Remarkable Colleagues: Environmental Services Works Behind the Scenes for Patient and Colleague Safety

Now more than ever, maintaining the highest standards of cleanliness throughout patient-care facilities is crucial.

The colleagues responsible for this enormous task are members of Environmental Services (EVS). These days, environmental services workers approach their jobs as if every patient has tested positive for COVID-19, regardless of where the EVS team is cleaning. This vital service helps to create safe surroundings for patients and medical staff.

EVS workers continue to clean rooms of non-COVID patients but do not clean patient rooms daily on COVID-19 floors. At this time, nurses are taking on that responsibility.

However, when COVID patients are discharged from the hospital, EVS workers thoroughly clean those rooms to prepare them for future patients and the clinical staff that serves them.

EVS workers, too, are health care heroes.                                               

Calm, Cool and Collected

Mercy Health Muskegon EVS worker Linda Mimms wearing full protective equipment in an ED room

Soon after the first COVID-19 patients were diagnosed in Michigan, Linda Mimms stepped up by volunteering to work all of her shifts in Pod E in the Emergency Department at Mercy Health Muskegon. Pod E is where all patients with respiratory symptoms are initially cared for, including those with COVID-19.

“In the beginning, a lot of our staff were pretty anxious about working there,” shared Jody Woods, Environmental Services manager, Mercy Health Muskegon.

“When I went to thank Linda for volunteering, she said to me, ‘We’re going to do what we have to do, and it’s all about making sure our patients are taken care of.’ Linda is a direct example of an owner’s mind and a servant’s heart,” added Jody.

On the job for about a year, Linda is both a team leader and colleague trainer. When the ED needs additional help, other team members are willing to join her. She sets a great example and is a natural-born leader, said Jody.

“I thank Linda every day for the work she does,” said Sharon Stiff, Linda’s supervisor. “Linda is positive and compassionate — a role model for others. She is a Christian who brings her faith to work with her.”

As with so many other health care teams working behind the scenes, the EVS teams in West Michigan working around the clock to do their part during this COVID-19 pandemic.

Dedicated and Hardworking

Oakland EVS workers at a shift change (l-r) Susan Romaya, Jared Barnett, Michael Keyes, Tamyka Trumbo, Arianna Conley, Eugene Bradford, Egda Morales and Bailey Janka

EVS teams also work 24/7 across Saint Joseph Mercy Health System facilities in Southeast Michigan — one of the nation’s hotspots for COVID-19.

They have stepped up to do what is needed for patients, regardless of this being a scary time for many health care workers.

“These folks didn’t hesitate,” said John Miller, Environmental Services director at St. Joseph Mercy Oakland. “The team asked good questions, and once we trained everyone on the new PPE requirements and additional cleaning protocols we were providing, they jumped right in. Day in and day out, they show up to do their jobs. They know that patients are very sick and need our assistance.”

EVS colleagues “truly live our organization’s values,” John said.

We thank all of the EVS workers who are working tirelessly to keep patient-care facilities safe by destroying this deadly virus. You are not forgotten.

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