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Environmental Service workers playing key role in fight against COVID-19

It is easy to forget the work that these dedicated people do and these workers are more than just housekeepers. In this pandemic, they are considered unsung heroes.

PINE BLUFF, Ark. — When you visit a hospital, you will likely see someone that works in environmental services.

It is easy to forget the work that these dedicated people do: these workers are more than just housekeepers.

In this pandemic, they are easily considered unsung heroes.

They enter the hospital each day, going around and cleaning hospital rooms for patients. 

For people like Kyara Rinehart, she said her job involves more than just ensuring the hospital is spotless.

"I try to give them a little bit of my time and make sure: 'hey, you know, I'm thinking about you,' or 'hey, you are loved,' even though I don't know you like that," Rinehart said. 

While cleaning in areas with COVID patients, she said she takes time to stop and do something as simple as asking them how their day is going because, oftentimes, she is all they have. 

"They have no one else to talk to and I understand nurses have to get in and get out and they have other patients to see and everything," Rinehart said. 

Lynette Jackson has been working at Jefferson Regional for nearly two years.

To her, the job requires her to go beyond what is listed in the description. 

Since she wears a mask when in a patient's rooms, it is hard for them to see her infectious smile, so she uses her words to convey the message of reassurance. 

"I try to use my voice and my eyes to try and let them know that 'hey I am here for you and we are here to try and help you as best as we can,'" Jackson said. 

Wayne Hassan, Director of Environmental Services, said since the beginning of the pandemic the department has struggled to find people who can come in to work. Because of that, other employees have had to pick up the slack. 

"I've got people working 16 hour shifts. A lot of people, once they come in, they finish their 8 hours and go home, get maybe 4-6 hours of sleep and they come back in," Hassan said.

It is that dedication among employees who understand that simply being there for a patient is a key point to the job.

It is something that he is hoping to find as he looks to hire more people.

"To me, we are like the doctors and nurses of cleaning around here. We try to keep this place as clean as possible," Hassan said.

   

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