise today and every day.

Read more here: The 500 Most Powerful Business Leaders in Dallas 500 - D Magazine


Raising Joy 12-5-23Listen: How Parents Can Talk to Children about Grief

When we think of the holidays, most of us think of good food, family gatherings and beautiful holiday decorations. For many, it’s the happiest time of the year; but for others it’s a very different story. 

The holiday season can be a difficult time for many, especially those grieving the death of a loved one.  This episode of the Raising Joy podcast features an important conversation with Hanna Boyd, CCLS, a child life specialist, and Jennifer Hayes, MDiv, BCC, Director of Spiritual Care at Cook Children’s. They share their insights on how parents can talk to children and navigate grief as a family during a time of the year that is supposed to be full of joy. 

Listen to this episode now on Spotify, Apple or Google Podcasts.
Click here to learn more. 


Employee Wellness Lunch & Learn: So You Think You Can Chill

 Mindfulness is all the rage these days, but not everyone has time to catch a meditation class after work. How can busy people tap into the benefits of this life-changing practice? Our next monthly Lunch & Learn virtual seminar will introduce meditation techniques for mindfulness at work and on the go. 

Join your colleagues from Cook Children’s at 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 20 for this one-hour interactive session. If you register but cannot attend, a link to the recording will be sent out to watch later. You’ll earn 100 Virgin Pulse Points on the Virgin Pulse wellness platform for attending the webinar. Points may be cashed in for gift cards through the Cook Children’s employee wellness program. 

Click here to register.

Learn More about the Virgin Pulse Wellness Platform

Do you have questions about our new wellness platform, Virgin Pulse? Use the link below to watch recording of a demo of the platform, which includes how to get started, point earning opportunities and incentives for participation.

Virgin Pulse Webinar Demo Recording

Use this passcode: 76Z*#NmZ


Update on Fort Worth Retail Pharmacy Services

A message from the Pharmacy Department: 

Thank you for your continued trust in our pharmacy as we strive to provide the best care to our patients and families in the most convenient way possible. After careful consideration, we have made the difficult decision to prioritize our shipping services for patients residing outside a 20-mile radius from the Medical Center-Fort Worth. This change will take effect on Dec. 15, and our team has already been contacting our affected families. We are proactively facilitating any coordination needs with our families. 

Our patients and families can still pick up from our pharmacy or use our convenient curbside service. Also, if our patients are on campus for an inpatient visit, surgery, or clinic appointment, we offer delivery from our pharmacy to their care location. Please feel free to reach out to our team with any questions. 


A Reminder About Special Visitors to Cook Children's

We will be hosting notable athletes, celebrities and others who generously give of their time to visit Cook Children's patients during the holidays. Please remember that these visits are for our patients.  

The Child Life team works hard to organize these events so that every patient in the hospital has the opportunity to participate. As a Cook Children's employee, it is our responsibility to represent Cook Children's in a professional manner.  None of us should approach the visitors, nor should we ask for autographs, photos, memorabilia or contact information.  

Cook Children's values the relationships that we have created with these special visitors, and we are proud of the quality experiences we are able to provide for our patients and their families. Your cooperation in making this year successful is greatly appreciated.

As a reminder, please take a moment to review our Social Media policyYou must be on the network to view the policy.


Retirement Announcements

Mary GonzalezMary Gonzales, Environmental Services Aide, is retiring from the system on Dec. 22 after 11 years of service to Cook Children’s. Everyone is invited to join us from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Dec. 14, in the Hochberger Pre-Function at Cook Children’s Medical Center-Fort Worth as we wish Mary well in her new adventure. 

We encourage you to take a moment to send Mary a farewell note or a congratulatory eCard by Dec. 21. 

DocLarry “Doc” Pennington, Cook Children's Courier, retired from the system on Nov. 30 after 15 years of service to Cook Children’s. Thank you, Doc, for your many years of dedication to Cook Children's Promise. 

If you would like to send a farewell card to Doc, please forward it to Robin Wright in Cook Children's Physican Network Administration and she will make sure he receives the card. 

Doc always had a can-do attitude and never hesitated to do what was asked of him. This achievement was recognized by the System in 2022 when the Cook Children's Physican Network Couriers were awarded the Team Peak Performer award. Doc always brought a smile to whomever he encountered whether with our CCPN Clinic staff, patients, and fellow co-workers at CCPN Administration. Doc will truly be missed, but never forgotten for his dedication and loyalty to CCPN throughout his many years of service.