On her last day with HCA Houston Healthcare, Melania Hull cried. She got emotional as she thought about how much she loved being at The Woman’s Hospital of Texas, where she had cared for the youngest and most vulnerable patients as a pediatric intensive care unit nurse for five years. She thought about how much she would miss her colleagues and the “family” she made along the way. Perhaps most importantly, she thought about whether a shorter commute and a pay bump with another hospital was really worth giving it all up for.
Almost immediately, she learned that it wasn’t.
“It just wasn’t a warm place. It wasn’t the same,” Melania says.
Fortunately, Melania kept in contact with her former manager and was able to return to The Woman’s Hospital of Texas just a few short months after leaving. She now drives 45 minutes into work every day, but says it’s a small price to pay for her happiness.
“I just think HCA Healthcare is a really good company to work for. I’m so happy to be here and I’ll probably never leave again,” she says.
Melania’s sentiments are echoed among many nurses who have left HCA Houston Healthcare in search of greener pastures, only to find that other hospital systems do not compare. It took Amber Bratton only a week to realize she wasn’t where she belonged.
“As soon as I stepped onto the unit floor I knew—this is not my home,” Amber says.
For Amber, “home” is HCA Houston Healthcare Southeast, where she feels valued and supported. Moreover, it’s where she has a voice to support others. As a labor and delivery director, Amber is responsible for managing the care of hundreds of Houston mothers. She’s also dedicated to helping her colleagues get through some of the toughest times of their careers.
“The managers—we work together and try to be creative. We’re always thinking of ways we can support and encourage our teams,” she says.
At HCA Houston Healthcare, fostering a culture of compassion is at the forefront of everything the health system does. It’s why Marie Dominguez also decided to invest her talent and future with HCA Houston Healthcare after a short stint away.
Similar to Melania, Marie explored an opportunity with another hospital that paid more hourly. But after a few weeks on the new job, she was reminded that, despite being in a healthcare setting, not everyone has the innate capability to care.
“I realized the people there were different,” she says. “HCA Healthcare is more like a family. We look out for each other. At the other hospital I felt it was more like, ‘you’re on your own. That’s your job, that’s not my job’. And at HCA no one ever says that. We all help each other.”
These days Marie is helping in every way that she can. The pre-operative nurse at HCA Houston Healthcare Southeast regularly volunteers to offer relief to nurses caring for patients in the post anesthesia care unit. Even on her days off, she will often check-in with her team to see if the unit needs her help.
“We’re short staff, but I know they appreciate me,” she says. “Both my colleagues and patients recognize my hard work and it means a lot. It gives me a sense of accomplishment.”
Gaining a sense of accomplishment through bedside care is something Kanisha Fretty can relate to. She left The Woman’s Hospital of Texas as a postpartum nurse to teach first-time mothers how to care for their newborns. But after three years, she realized she missed the connections and experiences that come with hands-on patient care.
Kanisha is now back at The Woman’s Hospital of Texas—where her nursing career in women services began—and hopes her story speaks to those who are considering returning to the HCA Houston Healthcare family of hospitals.
“Do what’s best for you and for your individual situation,” she says. “But if you really want to come back, come back. You’re always welcomed here.”