Hospital Biz: Environmental Services Plays a Critical Role

September 11, 2018

Daytime Providence Health Downtown EVS team

September 9 through September 15 this year is National Environmental Services Week. Providence Health is blessed with an outstanding team of individuals who work collaboratively to keep our facility clean and safe from germs and contamination for our patients, their families, and our staff.

Often referred to as simply EVS, Environmental Services is responsible for much more than just cleaning the facility. “Anyone can make something look clean, but an environment is more than what you see,” says Craig Fick, Director of EVS at providence Health-Northeast. “For us, ‘cleanliness’ is something you hear, feel, and smell in a facility. And it’s also what you can’t sense at all, such as microscopic bacteria.”   

A hospital has processes and procedures that cannot run without the EVS team in place. There is a saying in EVS that if doctors don't show up to the hospital one day the hospital can continue to run. If EVS does not show up, the building shuts down. The EVS department works to sanitize all areas of the facility to reduce cross contamination.  EVS also transports furniture, properly removes biohazard waste and sharps, and changes cubicles and curtains.

“It’s probably not the first thing that comes to mind when people think about types of jobs in a hospital, and yet, it’s one of the many departments that a hospital couldn’t function consistently without,” says Fick.

Providence Health’s hospitals and physician practices are driven by quality and compassion. These factors extend well into the role of EVS, too.

“People become dependent on their EVS professional for more than just cleaning and disinfecting a space,” says Fick who is proud of his EVS team for knowing when and how to go beyond the traditional scope of their role to meet the needs of others.

Staff may need assistance in transporting a patient, or a patient’s family member may need support in a time of fear. “These experiences are often the most rewarding ones,” says Fick. “Talking to patients and hearing some of their stories really gives you a since of direction and roots you back to earth. In those minutes, you forget your own personal struggles and knowing you are doing something to improve somebody else's.”

At Providence, EVS staff has often been known to pause and pray with patients and families.

“The welcoming, helpful, familiar faces of the EVS are a part of the healing support system here at Providence,” says Antoine Ransom, Assistant Administrator who oversees EVS at Providence Health. “They take pride in the work that they do, and we take pride in the team that does it.”

Providence Health has two hospitals located in Columbia, SC, maintained by a team of forty-two EVS professionals.