03
August
2023
|
12:57 PM
America/Chicago

Peak Performers: Third Quarter (April-June 2023)

Summary

Celebrating Our Peak Performers!

INDIVIDUALS

LUCINDA BERENT

Lucinda Berent, Clinical Practice & Advanced Education Specialist, Prosper Administration-Nursing

Lucinda has had such an incredible impact on the Prosper Medical Center. As the sole designated educator for the campus, Lucinda has been tasked with an incredibly large role and yet maintains a positive attitude. She is responsible for orientation and the education for hundreds of employees, which is no easy task. Still, Lucinda is always willing to take the time to meet an employee where they are if they are struggling with anything. She is responsible for providing certain classes periodically and coordinating with other educators at the main campus to ensure the information we provide here is accurate and effective. Lucinda was an integral part in opening the Prosper Medical Center and we could not be functioning as a whole without her strong impact. 

​In addition to her tasks of making sure clinical employees receive an appropriate orientation period, Lucinda recognizes educational aspects that the Prosper Medical Center may need additional education on. She has spearheaded a peripheral IV (PIV) securement teaching to re-inforce education on the PIV policies at Cook Children's and to ensure that our PIVs are secured in the same manner across the campus. She recognizes the importance of providing quality education in order to create a safer environment for the kiddos we serve here. I do not know how Lucinda manages to do all that she does on a daily basis, but we as a campus are lucky to have an educator that is willing and excited to tackle such a huge task to make an impact on Cook Children's Medical Center-Prosper. 

JOANIE CASTILLO, MA Photo

Joanie Castillo, Urgent Care Center Medical Assistant, Prosper Urgent Care

Joanie is a recent Medical Assistant that transferred to the Prosper Urgent Care Center (UCC). She has gone out of her way to pick up extra shifts to help out her crew when staffing was short. Joanie is always willing to come in last minute if staffing changes and help is needed. She is eager to learn new things in the UCC and tries her best each and every shift that she works. Joanie is very kind and caring to her patients and families. She spends the extra time with the patients to keep them happy, informed and calm when they come in nervous.

Joanie has had her distraction methods mentioned in the Press Ganey review which have become a major asset to this practice. The morale at the clinic has improved thanks to Joanie. It’s not unlikely that she will bring in treats for the staff when she knows there is a busy day ahead. Joanie is kind to everyone and happy from the time she arrives to work. She has been a great addition to the Prosper UCC. 

RICHARD EAKERNS, RN Photo

Rick Eakerns, Registered Nurse, Prosper Surgery-Inpatient / Outpatient

Rick always steps up to the plate when needed and shows patience and understanding while precepting those still orienting to the Operating Room. He is an excellent preceptor and a valuable resource. For example, he took on precepting during an orthopedics case that was more complex than our usual cases and I witnessed him truly step as a leader. It was reassuring to have him take control of the room and make sure that the team had what they needed for the safety and success of the procedure. The case was completed smoothly thanks to Rick and the preceptee was able to gain more confidence due to his leadership. 

When an unexpected issue arises, Rick jumps in with a positive attitude without having to be asked to help. He often goes above the call of duty, such as when we had an unexpected issue in an endocrinology case and he was called to help. He stopped what he was doing to assist and troubleshoot until the problem was resolved. Rick is a valuable member of the team and deserves to be recognized for his commitment to quality patient care and his diverse knowledge and experience. If my child was having surgery, I would want Rick there.​ ​

KRISTIN ELZEY

Kristin Elzey, Manager, Pharmacy Operations, Prosper Pharmacy

Kristin doesn't have a background in pediatrics but you would not know that. She came in as the manager for Cook Children’s new Prosper hospital pharmacy and hit the ground running. Our team had many obstacles in the pharmacy at the beginning, and she had helped the team work through them all. She practices open communication and keeps the whole team in the loop. Kristin is transparent and has biweekly huddles with the team to keep us informed with the most recent information. She put in a ton of effort to get our team ready for the Joint Commission visit. As a result of her hard work, we had a flawless Joint Commission survey.

Pharmacy is one of the few departments that touches every single patient seen at the hospital. We are working in the background and sometimes go unnoticed. Something amazing Kristin has implemented is having the newly-hired nurses come tour our pharmacy. This gives the nurses a backstage look at how we operate. We can walk them through the process of when an order is entered, how it is verified, filled and checked. They have seen how medications are made in a sterile environment and the process to get from our hands to theirs. I have heard many new nurses say how amazing it was to see firsthand the work that pharmacy puts in to make sure every dose, is timely, safe and accurate. Kristin has been working to make sure that our team is recognized for the hard work we put in every day, and making sure that we are building relationships with other departments in the hospital. Her encouragement and innovation are what make her a Peak Performer.

LISA FARMER

Lisa Farmer, Director, Psychiatric Services

Lisa is such a supportive director in the Psychiatric Services department. She makes the employees in our department feel important and valued. Lisa takes an interest in each person. She knows the names of every employee, their significant other, their children’s names, their interests outside of work, and makes it a point to ask about them. Lisa acknowledges the accomplishments of staff and celebrates them, which boosts morale. Lisa shows genuine curiosity and care with her employees and does what she can to ensure they feel supported.

Lisa is a woman of strong character and integrity. She leads by example and is transparent about her mistakes so that the rest of her team can learn. At the same time, she shows grace, patience, and support when we struggle. As someone new to the team, I have felt incredible support from Lisa and she is a true model of effective leadership. Lisa goes above and beyond. She is available around the clock – she consistently works over full time hours, and even responds while on vacation. She has assisted and encouraged me with having difficult conversations with staff members, and she has such a kind delivery that makes others feel comfortable. Lisa fosters the interest of staff by supporting and encouraging them to attend trainings and continue educational opportunities. Lisa is open to and welcomes new ideas and initiatives to encourage growth within our department.

Lisa ensures that the psychiatry department provides quality treatment while maintaining safety for staff and patients. She strives to ensure we are appropriately staffed and able to maintain an appropriate staff to patient ratio. She demonstrates outstanding customer service to our families and is willing to step in during high stress or high conflict situations. I truly believe that Lisa embodies the Cook Children’s promise to ensure that we are improving the well-being of our patients and providing the highest quality of care. Her genuine care and compassion is unmatched and I think this is why she’s highly respected as a leader. 

ABBEY HAM

Abbey Ham, Research Nurse Coordinator I, Research Operations

To know Abbey is to love her.  She gives 100% to Cook Children’s every day and anyone who meets her will tell you she is like sunshine. Always pleasant, always smiling, and always kind. Even when situations are frustrating you will see Abbey smiling. She is the first to encourage team members to take time off for self-care or a much needed break. She is the first to fill in when we are short, even when it is an area she is not as familiar with. And most of this is done without any recognition. But most importantly, she builds other people up. She is always telling her team how much she appreciates them, or giving affirmation of their strengths/positive qualities.  

​In addition to her overall impeccable service, the biggest reason Abbey is a Peak Performer is her dedication to improving the experience of nurses around her. For the past few years she has been an integral part of the nurse residency program on the hematology and oncology unit. She spends hours planning where nurse residents will go, and revamping placement based on feedback from the residents. More recently, she has been working on a project to not only improve patient safety through education and leadership, but also improve nursing job satisfaction, thus improving nursing retention.

Stacey H., RN, MSN Photo

Stacey Henley, Nurse Manager, Clinical Care Team

Stacey has shown tremendous leadership as the manager of CARE Team and Fostering Health at Cook Children’s. She ensures that all staff are heard, have the necessary tools to do their job, and is always available when they need her. The patient population can be very challenging and she makes sure that staff well-being is addressed to keep them coming back. She is truly a hard working manager who not only manages two departments, but continues to see sexual abuse patients in the clinical setting daily.

​Stacey has done a phenomenal job in overseeing and directing the move of both Fostering Health and CARE Team into the new clinic space in Cook Children’s Dodson Specialty Building. She created teams, asked for input, and practiced patient flow to incorporate a multitude of new processes that are different than inside the medical center. Since going live, she has been present and dealt with any hiccups on the fly with her amazing problem solving skills. Stacey has sent out "Flash Fact" emails daily to ensure all staff are aware of all the little changes that are happening from moment to moment. Several of the staff have commented on just how well they think the move has been and are surprised at how well she planned and prepared them for this historic move from the medical center into Dodson. She is truly a Peak Performer.

LAURA NEELEY, CPHT Photo

Laura Neeley, Pharmacy Tech II, Pharmacy

Deep in the innermost recesses of the pharmacy basement I.V. room is our wonderful pharmacy technician Laura Neeley. Laura is responsible for our Total Parenteral Nutrition’s (TPN). These are bags full of minerals, vitamins and nutrition that our kiddos wouldn't be able to get otherwise. Although she is never seen by the kiddos and nurses on the floor, Laura's presence is felt in everything that she does. Something that may be considered small but has a ripple effect is that Laura buys stickers and puts them on all of her TPN bags. So when a kiddo is having to get TPN's they aren't just looking at a boring bag hanging there. They are looking at their favorite Disney characters, or little chicks in eggs for Easter, or Santa and Rudolph etc. This wasn't common practice, this was something Laura started on her own with her own money simply because that's how much she cares.

Burn out has been acutely felt in pharmacy. Laura went above and beyond and bought little ducks to hide around the pharmacy to put a smile on everyone’s face. Once she realized how much of a positive impact it had in the pharmacy she started hiding them around the hospital. She did all of this anonymously and we received so many thank you notes for putting smiles on everyone’s face while we were working through some stressful times. She loves what she does and it really shows in how she shows up every day. Laura has only called in once in the 7+ years she's been here, she brings a positive attitude, giving 110% on every TPN bag that she makes. Her team and all the kids at Cook Children’s Medical Center are lucky to have her. 

ERICKA MEDINA Photo

Erika Medina, Specialty Clinic Medical Receptionist II, Genetics

Erika is an outstanding medical receptionists who always shows up to work with a big smile, positive attitude and ready to tackle anything that comes up. She is very passionate about helping others in any way possible.

Erika is a great communicator, and is personable. She has a strong work ethic and excellent phone etiquette, and listens and cares for our families. Erika acknowledges our families and takes her time to help them with anything they need. Sometimes technology can be overwhelming and Erika will happily assist our not too tech savvy parents with creating their Cook Children’s portal account. Any time we have a staff member out, she does not hesitate to take the initiative and make sure all tasks get completed by end of day. We once had a family go over their visit time with the doctor and Erika volunteered to stay until the family left the clinic. Erika is always the first one to volunteer to help cover other departments when they are short staffed. Parents have complemented her on the Press Ganey surveys for her cooperation throughout their visit, kindness, and sweet demeanor.

Erika is simply an above and beyond employee and great asset to our team. We are grateful to have her as part of the Genetics’ team. She represents Cook Children’s core values and our Promise.

JAY PEARSON

Jay Pearson, Specialty Clinic Physician Assistant, Pediatric Surgery/Trauma

The Trauma Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Liaison is a new position that Jay suggested that we create to educate and give follow up to the EMS providers that bring trauma patients to Cook Children’s. Jay volunteered to take on this role on top of his other duties and fulfill an unmet need of our community EMS providers. The EMS providers are now getting timely feedback that allows them to validate or adjust their practice protocols. This creates a safer environment for pediatric patients since that patient population is one that the paramedics are most uncomfortable with. Jay and I are both paramedics that would have loved this feedback when we were staffing an ambulance. I fully support the work that he is doing to collaborate with EMS to provide better care for the pediatric population. It is rare that you find a physician assistant that is also a paramedic that truly understands how to connect with the pre-hospital medical professionals in the way that Jay does.

At the beginning of 2022, I was trying to build back some team camaraderie that 2 years of COVID protocols and change in workflows had torn away from our team. I started an APP of the Quarter program that was voted on strictly by their teammates in an effort to get the team more comfortable with expressing and receiving gratitude. As their supervisor I only voted in the case of a tie. Jay was not only chosen as an APP of one of the quarters by his fellow nurse practitioner and physician assistant members on the team, he was also chosen as the inaugural APP of the Year for 2022 for the Pediatric Surgery/Trauma department. He is a shining example of excellence and favorably represents Cook Children’s in all that he does.

MARISOL ORTEGA Photo

Marisol Ortega, Home Health Patient Account Representative II, Home Health Administration

For the better part of the last 5 years, Marisol has been the rock and cornerstone of Home Health's Orthotic and Prosthetic intake department. As the most seasoned patient account representative (PAR) in the department, Marisol always goes above and beyond to help her team thrive and maintain compliance. Upon taking over the department in a leadership role, I heavily leaned on Marisol to help analyze processes and make sure everything we did made sense and was the most efficient way to approach things. Before I was able to really grasp the ins and outs and really put my skills to use to improve the department, Marisol took time to show in detail the why's and how's of our processes. This was pivotal in helping to analyze, update, and eventually cut out any fluff or dated processes that may have slowed the team down or caused friction. Her strong dedication to excellence is infectious and her drive and passion for providing excellent and expeditious care really resonates with the team. It’s this level of dedication that holds everyone accountable and really raises the bar for the department. 

Change is not often accepted without reluctance but is often times necessary for progress. We experienced change across the majority of departments at Home Health during the last few years that opened the door for work-from-home opportunities for a good portion of our intake staff. Unfortunately due to the nature of how the patient access representatives interact with patient families and clinicians, this could not be afforded to the outpatient intake staff without a huge shift in processes and a trial period showing consistent productivity. Challenges like these do not deter Marisol. She understood the value of work-from-home and what that would mean for a rewarding work-life balance. Living up to her consistent proclivity to go above and beyond, Marisol collaborated with her team and presented a multitude of solutions to address the various challenges preventing them from obtaining a work from home opportunity. She helped reconfigure how referrals are processed and routed to our team with a documentation system that has thus far been very sustainable and efficient. She presented ideas that we adopted to help streamline the financial consults with families that fit our current work flow tremendously. Marisol was a strong advocate and pushed hard for the team to finally achieve the opportunity to show their process updates would not only translate in a work-from-home environment, but actually increase productivity. When the green light was given to trial a fragmented work-from-home work week for the team, they thrived and excelled. Their current work structure enables them to work from home for 1 month and in the office 2 weeks on a rotation that the team loves. This would not have been possible without Marisol's persistence and dedication to excellence. 

JENNIFER BRANNUM, BSN, RN, CPN Photo

Jennifer Brannum, Registered Nurse, Prosper Medical Surgery

Jennifer is a nurse at Prosper Medical Center. When Jennifer was hired she was hired into a day shift position. However, recognizing her vast experience and great clinical skills, Jennifer agreed to flip to night shift to support the night shift staff during the opening of our hospital. Jennifer took on this challenge knowing each night would likely present new issues and challenges. She has gone above and beyond to help support our night shift staff, train new charge nurses and ensure the safety of our patients. During this time Jennifer has also picked up short day shifts, constantly seeking out ways to support Cook Children's Prosper.  

​Jennifer has extensive hematology and oncology experience and she willingly takes on training for our staff. She attends multiple councils and helps set up additional training for our staff. Jennifer will take on any challenge with a smile on her face.  Jennifer was asked to resource with our Pediatric Intensive Care Unit team one night when staffing was tight, and her response was "I will do anything you need me to do." However, this is not a one-time response from Jennifer. She is always willing to support Prosper in any way she can. Jennifer has consistently demonstrated the Cook Children's values and continues to grow the Cook Children's culture. 

PHILLIP DAVIS Photo

Phillip Davis, Supply Chain Technician, Central Supply

There is not a task Phillip is not willing to take on and he is always going above and beyond. He has been with Cook Children's for many years and knows the mail room inside and out. If we cannot find a packet, or the dock cannot find a packet, you can go to Phillip and by some miracle he finds it. Technically the miracle is he works until he does find it. I have watched Phillip succeed in many duties here at Cook Children's Medical Center-Fort Worth over the years and each time he has done a great job. Our last package that was missing was a critical overnight Federal Express package with a tracking number. The dock stated it was not there, but Phillip got the tracking number and found the packet before the deadline.  

Phillip is a great example of our new culture as he always remembers everyone’s name. He makes a point to say hello, ask if he can assist further with the mail, and gives a smile to all people he comes in contact with at Cook Children’s. His loyalty, work ethic, collaboration, and respect for all employees is always noticed. Phillip is generous and kind while keeping safety in mind. All of this, along with his enthusiasm, exemplifies not only our culture of Everything for the Child, but a commitment to the staff of Cook Children's he encounters. 

ELIZABETH SPEARS

Elizabeth “Beth” Spears, Registered Nurse, Pediatric Intensive Care Unit

Beth Spears exemplifies what it means to be a nurse at Cook Children’s and is committed to fulfilling the promise. She is invested in this organization and her home department one hundred percent. She gives her time and talents to improve the care of our patients and our families. She knows the importance of providing quality and compassionate care to our patients and families. She has a true servant’s heart and not only comes to work to care for her patients and families, but also invests extra time serving on various committees throughout the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) and the hospital. She has been involved in quality committees from the very beginning of her career here at Cook Children’s, taking advantage of every learning opportunity she could. She shares her knowledge with others by serving as a preceptor, mentor, and unit guide, and is always willing to take on a student. She has such a sweet spirit, and others are drawn to her.

Quality is one of those topics that some might view as boring but Beth sees the value in always looking for ways to improve and learn. A few of the things Beth has been involved in to improve quality of care include providing one-on-one urinary catheter insertion and maintenance education to the PICU staff in an effort to help reduce our catheter-associated urinary tract infections rate. She has assisted by rounding with staff to provide education, sought out thoughts on reasons for an increase in unplanned extubations and shared this information with the medical and leadership teams. Beth will always step up when we need a super user for implementation of a product, new process or even new equipment, and the list goes on. You can always count on Beth to answer the call for help. This past year, she stepped into the informal role of quality nurse for the PICU. She devotes some of her time to leading the PICU quality committee, gathering data for apparent cause analysis meetings when there is a hospital-acquired infection, performing observations, keeps up to date records for staff completing K-Card observations, aids with hospital skin surveillance rounds, performs audits on nursing audits for quality improvement council, and so much more. She comes to work on unscheduled time to attend meetings to perform some of her quality work when she has been pulled into staffing and does it with such a positive attitude. Beth has also completed several cycles of the professional development program and continues this today. She serves her community through volunteering and in various church opportunities throughout the year. 

In the many years I have known Beth, she maintains a joyful, kind, generous, and humble spirit. She truly performs at her peak every time she enters the doors of our hospital and is most definitely a Peak Performer.  ​

AMBER WAGNER, BSN, RN Photo

Amber Wagner, Registered Nurse, Prosper Urgent Care Center  

Amber is a charge nurse in the Prosper Urgent Care Center (UCC). We had another charge nurse go out on leave and Amber took it upon herself to take over the supply orders, oxygen counts, and durable medical equipment without hesitating. She has been wonderful at seeking ways to improve things in the UCC with the new transport policies that have been put into place. She researched and helped formulate safe options for the staff to make the transport smoother. Amber labeled and corrected issues on the emergency cart when new medications arrived and items were changed out. She is always willing to step in and complete tasks that need to be completed without being asked. 

​Amber is the first one to report any issues or concerns when it comes to the Prosper UCC. She will call, text or email the appropriate management or staff to get issues handled as quickly as possible to protect the patients and families that we serve. She truly loves her job and cares tremendously about the reputation of the Prosper UCC. She is a clear communicator and a team player in the UCC model of care. 

JOYCE MOORE

Joyce Moore, Executive Assistant III, Education and Professional Development

Joyce is one of the most loyal employees I have ever met and she is fully committed to our Cook Children’s Promise, stellar customer service, and her work family. She has been employed at Cook Children's for a VERY long time, and the depth of wisdom and competency she brings to her role is immense. A group of employees began organizational development work in her office, including work on our burnout survey data. That team's reporting structure changed, as well as management of their specific budget. Joyce provided a budget training session to that team, then provided a list of future known expenses with an explanation of each topic. That enabled a new team to understand more about what to expect and to be prepared to accurately deal with invoices and reimbursement details.  ​

​Another example of going above and beyond is the work Joyce did to strengthen our department's compliance with record management. This nominee served as a department leader as we collaborated with the Compliance Department. She created a very impressive system that included a tracking log. Her efforts earned high praise from the Corporate Compliance department leaders. I am proud to work Joyce. Her work ethic is second to none and she brings joy to our workplace.

MARC RAINS

Marc Rains, Manager, Health Plan Applications Admin, Information Systems – EPIC

Our team has gone months without manager, and we have somewhat struggled to stay afloat with staffing changes and a constant influx of tickets. In an effort to lighten the load of our director, Marc has taken on several duties to make sure our team has what we need to keep the wheels spinning. Whether it is a weekly dad joke, handling equipment requests, change ticket approvals, or environment updates. Marc seems to be the glue that helps keep our team together and we appreciate him so much.

We recently had a 3-day event where Epic came on-site to meet with our Health Plan operations, IS analysts, and management in an effort to communicate processes and assist with system optimization. This took a lot of planning to make sure everyone was on the same page. Marc did a wonderful job of working with Epic and our customer to coordinate this and it was a success.

ANNETTE MCKAY

Annette McKay, Delegation Program Manager, Network and Community Management

Cook Children’s Health Plan recently transitioned behavioral health services from a vendor to providing services in house. The transition encountered numerous challenges and Annette leveraged her considerable experience in auditing, research and claims management to identify proactive measures to offset these challenges. Her leadership has led to process improvements in provider setups, which improved the quality of our claim payment efficiencies, assisting patients find care more efficiently and augmented our ongoing recruitment efforts.

Annette was asked to assume the Health Plans HUB vendor management program. Never one to say no to a new learning experience, she not only rose to challenge, but drew on her experience and internal relationships to successfully create and submit the HUB section in the Health Plan’s Medicaid Request for Proposal (RFP). She was able to improve our current processes and is continuing to refine the process and educate the team.

REBECCA MELVILLE - sent in photo

Rebecca Melville, Medically Dependent Children Program Interest List Coordinator Registered Nurse, Star Kids Care Management

Rebecca is a rock star and an asset to the Medically Dependent Children Program (MDCP) team. The MDCP team had recently had changes in staff which required training 4 new people. Rebecca was first in line to volunteer to help train the new employees. Rebecca handled the training of the employees with grace as well continued to do her interest list nurse position.

Rebecca unfortunately had a parent that lost their child. She stepped up to help without question to assist the family find ways to help pay for the child’s funeral. Listening to Rebecca speak with the family on the phone with such compassion was emotionally moving. Rebecca believes every child is sacred and is intentional about fulfilling the Cook Children’s Promise. Her ability to go above and beyond her daily task to provide the best quality care and experience for the whole family is what makes her a Peak performer.

SONIA PUIG-VARGAS, RPH Photo

Sonia Puig-Vargas, Manager, Pharmacy Program, Care Management Administration

Sonia is punctual even with a heavy workload in the Pharmacy Program. She has consistently made sure all of her state reports were completed and submitted on time or before their due dates while also managing daily issues and requests. Once Cook Children’s Health Plan added a new employee to help with the workload, Sonia took on the responsibility of training the new employee while simultaneously making sure all reports were still submitted on time.

​The Annual Drug Utilization Review (DUR) Report was due to the state in May. This is a multi-level report that requires data from our Pharmacy Benefits Manager (PBM) as well as internal data. DUR is an authorized and structured ongoing review of practitioner prescribing, pharmacist dispensing and patient use of medications. It is very lengthy and time consuming to complete. This year, the state transitioned from a document type of report to an online version. The website did not have a save button, but we were explained that it would automatically save everything we entered and will be there when we return. Unfortunately that was not the case for us.  Sonia had to re-enter the data 3 times before she was able to successfully submit it to the state. She worked late on the Friday before it was due just to ensure everything was completed and submitted. She then reached out to the state on the Monday it was due to ensure they had received our data, and they verified they did.    

Sonia went above and beyond what many would have done just to ensure it was submitted properly and timely. She did all of this while still handling questions and issues that came to her from all ends. Sonia is an extremely valuable asset to Cook Children's Health Plan and to all of our members.

LYDIA PARASKEVAS, BSN, RN Photo

Lydia Paraskevas, Registered Nurse Staff Field Nurse, Pharmacy & Infusion

Lydia joined the Cook Children’s Home Health Nursing team in 2020 as a case-by-case (CBC) employee. During the time she worked as CBC, she picked up shifts well above the minimum requirements for CBC, significantly helping balance out the workload among clinicians. In 2021, she transitioned over to full time status. In less than a year from her transitioning to full time, our department was down a full-time nurse requiring the remaining staff to provide extra availability to meet new and ongoing patient needs. Despite the department being short staffed for an extended period, Lydia continues to go above and beyond to meet the needs of our patients by giving selflessly of her time for patient visits, by precepting and training newer staff members, by participating in workgroup meetings, and by exemplifying what it is to be a patient advocate. Her meticulous prep work prior to visits, her eye for detail and critical thinking during patient visits, as well as an all-encompassing follow through after visits ensures necessary information pertaining to patient care is passed on to all with a need to know and includes any additional resources such as Social Work in order to best meet family needs. She truly connects the dots for our patients!

Lydia is not only is a valuable asset to our patients, she is also a valuable asset to her co-workers. Lydia thoroughly thinks through issues when they arise and provides constructive feedback and insightful suggestions based on her past professional experience. While she is continuously seeking opportunities to expand her knowledge base and skillset, her input allows others on the team to learn and improve their practice as well. Cook Children’s Home Health nursing is extremely fortune to have her as a team member!

MARGARITA BUSTOS Photo

Margarita Bustos, Patient Care Technician, Transitional Care Unit-Special Care Unit

Margarita is a patient care tech on the Transitional Care Unit (TCU) and Residential Care Unit (RCU). She is highly skilled and she utilizes her skills and scope to their fullest abilities. When I floated to the transitional care unit and requested her help with trach care, she performed it skillfully and efficiently. She also helped me change my patient's linens and clothes. Her attention to detail, hygiene, cleanliness, and safety is profound.

​Margarita takes the initiative to complete tasks and is very helpful to her teammates. I have seen her precept other patient care technicians and teach them to do the same. Margarita communicates clearly and documents what she has accomplished appropriately. Several times when I have floated to TCU/RCU she has been our patient care tech and she hangs my patient’s feeds and completes their baths without me even asking.

Collaboration is one of Margarita’s strengths. She checked in the residential care unit during a particularly challenging day for them. She offered to help the staff on RCU despite being assigned to the patients on TCU. Margarita noticed a patient desatting on the central monitor and she coordinated a switch out of staff in a patient’s room so that the patient’s primary nurse could attend to the patient in need.

Margarita is very involved in ensuring we follow our policy for discharges. She spends a lot of time cleaning out discharge rooms and removes dirty equipment and previous patient supplies prior to environmental services cleaning it. This attention to detail ensures we keep our patients safe from infectious diseases. She has won several “high priority cleaning” awards, which include recognition by unit leadership.

ABIGAIL HOEKSTRA

Abigail Hoekstra, Child Life Specialist, Child Life

Abigail volunteered to cover Child Life responsibilities for Dodson Surgery when our department had an absence. Abigail voluntarily took on this monumental task knowing she would still be needed in her regular duties at the Dodson Surgery clinic and the pulmonary clinic. When asked why she would take on so much more work voluntarily, she said she hated the thought of kids going to surgery without Child Life there to help alleviate their anxiety. Abigail is devoted to providing a safe and amazing patient care experience to any and all children she comes into contact with.  At Dodson Surgery, she has made a massive impact..

After volunteering to cover Dodson Surgery, Abigail is constantly (and successfully) juggling Dodson Surgery, Pulmonary clinic, and Surgery clinic. When she is needed in multiple places at once, she makes sure it is all covered. The kids are her Number One priority and she gives everything she has to offer. Abigail is a Peak Performer if anyone ever was, especially since she volunteered for all of this on top of her normal daily duties. 

kimberly johnson

Kimberly Johnson, Manager of Workshop and Retail, Build-A-Bear

When we did the last CBord integrated technology solutions upgrade and needed help testing all the registers Kim went above and beyond to help get all registered tested. When we ran into issues she made sure everyone involved was aware and communicated between all departments.  She is always willing to stop and help us in Information Technology (IT) with anything we need, from testing, phone calls and more, which allows us to set up shop in the celebration room and communicate to other areas. She always has a smile on her face and is willing to assist in any way she can. She is always available and I appreciate her so much. Even when she is tired and working on a million different projects she is always willing to find time to help others.

When Prosper opened, we had set up everything needed for the store to open from the IT side. When it came to teaching the new manager of the Prosper Gift Shop, Kim went above and beyond in taking the time to drive out to Prosper to teach her what she needed to know. Kim was on site for the shop’s opening day to help train staff and answer any department questions. I appreciate her willingness to help guide our new staff and help them to adjust and provide the most quality service to our patients and their families.

VANESSA WILLIAMS-WILCOTS, RRT Photo

Vanessa Williams-Wilcots, Respiratory Therapist, Staff, Prosper Respiratory Therapy

Vanessa goes beyond her job duties by serving as an Educator for Nursing and Respiratory Therapy Staffing since our Respiratory Therapy department does not have a designated Educator. Vanessa is an all-around team player. She serves and assist in multiple roles for our team. Vanessa serves as a Lead Respiratory Therapist, a Preceptor, an Educator to new hires, and a GEM blood gas analyzer super-user.

An example of her being an all-around team player is that although she is a dayshift team member, she has picked up nightshifts to assist with staffing needs. This exemplifies the selflessness and passion that she has for our team and our patients.

Vanessa also makes time outside of her normal clinical shifts to assist with training and orientation schedules. Vanessa has taken the lead of serving in our Respiratory Educator role in addition to her daily clinical job duties. I have received positive team feedback on how she has helped our team learn equipment and departmental guidelines, and the team always looks forward to her training sessions.

In her Lead Respiratory Therapist (RT) role, Vanessa has suggested great options for non-monetary rewards for our team members that go above and beyond their roles. I have been able to implement the suggestions by allowing those top achievers to have first pick at holidays off and cancellation choices. Vanessa unknowingly serves as a mentor to our other Lead RT's. I have seen her provide guidance, examples, and suggestions to other Lead RT's that have helped them perform better and grow more in their role. Vanessa is a great asset to our team.

CAROL WINCHESTER, RRT-NPS Photo

Carol Winchester, Respiratory Therapist, Staff, Prosper Respiratory Therapy

Carol goes beyond her job duties by serving as an educator for Nursing and Respiratory Therapy (RT) Staffing since our RT department does not have a designated Educator. Carol makes time around her normal clinical shifts to assist in training for new hires. Carol represented our Respiratory Discipline team by sitting on a panel for a high school job fair. During this panel, Carol explained the day-to-day duties of our Respiratory Team to a group of students who may one day decide to work in healthcare.

Carol also makes sure our RT Team remains consistent in our practices by ensuring our team is performing within guidelines. She made a suggestion for a taping technique that would be beneficial to our team which in return allowed us to make an update to our policy. She has also made suggestions in our RT Epic charting that would be beneficial for our Respiratory team’s workflow, and those suggestions have since been able to be added to our Epic workflow. Carol is both a patient and team advocate who is always willing to lend a helping hand, whether that be with patient care, education and training, or policies.

JEFFREY CLINKSCALES Photo

Jeffrey “Jeff” Clinkscales, Desktop Engineer, Information Services

Jeff always communicates effectively, responds promptly and sets reasonable expectations for turnaround times in the Information Services department. He follows through every single time and is undoubtedly dependable. Not only is he professional but he has a very approachable demeanor and very friendly. Jeff does a tremendous job with limited time constraints. Jeff also helps others in his department understand the unique challenges that affect Home Health laptops. He is great at problem solving and shows very strong leadership qualities. 

Jeff is very in tune with the intricacy of Cook Children’s Home Health laptops and Verizon. He has been able to identify fixes and solutions to problems that we have struggled with for the last 2 years. Going above and beyond, he has been willing to work with our clinicians especially when they are in the field seeing patients and encounter issues. Jeff has come to meet clinicians outside of the medical center campus and work in real time with them. Arriving early or calling them directly, he has stopped exactly what he was doing to be sure that the clinician had what they needed to be safe and successful. All of these examples of going above and beyond are so important to our daily operations.  As providers and a company, we do not want any delay in care due to tech issues, delay in submissions which can put us out of compliance, and also cause frustration and a decrease in patient satisfaction. 

CHRISTINA ROGERS

Christina Rogers, Supervisor of Service Coordination Case Manager, LMSW, LCSW, Star Kids Care Management

Christina is a supervisor for the STAR Kids Service Coordination team with the Cook Children's Health Plan. Christina sets an example every day for her peers and motivates employees to do their best. Her staff described her as a skillful person in managing multiple issues simultaneously and ensuring all aspects are handled efficiently and effectively. Her team always feels supported no matter what is going on with them. She makes staff feel valued and ensures they have the appropriate tools to succeed.

​In the last year, Christina took the initiative to organize meetings regarding the Professional Development Program (PDP) to be able to offer our Social Workers and Licensed Professional Counselors an opportunity to participate. Other departments at the Fort Worth Medical Center were already offering this opportunity but not at the Health Plan. Christina gathered all the information needed to start a PDP at the Health Plan. We are so thankful to Christina for her diligence and support in getting our PDP up and running. We have several of our employees participating in the PDP, and this is all due to Christina’s persistence in seeing the value a PDP program would bring our employees. She is a true leader who displays kindness, a positive work environment, and promotes teamwork. We are very lucky to have Christina as part of our team.

THOMAS SEHON Photo

Thomas “Tommy” Sehon, Health Plan Call Center Operation Analyst, Senior, Member Services

The Member Services team faced a significant challenge with the absence of our manager. However, amidst this uncertainty, Tommy rose to the occasion and demonstrated remarkable competence, resilience, and resourcefulness. He willingly took on additional responsibilities, exhibiting strong decision-making skills and displaying a level of initiative that greatly surpassed expectations. What sets Tommy apart is his extraordinary ability to maintain a clear vision and prioritize tasks effectively, even in the face of mounting pressure during monthly file loads. His meticulous planning and strategic thinking have allowed us to meet crucial deadlines and deliver exceptional results. His willingness to go the extra mile and assist others, both within our team and across departments, demonstrates his remarkable dedication to our shared success.

Furthermore, Tommy consistently exhibits exceptional communication skills, fostering open dialogue and ensuring that everyone is informed and engaged. His ability to address challenges head-on, providing constructive feedback and guidance, has earned him the respect and admiration of our entire team. His positive attitude and genuine concern for the well-being of others have made him an invaluable asset during our manager's absence.​

DIANA L PEREZ

Diana L. Perez, Home Health Patient Relations Representative, Home Health Administration

As a service coordinator for the health plan, one of my members notified me that her son's oxygen that he used as scheduled was not working. I sent an email to Diana at Cook Children's Home Health and told her the situation and asked what steps I needed to take. She immediately took action and had a respiratory therapist over there to exchange all the needed equipment in a very timely manner.

One of my members had her son's nebulizer inadvertently picked up with some other equipment. This had happened 2 months prior. I called Diana to see if she could check on this for this mom. While they were unable to locate the nebulizer, she had a new one sent over to the member immediately. Diana is always kind, courteous, willing to help in any way she can. She is always prompt and goes out of her way to assist our members with her main focus being patient safety. I know that I can always count on her to assist and she puts her heart into her work and does everything for the child. She is truly an asset to Cook Children's Home Health.

TEAMS

Gastroenterology and Nutrition Clinic Team
The Gastroenterology (GI) and Nutrition team has gone above and beyond for their patients this year. Despite struggles with staff retention, formula recalls, and formula shortages significantly impacting their work, they worked as a cohesive team to provide the best quality of care to their patients and they did so with a positive attitude, strong work ethic, and a smile. The dedication this team has to their patients is inspiring. They often work extra hours to return phone calls to families struggling with obtaining formula or to help troubleshoot formula intolerance issues. For the GI nutrition team one thing is very clear - everything is for the patient.

There was an unprecedented amount of formula shortages between 2022 and 2023. This greatly impacted the patients seen by the gastroenterology clinic, as the clinic sees a large population of patients on tube feeds as a sole source of nutrition. Our GI nutrition team worked tirelessly with patients and durable medical equipment companies to get patients switched to in-stock formulas. Despite the circumstances, the team banded together during this challenging time to make sure all patients were getting fed and supplies were being ordered. This team worked tirelessly and successfully to fulfill the Cook Children's Promise.

Dodson Central Registration - Patient Access and QA Coordinators Team 
In March 2023, Cook Children’s opened and began the transition of the Dodson Specialty Clinics expansion, essentially doubling the size of the facility to enable a more integrated clinical footprint and enhanced experience for patient families. The success of that opening and subsequent transitions were anchored in the readiness of the Dodson Central Registration Team. Not only was Central Registration moving into a new space, they were the persistent first face of patient experience as they helped patients find clinics that were moving and relocating on a weekly basis for the next 8 weeks. This team pulled together and collaborated with other departments very effectively to ensure that patients felt heard, supported and helped in navigating a new building and new paths. And while patients were at times confused, and even frustrated with the changes created in Dodson, the Central Registration team was consistently gracious, professional and kind to every visitor. I spent many hours and days observing those interactions at the beginning, and every member of the team was approachable and caring in how they interact with our patient families.

Over the course of adding new clinics to Dodson, Central Registration has seen an increase of daily patient visits that was close to 700 and is now exceeding 900 patients due to the additions of new services that did not previously utilize Central Registration, CARE/Foster Team, Urology, Plastics, Complex Care, Multi-Disciplinary and Ear Nose and Throat clinics. Through highly optimized processes and solid teamwork, they have served this 20-25% increase in demand without missing a beat. They have utilized new tools and improved their processes to ensure that patients are always first and their experience with Cook Children’s is as positive as possible. Every day that I visit Dodson, I see patient families walk away from Central Registration with an expression of confidence that very clearly establishes a satisfactory visit and experience for those families. Dodson Central Registration is a resilient and highly effective group of leaders who thrive and serve our patient families every day, ensuring a consistent experience.

Prosper Medical Center Infusion Center Team
Trista Goodman and her team in the Infusion Center have taken on many challenges for the Prosper Medical Center. Since the infusion clinic volumes are so sporadic, the team has taken on several new roles to help support the medical center. Trista is actively involved in teaching our medical surgical nurses about our hematology and oncology patients and how to care for them safely. She is frequently on the floor assisting with our hematology and oncology patients and support the inpatient teams when her clinic volumes allow.

Trista's staff also support several departments within the medical center when they are not seeing patients in the clinic. Hannah Plack and Taylor Cox frequently work with the education department to round in the hospital assisting with staff education. They help on the inpatient units by assisting with lab draws and IV access, helping change linens or any other resourcing tasks. Martha Mercado also helps support the clinic side. Having such a small hospital and fewer resources, their support makes a huge impact on inpatient and the clinic. They are excellent examples of fulfilling other duties as assigned and are always happy to help. This team is an excellent example of the culture of collaboration that Cook Children's strives to create.

Cook Children’s Physician Network Clinical Operations Locums Tenens LVNs and MAs Team

The Clinical Operations team supports a group of 4 Licensed Vocational Nurses (LVN) and 3 Medical Assistants (MA) that serve our outlying pediatric primary care and neighborhood clinics. These groups work tirelessly everyday assisting clinics who are experiencing clinical staffing shortages. They show up day in and day out without complaining or skipping a beat.

Our LVN group consists of Danielle Hill, Ashley Manning, Nittal Patel, and Trakista Wilkerson. Everyday these ladies provide telephone triage support to our patients and families. They welcome each call with a warm connection and smile. They connect with the patients and families by listening actively to parents concerns and collaborating with providers to give that parent the best, evidence based practice advice. They elevate every call by ensuring that parents are heard, they understand their directives, and they have the information they need to reach back out to a clinic. Although these ladies are separated by miles and miles, I am amazed at how they continue to support one another as if they were sitting next to each other. We recently had an LVN out unexpected for a longer period of time. Not only did the others pick up more clinics to support their teammates’ absence, but they continued to support their teammate emotionally. 

Our Medical Assistant group consists of Diana Garcia, Laura Medina, and Jasmine Johnson. I cannot say enough about how hard these ladies work. They never know where they are going to be assigned throughout the Metroplex. They can travel from Celina to Granbury and anywhere in between. When covering clinics, sometimes they are the only clinical personnel there to support the provider and they consistently provide high quality, safe care to their patients. They each work over time to fulfill their promise to Cook Children’s and provide the best care to the children within our community. They treat each clinic as if it were their home clinic. Although they only spend a small amount of time with each family, they welcome each family with a smile and a warm greeting. They expertly connect with patients, families, and clinic staff by not rushing them through their appointments. They collaborate with their providers and families to help patients feel comfortable. Although these ladies typically have a single encounter with a patient and family, our MAs make sure parents know who to reach out to for questions and ensure their questions are answered before they leave.

Our LVNs cover anywhere from 200 – 300 providers a month. Each clinic has a different set of expectations and our LVNs continue to meet and exceed those expectations. They adjust to the needs of the clinic without hesitation. When we have an emergency request to fill, they are always willing to finish anything they have open and hop into that next assignment. They make it look easy but they are on the phone 8 hours a day providing support. 

Our MAs cover anywhere from 30 – 40 providers a month, sometimes traveling to two clinics in one day. When we have assignment changes the morning of, they are always willing to go where ever the need is. They continue to support clinics week after week until new employees can be hired. I am so grateful to get to work with all of these ladies and support them in their role.

CCPN Miller Neighborhood Health Center 
The Miller Neighborhood Health Center (NHC) is tucked into one of the highest needs communities in Fort Worth and serves some of our system's most vulnerable patients. Over the past several months, the Miller NHC has had a lot of staffing changes and at times, have had just one or two receptionists managing patient check in, scheduling, and front desk operations. It is not uncommon to get calls late in the day from clinic leaders regarding urgent patient needs making sure that every patient seen in clinic is completely taken care of before the end of the workday. I am consistently impressed by the Miller clinic's care for the psychosocial needs of patient families and how thoughtful they handle helping parents navigate barriers like transportation, work schedules, and lack of childcare. This clinic genuinely exemplifies the Cook Children's values of kindness and respect.

The Miller NHC is the go-to primary care provider for children that enroll in case management services with the system's Homeless Initiative program. For years, the Homeless Initiative and Neighborhood Centers have partnered to make sure that kids coming into the homeless shelter system in our community are able to quickly access a well-child visit. The Miller NHC leadership team Violet Sanchez, LaTrice Carter, and Brandi Covington along with several Miller NHC staff members and our Miller providers Dr. Karen Onyirioha and Dr. Jenny Urban have worked to create an almost seamless referral process for our colleagues with the Homeless Initiative to schedule appointments for the patients and families they serve. This process is the most streamlined and efficient it has ever been and it is largely thanks to the excellent communication, teamwork, and compassionate care of the Miller NHC staff. I hope they understand how their support of our children experiencing homelessness promotes safety, excellence and truly exemplifies our Cook Children's promise.

Urology Team 
The Urology Team is truly a team of Peak Performers. In the past 12 months, this team has weathered the loss of its Medical Director and cherished teammate, Dr. Blake Palmer while simultaneously assuming coverage of a catchment area previously staffed by 7 Urologists. At the end of June 2020, the remaining 3 Urologists covered 12 clinical locations, 4 surgery sites and were on call at 3 hospitals. 

Shortly thereafter, the Clinical Coordinator position became vacant and several key staff left the department for other positions, further magnifying the department’s challenges. The remaining staff reassigned key tasks and collaborated with other departments (Endocrinology, Genetics, and Pediatric Surgery) to ensure patient care was minimally impacted. Throughout this process, the department’s Practice Administrator and several members of the nursing team helped oversee the move from the 750 Building to both the Calmont Building and the Dodson Specialty Building. In addition, the Prosper clinic was brought on-line.

The Urology department successfully moved out of the 750 Building into the Calmont Building and Dodson Specialty Building. This was completed in several iterations with no negative impact to patient care. During the various moves the department balanced the increased workload taken on by providers, which in similarly increased in increased workload for the administrative and clinical teams. Thanks to their professionalism, teamwork, and resolve they were able to handle this without issue even while navigating their new workspaces. 

Of note, the Urology department’s Advanced Practice Provider (APP) helped assume a large portion of clinic responsibilities by becoming the primary providers for all 5 regional clinics and increasing the amount of diagnoses they could see in clinic. Without this support the Urology department would not have been able to provide care to our rural communities. 

It required one continuous team effort to keep operations going regardless of these obstacles. This department has truly shown itself to be a Peak Performer by sticking together and maintaining the Cook Children’s Promise. If there is a department whose work is indicative of making the Pinky Promise to its patients it is Urology, they are true Peak Performers.

CHIC Pilot Report Build Team 
The Comprehensive Health Homes for Integrated Care (CHIC) Kids Pilot Program was launched by the state to help improve services for families of children with medical complexity. It is designed to provide enhanced care coordination for children with complex health conditions through a collaborative partnership between a health home with demonstrated expertise in caring for children with medically complex conditions and the member’s Medicaid managed care organization (MCO). The CHIC Pilot Report Build team members all come from different Cook Children’s companies and departments making a team where there wasn’t one before to create Moments of Magic for these kids. These individuals came together very quickly to build a very crucial report related to the pilot that we became engaged in this past December. The pilot came with a very tight timeline of delivering metrics for the first quarter by the end of February 2023. These individuals initially had very little knowledge of the pilot model and little to no perspective of the workload and demands on the other individuals involved. Yet through regular communications and a collaborative spirit managed to work through the obstacles and ultimately developed a very complicated and comprehensive report on the interventions of a new service line. Talk about building the plane as you're flying it.

It’s impressive how flexible and respectful everyone was with one another through this process despite the tight timeline. I’m also impressed with how precise and comprehensive the report build was despite so many challenges we faced unlike other participating hospital systems that had the service line already in place. Additionally, the state changed the rules about what they wanted reported and how a couple of times during the December to February timeframe, making the need to be agile critical. This team really exemplifies our new slogan of connecting the dots, as it took people from various sectors of our organization to come together and analyze the problem, help identify the gaps, and then work together to come up with a solution. All of this while under a high pressured timeline. We are so proud of the team’s ability to allow us to deliver our first report accurately and on time. They very much deserve to be recognized for their efforts and know what an impact their work will have on the lives of those medically fragile children who are enrolled in this service line and beyond.

Accounts Payable
I am delighted to nominate the Accounts Payable (AP) team for the Peak Performer Team recognition. It would be very difficult for our department to do all we do without the assistance and support of everyone on the AP Team. The Foundation generates a high volume of mileage reports, expense reimbursement requests, Pcard reconciliations, and vendor invoices due to the nature of our fundraising, donor stewardship, and community engagement roles. It requires constant attention to detail and flexibility not to mention patience and many times, persistence. It’s a balancing act and a team effort to provide a level of customer service that promotes positive relationships with both current and new vendors within the parameters of our policies and procedures. When I reach out to any team member with a question, a request, or an issue, each one demonstrates an “I’m happy to help” attitude and is willing to stop their normal daily workflow to assist with whatever it is. When I need a vendor set up as soon as possible, Terri Lindsey and Joy McDonald are quick to process the request. If there are issues, they communicate those issues and we work together to reach a successful resolution. When I need to rush an invoice through the system for a speedy payment turnaround, Swan Khemmanivong, Tsitsi Mataruka, and Argelis Forsythe are quick to complete the processing and let me know it’s ready for approval. Lori Luce has been my go-to for many years and she has always been friendly and helpful, stopping her own work to provide assistance with a smile. Sheila Reese helps us trouble shoot invoice anomalies and both she and Jennifer Martell, as well as others, assist with re-classing charges that are miscoded. Neal Bayless provides direction and helps us find suitable compromises and solutions when our vendors make out of the box requests. For a little perspective, since the beginning of fiscal year 2023, the Foundation alone has had 20 new vendors set up, and over 180 invoices processed and paid. Additionally, over 100 expense reimbursement requests, multiple Pcard reconciliations and innumerable invoices submitted by others on our behalf have been expertly managed by our Accounts Payable team. They have done all this while juggling their normal workload, the added workload from our new Prosper facility, and training for the Workday migration. The whole AP team goes above and beyond, time after time, to support us and I am so very grateful for each one of them and for their pivotal partnership.

Cohort 36 - Nurse Residency Team
As we emerge from the COVID pandemic, I imagine many of us have reflected upon our experiences. There’s no doubt we were all impacted in some way and our experiences varied in unique ways. Many courageously entered health care training programs, responding to a call to care for others, not imagining the challenges that would lie ahead. Cohort 36 of our Nurse Residency Program was a group that answered the call to care. As hospitals and other health care centers limited access to facilities, they did not experience clinical training in the traditional manner. Instead, much of their education was conducted via simulation experiences and case studies. They excitedly entered our Nurse Residency, knowing they would experience a stellar transition to practice program led by three residency managers who truly value them. The cohort anticipated several weeks of classroom and clinical training as they worked alongside experienced nurses during their transition to professional practice. They could not imagine that the pandemic would throw another curve ball their way. As patient volumes and acuities rapidly escalated, Cook Children’s desperately needed more beds and nurses to care for patients. Cohort 36 was asked to staff 10 beds on 5 South Tower, as well as additional capacity in our NICU. This group of nurses had not completed a full orientation. They were nervous as they questioned their readiness to practice and critical thinking capabilities. They wondered if they were comfortable with technology and whether they could handle the workload. Most of all, they were concerned about keeping our patients safe. Nevertheless, they accepted the challenge and did a great job caring for our patients.

Strong teams often have strong captains. As managers of the Nurse Residency, Amy Kotter, Abby Rychlik, and Hannah McNearney were ready to lead. Additionally, Melissa Ross was a tremendous coach as well. They listened to the concerns of our new nurses and encouraged them. If a resident felt a bit on the low side, they continued to listen, offered reassurance, and took measures to boost team morale. The managers and educators maintained expectations for high patient care standards. They collaborated with other educators to provide practice time for clinical skills prior to residents accepting the first patient care assignments. When the “game days” arrived, these fearless leaders showed up on the units as well, provided patient care, and kept the residents focused on their abilities and attitudes. It’s worth mentioning that none of these leaders had ever managed a patient care unit. There was much they did not know, and they learned it on the fly while supporting safe nursing practice by our newest nursing colleagues.

Cohort 36 graduated from the Nurse Residency on June 26, 2023. Their experience was unlike any other nurse residency cohort in our history, and it’s one that they will never forget. I hope this nomination encourages them to reflect on their successes, how they made a difference for many families, and how they emerged as stronger nurses when it probably felt as if they were walking through a fire during their entire nursing education journey. Most of all, I want to say that I am proud of them and their leaders. Words cannot express the gratitude I feel for this group of Peak Performers.

Child Study Center Developmental Pediatrics and Psychology - Client Services Team

Compassion and connection are at the top of the list when it comes to the Child Study Center’s Developmental Pediatrics and Psychology Client Services Team. I have always been proud of the fact that many families will recognize our front desk staff by name on Press Ganey surveys. They are routinely recognized for their friendliness with families over the phone and in-person. A family contacted me to recognize our team directly and she also happens to work in a healthcare related field. She stated that out of all the front desk staff she has ever encountered, our staff were the most compassionate and understanding that she had encountered. She always had the confidence that our staff could relay concerns appropriately to management and our physician staff.

Over the last two years this team has worked tirelessly to find appointments for families needing to establish care with new physicians after changes in our physician workforce. When we unfortunately lost two of our physicians to moves, this team had to find new appointments for over 800 patients in a practice that is frequently booked 4-6 months out. The team worked with management and the remaining physicians to triage patients who needed to be seen more urgently and communicated with physician staff whenever template changes needed to be changed. They did all of this while still keeping up with the day to day tasks in our department. Their dedication to collaboration and efficiency is what makes this group a Peak Performer Team.