The Brightside: More than housekeeping staff
BERLIN, Md. – Through the pandemic, cleaning and sanitizing has become even more important to keep everybody safe, especially in hospitals. But that couldn’t be done without housekeeping staff, who have gone above and beyond to keep patients both safe and comforted.
“They’re the unsung heroes of the group right now,” Scott Rose, Director of Critical Care at Atlantic General Hospital, said.
And that’s truly what the housekeeping staff, otherwise known as environmental specialists, are at the hospital.
“We’re constantly going around wiping doorknobs, handrails, chairs, sanitizing anything, any high touch zones that are constantly being in contact with patients,” Bryauna Menaffe, Environmental Services Supervisor, said.
It seems straight forward, right? But during the pandemic, they’ve done so much more. They’ve become a familiar face to patients who can’t have their family visit, a friendly conversation throughout lonely days. Audrey Shockley is one of those familiar faces to patients.
“They just talk about their family that they haven’t seen them, that they miss them… I try to put it like this, well I’m your family as of right now, let’s interact, let’s talk,” Shockley said.
It’s people like Shockley that make Menaffe feel proud to do this work.
“I can actually hear conversations outside the door, which makes me feel good because a lot of the patients that are here with covid, they’re here for a long time, and to know that they have somebody going in there that’s not there to poke and probe them, they’re actually there to clean and they ease in and just talk to them,” Menaffe said.
And for Shockley, in between all of the wiping and the spraying and the scrubbing, it’s all about the little conversations, the relationships she’s forming, the humanity in the face of a pandemic.
“I feel good because I feel like I’ve done a project, I’ve helped someone along the way, that’s been sad or been down and I’ve tried to lift them up with some spiritual songs or words of encouragement,” she said.