Cook Children's Employees Rally Together to Work Through Devastating Winter Storm
Throughout the historic and devastating winter storm in Texas, we’ve been able to witness moments of sacrifice, hope, compassion and togetherness. While we know so many families are still struggling, including some of our own, we wanted to share a thread of gratefulness for our employees and those who supported Cook Children’s this week.
In anticipation of the weather, we opened “Hotel Cook” to provide a safe and secure place for staff to sleep and avoid dangerous travel to and from work. Approximately 500 employees spent multiple nights at our medical center so they could care for patients, prepare warm meals and hot coffee, salt streets and sidewalks, address all the weather impacts and so much more.
Please scroll through to see photos and read how together, we lived up to our Promise of providing exceptional care for our patients, families and each other. #WeAreCookChildrens #TexansHelpingTexans
A team of respiratory therapists weathered the storm all week in the ‘Hotel Cook’ to take care of patients and families.
An anonymous angel in the Emergency Department delivered blankets to the information desk staff on Monday. That same day, the outside entrance doors broke due to the below freezing temperatures.The angel made sure the information desk staff had warm blankets to wrap up with and delivered new ones every hour! “This was such an unexpected, but delightful service, it made sitting inside of a broken door actually comfortable! Thank you, ED Angel, who looked after fellow co-workers outside your own department.”- Family Services Staff
Joelle Garcia, a pharmacy tech at Cook Children’s Medical Center, was recognized by her coworkers on Tuesday for going above and beyond her role. “Joelle took time out of her work day to wipe down, organize and mop our break room in the NICU,” they said. “The hospital at large has been working on minimal staffing and Joelle saw a need and made our break room tidy and clean for her fellow workmates to have lunch.” Thank you Joelle!
Valerie Harkom is a team lead in Registration who turned her director’s office into her makeshift bedroom for three days. Knowing the grave possibility of staff shortages, Valerie said “stepping up to the plate during these unprecedented time was a no-brainer” and she is so proud of her team for working so hard this week!
Kate Ondras is a radiographer at Cook Children’s Medical Center. Before “checking out” of the room she slept in, Kate prepared it for her coworker who was staying there next. Kate put fresh sheets on the bed, and shared her pillow and blanket for more comfort. She also went the extra mile to put freshly folded animal towels in her room!
Our amazing campus facilities team worked all week to ensure sidewalks, roads and parking lots were cleared and as safe as possible for employees and patient families.
“The overnight accommodations for employees have been a lifesaver for our staff. Thank you to everyone involved in making ‘Hotel Cook’ happen,” – Theresa Nash, director, Food & Nutrition Services.
Valerie Gibbs, pictured far left, is the director of Perioperative Services. She shared that a generous family in the community catered a home-cooked meal to almost 200 perioperative and support staff members this week. She shared that the parents of CRNA manager, Donna Hastings, asked how they could help and sprang into action. They cooked, packaged and delivered a hot food feast!
Our Child Life team enjoyed a short play time in the snow with patients before it got too cold!
Over Valentine's Day weekend, before the snow and ice fell, Cook Children's employees stood in the freezing cold to distribute COVID-19 vaccines in our drive-thru clinic. One parent told a team meber, "There is nothing you guys won't do for our children."
Leaders from the Cook Children's Physician Network were standing in the cold, alongside those who were giving vaccines. "They didn't watch from the building - they were out in it the whole time," an employee said. "They exemplify what it means to be a leader. They weren’t willing to ask of their staff something they themselves couldn’t or wouldn’t do. Veronica registered patients and directed traffic while Cathy checked on patients and gave shots right along with the rest of us."