COVID Crisis Is the Clean Team's Time to Shine

By ROBYN MARLOW,

May is one of our busiest months of the year for celebrations. National Hospital Week, National Nursing Home Week, Employee Appreciation Day, and more all fall within the month of May.  With all those events, many departments stand out -- but without NSMC’s Environmental Services Department, most of the celebrations would not be possible.

Every May, NSMC celebrates with an annual Employee Appreciation Day. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our celebration could not take place. The NSMC Environmental Services Department is always a big part of this day by helping set up and clean up the day's events. So this May, we wanted to celebrate our Environmental Services Department because they are a large part of what makes NSMC such an amazing place.  Or, as most of us call it, The Clean Team.

Our Executive Director, Billy Marlow, likes to say, “If you can find a speck of dirt around here, I’ll give you a quarter.” And Billy hasn't had to give out any quarters.

Doris Ledford is our Director of Environmental Services. She’s the captain of The Clean Team. 

Keeping a hospital clean and germ free is always a big deal.  Under the current COVID-19 pandemic, keeping every inch of the facility clean is a matter of life and death. It is a job Ms. Doris has always taken a lot of pride in, well before the rest of the world noticed its importance.

“When I started 16 years ago, we were a little bitty hospital,” Doris told us. “Today, it includes a hospital, wellness center, surgical suite, nursing home and 21 outside medical and office buildings that we are also responsible for keeping clean and stocked.”

Keeping a state-of-the-art medical campus clean and operational isn’t the type of thing that captures a lot of attention -- unless it’s North Sunflower.  In 2012, NSMC was named one of the 40 cleanest hospitals in the nation. It was the number one cleanest critical access hospital in the country, and the only hospital in Mississippi named to the list.

“I’ve had one nurse tell me, if you set still for too long, they will clean you.  ‘If you’re eating they might wipe the mustard off your face,’” Doris told us.

“The doctors and nurses are here to care for the patients.  We take care of the facility,” Doris said.  “This is hard work, and it’s not for everybody. Without "The Clean Team," the medical staff could not do their job. When you walk into the building, before you see a provider, you see how clean it is.  First impressions are important.”

COVID-19 has put a bright light on how germs are spread.  This is something The Clean Team has been working on for years.  “We went through different kinds of viruses, but our hospital is so on top of things,” Doris told us. “I’m in awe of the work our team does.  We make sure every surface is clean, so that each of us can be comfortable knowing we would want a member of our family to stay here.”

Doris is proud of the relationships members of The Clean Team make with the patients and residents.  “For some patients, housekeeping is their lifeline.  They get close to our staff and it makes their stay here better. That’s how we stand out.  You won’t find a harder working group of people.”

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