A window into two worlds

Mark Wallace and NICU nurse Becky White. Becky shadowed Mark for a day to get a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the administrative side of Texas Children's.

Mark Wallace and NICU nurse Becky White. Becky shadowed Mark for a day to get a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the administrative side of Texas Children's.

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.

Click here to read Becky’s blog post on Voice of Nursing about her experience.

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.

 

Mark H. Wallace

Category: Embrace Freedom, Leadership, Partnership

About Mark A. Wallace

Mark A. Wallace was appointed President and Chief Executive Officer of Texas Children’s Hospital in 1989 at the age of 36. Under his leadership, Texas Children’s has grown into one of the nation’s largest and most comprehensive pediatric and women’s health care organizations, garnering more than 4.3 million patient encounters annually and achieving international recognition as a referral center.

7 thoughts on “A window into two worlds

  1. Kim Holt says:

    And this is just ONE of MANY examples demonstrating what an awesome leader you are! Thank you for being the leader you are Mark!
    Kim Holt

  2. Rebecca Schiff says:

    What an incredible story! It truly demonstrates why we are all here and how united we are to provide the best care for all our kids! Its a reaffirmation why TCH is the best place to work. Thank you Mr. Wallace and Becky for providing us the insight into how, as a team, we share this mission.

  3. Jackie Ward says:

    This is an incredible story Becky and it is an honor and privilege to work in an organization where the CEO is engaged and takes time to understand the frontline team members ideas and concerns. #ONEAMAZINGTEAM

  4. Mae says:

    We were seating at the 3rd floor cafeteria one day and i was with the whole group of new interns. Suddenly i saw you walking towards the bridge and so i proudly told my fellow interns that “That cool guy walking …is our CEO”. It is so impressive to have a CEO who is very visible and very much connected with everyone. Proud to be part of the #ONEAMAZINGTEAM.

  5. Janet Winebar says:

    What at great story! This story defines what leadership looks like. From the time I met my new CEO, I knew he was special. I am constantly amazed, like Rebecca was, that he is able to have such a personal connection with his many, many employees. Celebrating one year here and very proud to be a TCH employee.

  6. Shannon McCord says:

    Thanks for sharing this wonderful story. One of the things I love most about TCH is working with so many passionate, caring, talented people across our organization. I couldn’t agree more that “everyone’s perspective has value” and this story really demonstrates that belief. Thank you Mark and Becky for modeling the way!

  7. Judy Swanson says:

    What a wonderful story about two amazing people that are so passionate about our mission and the children and families we are so fortunate to care for here at TCH. You both are an inspiration to us all! Thanks to you both!

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