The potential to make a difference

April 28, 2016 | (21) Comments

As we begin our days, whether at 7 a.m. or 7 p.m. in the medical center, at the West Campus or across the community, we arrive with the potential to impact the lives of thousands of children and women in our care.

Because we engage with so many families each day, we can sometimes take for granted how our daily interactions impact our patients’ and families’ lives. How we work and how we engage with our families today may affect a memory that lasts a lifetime.

Employees like Donald Wilkins take that notion to heart. Donald works with families in Ambulatory Surgery to keep them updated about their children’s status during surgery. For anxious parents awaiting a child’s status and needing a bit of reassurance, Donald is one of the most important people they’ll interact with at Texas Children’s. Even more important is Donald’s role in making sure the patient feels comfortable and confident about the procedure they’re about to undergo. On a recent “Caught You Caring” card, one patient wrote:

“Throughout my stay, one person has shined like a bright star in my eyes. I met him in the surgery waiting room – his name is Donald. He is an amazing person and has a one-of-a-kind personality. He made me very comfortable and made me feel safe pre-surgery. He checked on me often and made sure I felt ok. He came to visit me today and made me very happy. People like him make me want to go into the medical field and help children with chronic illnesses like me feel better. Thank you for all you do Donald. God bless you.”

This week, as we celebrate Patient Experience Week with hospitals nationwide, it’s important to remember that each of us has the potential to make a similar impact every day. And it’s important. Research even shows that when a family has a great experience, they listen more intently to their medical instructions and follow doctors’ orders more thoroughly. They’re readmitted to the hospital less often and have fewer return visits with the doctor when they feel comfortable enough to ask the right questions the first time around. It makes sense: how we make our families feel is an essential part of caregiving.

That’s why ensuring positive patient experiences isn’t something that’s just nice to do – it’s our priority at Texas Children’s, and really, it’s our promise to our families. Our patients know they can count on us for the best medical care. We want them to expect and receive an exceptional experience at Texas Children’s as well.

To this end, we are making concerted efforts to elevate the patient experience throughout our system. For instance, our leaders and their teams are conducting “intentional rounding” at the hospitals. In the Emergency Center, we changed our notification system to help families understand our process and the reason behind wait times. And in our clinics and practices, we armed employees with tips and ideas for creating positive memories with patients every day.

These are just some of the ways we are demonstrating our dedication to exceptional patient experiences for every patient and every family who comes to any part of Texas Children’s. We will continue to ask our patients about their experiences and listen for ways to improve.

So as you arrive tomorrow morning or evening, at one of our hospitals, clinics, practices or any Texas Children’s location, think about the potential in you to create an even better experience for everyone you encounter that day. Even if your role doesn’t involve direct patient care, you have the ability to encourage or support colleagues. That promotes team work and strengthens our sense of culture, and that absolutely impacts patient experience down the line.

It all matters to every single family we touch. So arrive each day, ready and excited for the wonderful opportunity you might have at any moment to make a difference.

21 Responses to “The potential to make a difference”

  1. Pam Tenney

    Donald is one of the finest people I have ever known. Watching Donald and his commitment to our patients keeps all of us in the operating room motivated to do our very best for our patients. Thank you Donald!

  2. Matt Girotto

    Mark, thank you for this great blog and reinforcing the obligation we all have to the patient experience. Highlighting Donald, you have drawn attention to one of the hidden gems of Texas Children’s, not only for the patients, but for those of us that have the privilege of seeing him work day in and day out. His smile, compassion and energy are infectious. Donald, thank you for being you and making us all better. Mark, thank you for recognizing Donald!

  3. Ramona Benson

    I have worked with Donald for about 20 years, he has always exemplified excellent with his patients, their families and his co-workers. It warms my heart to see that his good deeds do not go unnoticed. Thank You Donald for your Commitment to Excellence.

  4. Lindsey Fox

    I had the privilege of witnessing Donald provide updates to a patient family while their daughter was in surgery earlier this week. The care and compassion he exuded while delivering important news during a very stressful time was remarkable. I am thrilled to read Donald’s positive attitude and care for our patients and their families is recognized by so many.

  5. Rebecca White

    The way we make our families feel when they are here (and when they are reaching out to us from the community) is the essence of how we care for them. Noticing the details of their experience and what is important to them- the care and attention from a knowing person, so they feel safe and secure during an uncertain time- creates lasting impressions and residual feelings long after the family leaves our place, and could determine whether they come back or not. Recognizing that what we call “experience” is actually our patient’s lives, every step we take to minimize wait times, ensure smooth pre-surgical registration times, and try to be attentive to their needs, shows our patients that we value their time and appreciate being chosen to care for them. Thank you, Donald, for being a beautiful example of the greatness at Texas Children’s Hospital! And, once again, thank you, Mark, for keeping the vision in the forefront of what we do.

  6. Colonel Ronald Wilkins

    Donald it is evident your hard work pays off. Mother taught us well in treating everyone the same no matter where they are from. I am very proud of you having that special gift to share and care. Congratulations.

    Lieutenant Colonel Ronald R Wilkins
    US Army, National Guard Bureau
    Chief, Plans and Policy

    • Debra Batiste

      Colonel Ronald…we’ve never met, but I’ve known your Brother for 25+ Years and he’s an
      exceptional Man. I concur that your Mother raised Boys to become Men and we can all
      appreciate that!

  7. LaQuita Inman

    Over the years, while passing through the 3rd floor surgery corridor, I’ve seen Mr. Wilkins many times. He always acknowledges the presence of others with a greeting and a smile. I’ve witnessed him interact with patients and their families and have (un)fortunately had to personally interact with him from the patient/family position on a few occasions and let’s just say, he sets the benchmark for the level of service we all should provide and how we all should interact with patients, families, and fellow staff members. He is definitely worthy of the recognition.

  8. Yolanda Walls

    I have seen Donald in passing for many years and have not known his name. I am so happy to know that he is receiving this well deserved recognition. I echo everything that has been said in the previous posts. Donald’s and my interaction has mostly been in passing while in the work setting. He ALWAYS acknowledges whether it’s with words , a head nod or even just a glance . However there was one occasion that I’m sure he doesn’t even remember when one of my family members had surgery and I was frantically looking for that family member who was hospitalized in St. Luke’s . I ran into Donald in the hospital corridor and merely on face recognition he stepped right in ,helping me through the check points and escorted me to my family member’s stretcher in the recovery area. I know exactly how the author of the “Caught You Caring” card must have felt because in that moment I felt the same way. Thank you Donald for the outstanding customer service you provide to the patients and to your co-workers.

  9. Debra Batiste

    Having known and worked with Donald for 25+Years, I can say it’s been a pleasure. Don
    exemplifies “Service With Heart”. Kudos and Keep Up The Great Work!!!

  10. Elizabeth Corona

    I met Mr. Wilkins in OR when I started as a new employee in Radiology, he made a great impression on me, and just made me feel so welcome even if I was new. He is always smiling and willing to help anyone. I always smile when I see him, he has that gift. I know for a fact that he is a super star to our patients and to us at the hospital. It’s always an honor working with employees that always goes above and beyond. Thank You and Congratulations!

  11. Nancy Berges

    I have known Donald for quiet sometime now, although I do not work in the same dept. anymore, we still talk & see each other from time to time. He always asked how I’m doing including my daughter & spouse. Donald is an amazing individual who always have that delightful smile & attitude that makes everyone feels “warm” & happy. He is a truly compassionate person, not only with our patients & their families, but also with his co-workers!

  12. Stella Speed

    i am now an employee but I do remember & have to agree that Donald is an awesome person because he truly cares about what he does. I can remember like it was yesterday when my son was a patient & meeting Donald was a true God send. He made both my husband & I feel good about the surgery our son underwent. Even today when I see Donald in the halls I just have to get a hug. Blessing & Much Love – Keep doing what you do.

  13. Theresa Aldape, LMSW

    Every time I see Donald, I think of the time my family was in a car accident and my niece came to TCH from Harlingen, Texas via the AWESOME Kangaroo Crew. Donald was there with her when I walked into to see her and I was so reassured that Clarissa was going to just fine. To this day, when I run into him in the halls we talk about Clarissa and her sister Christine. Clarissa is now in Residency at UTMB and Christine works here and will be leaving in July to Oklahoma University to become a physician’s assistant.
    Donald provides excellent care but most of all a sense of calmness, love and caring only very special people have the pleasure of sharing with others, especially children and adolescents. Thank you Donald for being there for my family.
    You are “Texas Children’s Hospital”.

  14. Janet Winebar

    Perioperative Services, the Dept of Surgery and TCH are very lucky to have Donald as a part of the team. He embodies “leading tirelessly” in his pursuit of excellence of our surgical patients experience. Thank you Donald!
    It is amazing to work at a such a large organization that still takes time to recognize and highlight the individuals that make us special. Thank you Mark for leading by example!

  15. Monica Aguilera

    I am an employee at Texas Children’s and I have seen how Donald acts with patients as I’m passing by and the interaction I have to say is spot on with all other comments. 2 years ago I was at St Lukes as a patient coming out of surgery and Mr.Donald was there to wheel me back to my room. Even though I was groggy from the anesthesia I had questions/concerns and Mr.Donald answered them as best he could but did let the charge nurse know the rest. Till this day Donald in passing always asks how everything is going. Thank you Donald for your compassion and kind smile always! He is Service with Heart.

  16. Tanya Billings

    I am now at the West Campus but I worked at the Medical center Campus for years and although I didn’t know him personally, I too witnessed his engaging and approachable personality. I remember thinking that I couldn’t believe how warm and genuine he is to both patients and co-workers. He always have a positive and upbeat attitude.
    Donald is an excellent example of a dedicated and committed employee of Texas Children’s Hospital.

  17. Alma Martinez

    Thank you, Donald! You are definitely a beam of light to the patients and families at TCH. I have experienced your compassion and empathy as a patient’s mother and colleague. Congratulations!!!!

  18. Erin Fenton

    I have known Donald since the late 1980’s. He is such a great person and wonderful co-worker. He ALWAYS has a positive , upbeat attitude, and I loved working with him. And he does an incredible ” Donald Duck” impression. Congratulations Donald!

  19. Angela Jones

    I’ve not worked with Mr. Wilkins but have observed him over the years here at Texas Children’s Childrens. Oftentimes when I’ve passed by the holding area I’ve caught glimpses of him actively and respectively engaged with patients and families. When I’ve seen him in the hallways either encountering visitors, patients, or co-workers his positive and energetic presence is notable. He indeed is one of TCH’s brightest ‘stars’!

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