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Getting an early start on a workday is typical for Jennifer Key, an environmental services attendant at PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend in Springfield, Oregon.
An early start turned out to be the only normal thing for Jen during one workday last summer. Environmental services, also known as EVS, ensures our healthcare facilities are clean which is a vital service protecting patients, visitors and caregivers.
Jennifer received word shortly after her arrival at the hospital that she would be overseeing EVS coverage for the day, according to Sonya Dodd, the department supervisor.
“The day that Jen stepped in as the back-up lead, there were multiple callouts (caregivers who couldn’t come in),” she said.
By the time Sonya arrived a few hours later, Jen had created a plan to make sure all areas of the hospital were supported throughout the day — even with limited staffing.
Ensuring adequate coverage meant Jen was herself in the thick of getting the work done — cleaning rooms with existing patients and preparing empty rooms needed for incoming patients – along with her other regular duties.
On top of that, new demands continued to pop up all day. Eleven beds needed to be brought to the Emergency Department. Back-up coverage was required in the intensive care unit. Cross-training on special assignments was called for.
Jen handled each request with grace — quickly offering her assistance.
“There was no opportunity for Jen to mentally prepare for the assignment of handling lead responsibilities that day,” said Sonya.
Yet “Jen had a smile on her face the whole day” as she skillfully planned staffing coverage, collaborated with team members and creatively found ways to answer a host of critical needs.