• Article
  • October 22, 2020

Leadership Tip: The Importance of Paying it Forward

Now more than ever, children's hospital teams across the country continue to connect, collaborate and support each other. 

By Barbara Cometti, M.S.N., RN, CNN

As a participant in the Standardized Care to Improve Outcomes in Pediatric End Stage Renal Disease (SCOPE) Collaborative, I have always felt the concept of the collaborative was one of sharing best practices with each other to bring forth the best outcomes for our patients. Together, we make a difference in the lives of patients; it is the very concept of paying it forward. We share our insights, observations, strategies and ideas hoping what we do will set in motion a chain reaction that transforms the care we provide. That in turn turns affects change.

During this challenging time and in the spirit of paying it forward, I wanted to find a way to connect with colleagues across the country to show we're all in this together. I asked other leaders participating in SCOPE for suggestions on how to begin and where to start, and the idea of a lunch chain began to emerge.

The first unit we picked was UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital in San Francisco. I connected with colleagues there, talked with the nursing supervisor about the plan, and asked her what restaurant she thought her team would like so I could buy them lunch. She called in the order, and the ball started rolling. I asked that they pay it forward by choosing the next group and continuing the plan. The UCSF Benioff Children's team then bought lunch for a team at Cohen Children's Medical Center in New Hyde Park, New York, and from there it continues to spread across the country.

Paying it forward reminds us the world is full of kindness, generosity and good will. It prompts us to be kinder and compassionate to others, especially during times like this when the world is dealing with a pandemic that evokes fear and despair. It encourages others in our workplaces to look beyond the daily drills and contribute to a better work environment.

When people sit down for a meal together, we hopefully forget about the problems that beset us in the workplace and world. A small gesture can bring us together in solidarity and make our world just a bit brighter. We in turn pass this brightness on to our patients and team members. One small gesture can change the world. Keep paying it forward.

Barbara Cometti is a nursing operations manager at Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children in Orlando, Florida. Send questions or comments.