14:36 PM

Team Peak Performers: Disaster Relief Nurses Onboarding Team


The Disaster Relief Nurses Onboarding Team are Team Peak Performer recipients for the second quarter of 2022 (January-March). Below is their nomination letter.

Team Peak PerformerOne of the things I love most about working at Cook Children’s is that employees throughout the organization are committed to taking care of our patients. During the height of the pandemic in both 2021 and 2022, we desperately needed nurses to help supplement staffing. Therefore, we took advantage of opportunities to utilize state-funded disaster relief nurses. It seemed that we were often notified at night or on weekends when the nurses would arrive and this created the need to urgently scramble to plan onboarding and a mini-orientation. I’d like to highlight how members of various departments went above and beyond to ensure that much-needed help was available STAT.

Mekka Livingston and Jackie Morgan were often the first to greet new arrivals. Although we communicated plans to the staffing agency, the nurses often arrived late or at the wrong location. Many times, Mekka, Jackie, Elaina Warren, and Lisa Nichols waited or searched the campus for the nurses. It didn’t matter if it was cold, rainy, or extremely hot, they were ready to go on patrol! Occupational Health colleagues arrived early to conduct screening and mask training. Bridget Page and Karen Mahoney took late-night phone calls and emails to ensure help was available before their department’s normal operating hours and on weekends. Sandra Daniel was consistently friendly and welcoming to our new colleagues. Randal Price was inundated with requests for mask fits and training. One day, he even conducted group training sessions in the Occupational Health waiting area. Michelle Skillin in badging was ready to help and she came in early when we needed her.

After onboarding, nurses needed computer training that couldn’t happen without assistance from Natalie Kinnee in our IT security department. She ensured urgent access by creating user ID’s and access to email accounts. She worked with members of OPD to ensure business associate agreements were complete. Once she worked her magic, our computer trainers could roll with urgent requests for email, Ulearn, and Epic test out options. Kennedy Norman, Pam Rivers, and Jennifer Kimberling often rearranged their schedules to meet the need. Next, the POCT department jumped in to help. Many probably do not realize that POCT is a small department and they cover so much area. Nikki Esco, Keri Bishop, and Martha Ruepprich rearranged schedules and taught POCT in the classroom setting as well as in the POCT department. Due to social distancing requirements, they sometimes had to repeat sessions. In the meanwhile, Salvador Cruz and his team did the same thing. Much appreciation goes to Sal, Rebecca Vega, and Leo Vasquez for their quick willingness to provide PAPR fits and training to the new nurses. Additionally, Elondria Wilson granted quick access to Omnicell machines once disaster relief staff passed a medication test.

Cook Children’s is committed to patient safety and Zero Harm. For this reason, the clinical education team designed a mini-patient care orientation, validated skills, and created unit-specific training that fit into very limited onboarding terms of the disaster relief nurses’ contracts. A huge shout out goes to Jenny Hathaway, Leigh Anne Campbell, Katy Walthall, Liz Barriteau, Callie Stedman, Melissa Lubahn, Jenn Vaughan, Roberta Miller, Susan Hillin, Jennifer Stephen, Shelley Fitzgerald, Lizzie Marshall, Melissa Ross, Nicole Slicker, Sarah Smith, Alaina Strain, and Barbara Deleon. These team members were already working many hours per week to support the volume of regular orienteers and unit-based initiatives. Many worked their regular hours plus five weekends in a row to support onboarding and training of the disaster relief nurses.

If you are caring for patients, it’s important to document so we also needed the help of our Epic trainers as well. Marion Brantley, Yanira Castillo, and Gregory Lewis patiently scheduled on-the-spot Epic training and worked weekends and late hours as well.

My desire is that this nomination serves as evidence that these team members are seen, valued, and appreciated. The relationships we have with each other truly matter and I am truly thankful for this marvelous example of interdepartmental collaboration.