I love that we at Texas Children’s are not afraid to speak up when change needs to happen. Many of you email me your ideas about how we can improve patient care, operate more efficiently and ensure our patients and their families have the best possible experience while they are here.
I received one such email from Becky White, one of our phenomenal nurses in the NICU. She wrote me in response to one of my blog posts, “In their shoes.” The post was about customer service and what all of us can do every day to ensure patients and their families have an exceptional experience at Texas Children’s each time they walk through our doors. Becky shared her experiences with me as a parent of a Texas Children’s patient and as a NICU nurse.
I was incredibly touched by her email and, subsequently, invited her to my office to hear more about her story, her perceptions and her ideas on how we can make Texas Children’s even better from both a quality of care and quality of service perspective. Becky and her nursing manager, Rebecca Schiff, a mother of twins who had spent some time in our NICU, both had me sitting on the edge of my seat, eager to hear more about their personal and professional experiences and their insights.
Before leaving my office, Becky told me how surprised she was that I took the time to respond to her email. She didn’t think CEOs did that sort of thing, but as you all know, I try to respond to every email I receive. And when Becky asked to shadow me for one day so she could see firsthand what our administrative leadership team does behind the scenes, I graciously accepted and invited her to attend a day of leadership forum meetings.
Surrounded by leaders from different areas of the organization – like Marketing/PR, Human Resources, Finance, Governance, and Quality and Patient Safety – Becky was thoroughly impressed by how hard everyone works, the meticulous collaboration and communication involved and the diverse skill sets our leaders bring to the table to help each of us advance our mission. She said she realized how much our leadership team is working on behalf of our frontline staff to meet their needs so they can fulfill the health care needs of our patients. Essentially, Becky got a glimpse of Texas Children’s that our nurses and many of our frontline staff don’t normally see.
A month or so later, I had the opportunity to experience Becky’s world in the NICU. Despite the sound of sporadic, beeping alarms, the NICU environment was quiet and serene, almost like a chapel at times. As I walked through the unit, one thing captured my attention: no matter where I turned, our nurses were working seamlessly as a team, making certain our tiniest, most fragile patients were taken care of. Everyone was respectful of his or her colleagues, and everyone was very sensitive to the families’ needs.
During my visit, I met with our NICU leadership team, and I appreciated their openness and candor as they shared their areas of concern and the collaborative improvements they’ve made to significantly reduce our CLABSI rates in the NICU, among other things. Seeing how hard they work and how they’re giving everything they’ve got to care for these sick babies and their families was inspiring.
There was a wonderful mutual respect and appreciation between Becky and me. She looked at the administrative side of things, and she said “Wow. Everybody is giving it their best to make Texas Children’s an exceptional place for patients and their families to receive the best quality of care and service.” Then I immersed myself in her world, and I felt that same appreciation and admiration.
My experience with Becky was just another reminder that, whether we work at the bedside or behind the scenes, everyone matters, and everyone’s perspective has value. Everyone’s work is essential at Texas Children’s, and when we all share the same intense passion for the mission, we drive it forward.