Despite the recent snow and ice storms in Atlanta that left countless stranded throughout the city, employees of WellStar Kennestone Hospital and WellStar Cobb Hospital, who had children enrolled in the hospitals’ on-site child care centers, were at work, continuing to focus on patient care. The recent storms demonstrated the true benefit of a supportive workplace that is prepared for when it needs its employees most.
Bright Horizons manages both The Learning Center at WellStar Kennestone and The Children’s Nest at WellStar Cobb, and on typical days these centers provide employees with peace of mind that their children are safe and well-cared for in a high quality child care program while they are at work.
WellStar’s inclement weather policy went into effect back in January and again at 3 a.m. Wednesday, February 12. This means that hospital employees are asked to stay overnight due to the storm and bring belongings until weather conditions stabilize. In January, both centers stayed open around the clock, allowing children and center staff to stay safely in the center and off the roads. Knowing that their children were right nearby and that they, or their family members, did not have to travel in the storm, allowed hospital employees to care for patients without worrying about their families’ safety.
On February 12, three dedicated employees reported to The Learning Center at 5:30 a.m. to prepare for families. After it was confirmed that the employees who had previously planned to bring their children to the center were unable to make it for various reasons, they remained open until 9 a.m. in case any other families were attempting to get there.
“This experience demonstrated the true value of our partnership with Bright Horizons,” said David Anderson, executive vice president of human resources, organizational learning & chief compliance officer of WellStar. “During a snowstorm or any other significant weather event just as we experienced last week, our employees’ first instinct is to care for our patients but in these times our employees – doctors, nurse and other staff – need to be supported as well, and the child care centers will do just that. We got wonderful feedback from our employees who were able to focus on their jobs knowing that their children were safe and comfortable.”
WellStar employees supported the center and the teachers throughout the night. They brought food from the hospital cafeteria, along with toiletries and blankets. They also brought over supplies from the hospital for children who did not have enough diapers or formula from home to make it through the night. There were even parents who were able to make it to the center, but due to travel conditions could not leave and they were also invited to sleep with their children at the child care center until it was safe to drive home.
“This was a team effort made easier by the fact that both WellStar and Bright Horizons are committed to caring for people,” said Bright Horizons Regional Manager Lynn Wray who supports the WellStar Centers. “The Directors and teachers at the centers did not give it a second thought that they would stay with the children through the night. They always put children and families first but this storm showcased how we work together with all working families in a truly special way.”