Department Spotlight: Environmental Services

By: Alana Ridge

September 13, 2022

Renown Health's EVS team

This week is Healthcare Environmental Services Week (Sept. 11 - 17, 2022). Join us in celebrating our Environmental Services department at Renown Health!

Cleanliness in a healthcare environment begins and ends with the hard work of an environmental services (EVS) department, and at Renown Health, our EVS teams are no exception. This department not only provides sterile care areas for every patient, but they are passionate about keeping Renown’s patients, visitors and employees safe. Everyone who comes through the doors of any Renown location is immediately greeted with the embrace of a thoroughly clean and disinfected space, and they can rest assured that they are receiving care in the safest environment possible – and it’s all thanks to the dedication of EVS. 

Transcending the Meaning of Clean 

Talk about “squeaky clean!” All EVS team members follow a meticulous cleaning procedure to maintain patient safety in every care area. No corner or crevice is ever left behind – and the entire team is passionate about ensuring no spot goes untouched. Cris Hughes, Manager of Environmental Services and Linen for Renown, emphasizes that her team “is the frontline defense in stopping the spread of infections.” 

There is no question that the work the EVS team does every day around the clock is crucial to protecting the lives of patients. “I love coming to work to clean and disinfect,” said Mary Orozco, Environmental Services Technician at Renown Regional. “I feel like I’m saving lives.” 

After setting up carts with special cleaning chemicals, each team member heads to their assigned care areas and follows this step-by-step process (while changing gloves and using hand sanitizer in between each step to prevent contamination): 

Step 1: Collect and dispose of all the trash in the room. 
Step 2: Disinfect every item and surface. According to this department, blood is the most common bodily fluid left behind after a patient leaves a hospital room. 
Step 3: If there is a bed in the room, make the bed with fresh linens. 
Step 4: Mop the floors, ensuring every nook and cranny is thoroughly cleaned. 

Each team member goes through a rigorous environmental services training process, where they are taught the four-step procedure outlined above. Renown EVS Technicians are Certified Healthcare Environmental Services Technicians, otherwise known as CHEST-trained.  

The CHEST program “pairs quality education for high-performing health care environmental services professionals with evidence-based training sessions,” according to the Association for the Health Care Environment. CHEST certifications are also the key pathway to being promoted from housekeeper to EVS technician and being cleared to handle blood and other bodily fluids. Upon completion of the program, Renown is committed to promoting housekeepers to the next step in their career. 

The EVS technicians do such a good job that they have been continually celebrated by patients and visitors alike. “The patients and their families give so much support for my work that they even want to ‘take me home' with them,’” said Josephine Ubando, Environmental Services Technician at Renown South Meadows. 

Brittany Sylvester, Supervisor of Environmental Services for Renown, reiterates the department’s devotion to their jobs, as well as their talents that transcend the meaning of clean: “The EVS team has so much dedication to keeping our hospitals safe for our patients. They work so hard, and the passion they have is remarkable.” 

We Have Your Back 

How many of us can appreciate a great leader who helps provide optimal experiences at work? Most likely, you just internally raised your hand. In the EVS department, all team members consistently brought up one person in particular that always supports them in every endeavor: Cris Hughes.  

“Cris motivates me,” said Dianda Enchante, Environmental Services Technician for Renown Regional. “Cris practices open communication and always follows up. We know she has the team’s back.” 

“I wish we could have a monument outside to show appreciation for our leads because they are amazing,” said Josephine Ubando. “We have the best supervisor and manager.” 

For Rosario De Gomez, Environmental Services Technician at Renown South Meadows, Cris and her team leads are part of the reason why she has stayed at Renown for 23 years. “My team lead and manager are good people,” she added. 

Cris responded back to the piles of praise, saying that she could not be prouder of her team. “I feel their accomplishments and challenges, kind of like a mom does.” 

Imelda Castillo, Environmental Services Team Lead at Renown South Meadows, is also humbled by her employees and their compliments towards her. They continuously inspire her to strive for excellence in her job after 21 years of working for Renown. “I want to celebrate everyone,” said Imelda. “We are a team!” 

A strong team indeed. Sha’vonne Mclean, Quality Assurance Analyst for Renown, “could go on and on about the work that goes on in the EVS department.” Sha’vonne emphasizes that the EVS technicians and housekeepers are the backbones of our health system. “We as a team are responsible for the health and wellness of Renown, from top to bottom,” she added. “EVS works countless hours doing what they do best: cleaning and disinfecting. The hard work that happens in this department especially makes them deserving of the spotlight.”  

The immense support coming from every EVS team member – especially trickling down from their team leads and manager – only adds to the level of passion for infection prevention and patient safety they each hold in their hearts. And by having each other’s backs, they in turn have YOUR back as well. 

A Strong Culture Match 

The culture the EVS team has fostered in their department is so powerful that many EVS career holders have surpassed several years, and in some cases, even decades.  

Several team members in this department started their EVS careers at Renown between 10-20 years ago – and they never left. Their commitment to Renown’s mission and vision shines through in their work and their years-long tenure with us. 

“I come from a culinary background, and let me tell you, this is a totally different experience,” said Brittany Sylvester. “I have learned so many things about the process of keeping a hospital properly cleaned and disinfected for our patients in the community. I just love being a part of this team and the culture at Renown.” 

New employees who would like to embrace an environment where they are continually lifted up by their teammates are always welcome to join Renown EVS team. Communication, collaboration and a good attitude are needed to match the energy and level of support this team brings to work every day. 

“I have never seen harder workers than those in our EVS team,” said Sha’vonne Mclean. “A good majority of our team members have been here a long time, and yet, their energy never wanes. They are inspirational.” 

“The sense of pride we have makes me so happy,” adds Rosario De Gomez. “We are very passionate about everything we do here.” 

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