This holiday season, we highlight team members who ensure patients and their caregivers can always count on Arkansas Children’s high standards of care regardless of the day, night or holiday.

Working on Thanksgiving carried a special significance for Arkansas Children's Hospital Patient Transporter Hailey Becker. Becker said, "Being able to send kids home on Thanksgiving that way they can spend time with their families and in the comfort of their own home - I know that's special to a lot of people, and it feels good being a part of that."

In many ways, Thanksgiving was a typical day for Becker. Her shift on the holiday began at 7 a.m. with a focus on preparation. "The first thing I do is make sure we have equipment ready to use, such as wheelchairs and wagons and make sure they are clean."

At Arkansas Children's Hospital (ACH) patient transporters pull patients in a little red wagon, push them in a wheelchair, or walk with them depending on the patient's needs and abilities. Hospital hallways can feel like a maze. Becker's softspoken demeanor brings a reliable calmness to times that can be stressful for children and their parents or caregivers by helping them navigate to an X-ray or ultrasound room.

The halls of ACH were much quieter than usual on Thanksgiving. Many of the hospital's clinics were closed for appointments. However, the emergency department is always open, and the hospital is staffed for pediatric patients receiving inpatient care. "We didn't have as many people as we normally would, but we were pretty busy," Becker said. "We all work as a team to help keep things flowing."

Efficiency and clear communication are essential for patient transporters, but the most crucial personality trait for team members is compassion. All Arkansas Children's team members want patients to feel as cared for in the hallways as they do in the exam rooms. Patient transporters play a significant role in delivering hospital-wide care.

During Becker's shift (7 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.) on Thanksgiving, the patient transport team assisted 15 patients. Becker said the team is responsible for more than the patients and caregivers.

"We move all sorts of things other than patients. We supply and remove materials, such as beds, cribs, formula, bottles, breast pumps, bedside commodes, stretchers, wheelchairs, wagons, and bili beds and lamps. After we remove beds and cribs, we take them to our storage and cover them with plastic to help ensure they stay clean."

During a typical day, the patient transport team fulfills an average of 220 requests from departments across the hospital. Becker and five other transporters respond to the requests during the day shift. A separate team takes over during the evening shift. Regardless of when they're working, maintaining the cleanliness of the materials is a priority for the entire team because it's an important factor in patient safety.

"No two days are the same," Becker said. However, focusing on delivering a quality patient experience happens every day. This year, Compass Healthcare recognized the Arkansas Children's Hospital patient transportation team with a National Account of the Year Award.

During Becker’s shift on Thanksgiving, seven of the 15 patients assisted by patient transporters were discharged, which means they could spend at least a portion of the family-centered holiday in their home or surrounded by loved ones.

At Arkansas Children's, we champion children with red wagons and wheelchairs and with clean beds and caring escorts. We champion children on Thanksgiving, Christmas and every other day of the year.

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