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Connect Newsletter (Sept. 22, 2022)

connect newsletter

Connect Newsletter                                  
Sept. 22, 2022

Thank You for Completing the Cook Children's Burnout Survey

Mr. Merrill imageHello everyone,

On behalf of our executive leadership, I want to thank the almost 4,000 of you who took the recent System Maslach Burnout Survey. By reaching a 50% response rate for this survey, we hope the message is clear that this issue is a strategic priority for our organization, and we hope a personal priority for you.

Cook Children’s is committed to supporting your well-being and understanding what we can do to make your work experience better. The feedback you provided will help us do this. Over the next month we’ll begin reviewing the survey results provided by our third party survey vendor, Mind Garden. You can anticipate more in-depth communication in the near future that will share findings and next steps.

If you took the survey, you received your own personal results report. I encourage you to review it closely for suggestions on how to support your well-being as well as how to address or prevent burnout. I also want to remind you of the current resources that Cook Children’s offers staff. Please click here to learn more. 

If you have additional comments or questions following the closing of the survey, please email internalcommunications@cookchildrens.org.

Again, thank you for your input on this important initiative. I am grateful for each of you and all that you continue to do for Cook Children’s.


Rick W. Merrill


Ongoing Issue: Cook Children's Desperately Asking for Community's Help

Emergency Department PhotoCook Children's Emergency Department and Urgent Care Centers are still intensely overwhelmed with patients, an issue that has been ongoing for the past month. Again we are desperately asking for the community's help, for the sake of your child's care, and to support all of you.

Since Aug. 30, our ED and UCC have hit record levels. In the last 24 hours, 580 patients were seen at the emergency department and 705 patients were seen at our Urgent Care Centers. This has resulted in extremely long wait times.

Many parents are bringing in children who have been exposed to COVID-19 but show mild to no symptoms. This is putting unnecessary strain on the health care system. It’s also important to note that an average of 5.5% of COVID-19 tests at Cook Children’s are coming back positive at this time.

Please help us communicate to our community that parents and caregivers should call or visit their pediatrician first if their child is experiencing mild symptoms or a minor injury. Please share this community alert with others!

There are also English and Spanish kindness flyers available to print and share in your clinical areas, patient exam rooms, etc.


Today is North Texas Giving Day!

ntx giving day 2022We invite all Cook Children’s employees to help create awareness for our community to give to Cook Children’s and the Child Study Center this North Texas Giving Day. 

Share North Texas Giving Day with your family and friends and create hope for kids in need.



“My job is HARD but it so, so sweet." 

Thoughts From an Oncology Research Nurse 

brittany downhamIf we had one wish it would be that no child would ever have to fight cancer. 

Every day, the Cook Children's Hematology and Oncology team works to help make blood disorders and cancers disappear. At the same time, they provide exceptional care for every child and family. Brittany Downham, an oncology research nurse coordinator, shares her thoughts on her role in the fight to #erasekidcancer.

“It is an incredible privilege to be a pediatric oncology research nurse. 

I am right there in the middle of the hardest moments a parent could face. 

I am right there when the oncologist tells the family that their child has leukemia. 

I am there when they are told that, thanks to research, we have excellent cure rates, but that we haven’t made it to 100%. 

I am there when the parents imagine their child in that gap. 

I am there when they sometimes end up in that gap. 

I am there for the discussions of treatment options, for the hard conversations about chemo side effects, how we know what to watch for, how we prevent what we can, how we monitor, how we don’t know what will happen to who. I have to tell them that there is a chance that their child could die from life-threatening infection.

I am there when the dads ask when their child’s hair is going to fall out. 

I am there for the discussions about the clinical trials we have to offer versus the standard of care treatment for leukemia. 

I get to explain that clinical trials are how we have determined today’s standard of care and how we are trying to improve tomorrow’s. I get to educate, empower, support, celebrate, and occasionally cry with these families. I am there as they learn their ‘new normal’ for the the next few years. From day one, to end of therapy, and any and every day in between, I get to be there for my patients and their families. And it is the greatest privilege. 

Sometimes I get to high-five a tiny superhero in a Chewbacca mask and a cape in the playroom with their IV pole. Sometimes I get quizzed on dinosaurs. Sometimes I get to play I Spy. Sometimes I get a hamster named after me. (Or maybe that was just once… shoutout to ‘Bwinny’ the hamster, if you are still with us.) 

Sometimes I get to be in TikTok videos. Sometimes my patients compare me to Alexis Rose from Schitt’s Creek. Sometimes they make me rubber band bracelets and draw me pictures. Sometimes they tell me I’m their favorite. And sometimes they ignore me completely. 

My job is HARD. But it is so, so sweet to be able to walk alongside these families. These kids are tough. They are brave. They are strong. They are resilient. And so are their parents. They deserve better.


CareATC: Mental Health Services

CareATCIn a 2021 survey by the American Psychological Association, 75% of essential workers, including health care personnel, said they needed more emotional support than they received during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

"We experience burnout and we experience compassion fatigue. And then we have the complications of having a workforce that has been severely hampered by COVID and by other challenges as the workforce changes,” said Alicia Hooper, a licensed clinical social worker at the CareATC site at 500 S. Henderson St., near Cook Children’s Medical Center.

In an effort to prioritize mental health, Cook Children’s provides each employee with up to six free counseling sessions per year, per issue. Alicia offers counseling for employees and their dependents ages 12 and older, as well as couples therapy.

Learn more about these confidential and private mental health services at CareATC here.


hoopla graphicHalloween Hoopla: Save the Date for Oct. 31! 

Halloween Hoopla is back! Get your costumes, skits and décor ready and mark your calendars for 2 p.m., Friday, Oct. 31. 

We are very excited to announce that this year we will be hosting another hybrid Halloween Hoopla. Our goal is to make this event inclusive, safe and festively fun. We hope to create some magical moments for not only our staff but for every child under our care. Hoopla truly showcases the creative child in us all, and we invite you to participate and connect with one another wherever you work.

Registration forms for on-campus and virtual costume and skit contests will be posted on CookNet next week. For more details and guidelines on the contests, please read the Halloween Hoopla 2022 Participant Guide here*. (Note: you must be connected to CookNet to view the guide.)

All employees are invited to wear costumes Oct. 28-31! 

We would love to hear about how you plan to celebrate Hoopla at your location. Please email Amy.Smith@cookchildrens.org for support or questions.


Halloween Patient Trick or Treating Sign Up Sheet

halloween sign up sheetYour department is invited to participate in this year's inpatient Trick or Treating event. The first 20 applications received will be guaranteed participation! 

If your department plans to join in the Trick or Treat activity, please complete the form here. Submit your form by Friday, Oct. 21 to Megan Hodges-Cook via email. For questions or more information, please call 682-885-4270.

Thank you for helping us making this year so special for our patients and families!


Monthly Peak Performers: August 2022

peak performer #3Please join us in congratulating all of the following Peak Performers for August 2022. 

Want to send a special congratulations to any of these winners? You can easily do so with one of our Ecards that are available here.

Find out who the latest Peak Performer recipients are.


New Phone Number for Kids' Place Child Development Center Inquiries 

There is a new phone number for parents wanting to learn more information about Kids' Place Child Development Center. If you'd like to schedule a visit, speak with the center or have more inquiries, please call 817-566-7806.

This does not replace the existing phone number for the center, nor does it use any existing lines associated with the phone number.

Kids' Place is the onsite child care center available to Cook Children's employees and it is located adjacent to our Medical Center.

Enrolled families can still call 817-335-2755 to speak to the center directly. 

Now Enrolling_PS KP_Kids Place_Cook Childrens Health_v3.pdf


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Our Promise

Knowing that every child's life is sacred, it is the Promise of Cook Children's to improve the health of every child through the prevention and treatment of illness, disease and injury.