October 2014 - Housekeeping and the Tools of the Trade

Alexandra Stadler works in the housekeeping department at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto. She was the first place winner of our story competition during Environmental Services & Housekeeping Week. Below is a sample of her winning story!

Housekeeping and the Tools of the Trade

By Alexandra Stadler

Housekeepers must raise their level of pride in their chosen profession. If you are a housekeeper, you do very important work. You are not just a maid or just a custodian; you are an Infection Preventionist (you prevent infections or control them from spreading). You have one of the most important jobs in the facility. Take great pride in your work; show your pride by taking care of your tools.

You work with and around medical professionals; doctors, nurses, clinicians, therapists, office staff and others. Professionals want to work with you because they know how important your job is. They will respect you as a professional if you take great pride in your profession and conduct yourself as a professional. Smile and speak to them; hold your head up as you look them in the eye and great them as co-workers in providing patients with the best care possible.

Professionals in every trade have “tools of the trade” (the things that are needed in order to do a job).  They must take care of these tools; keep them clean, sharp, organized and in good repair. To do the job otherwise we would be unprofessional. That being said, let’s talk about your "tools of the trade.”

The Housekeeping Closet: This is your office. It is where you keep your cleaning supplies, tools and equipment. Keep it as clean as you would your very own office. A lot can be said about your professionalism by the way you keep your housekeeping closet.

The Housekeeper’s Cart: This is your housekeeping closet on wheels. When people walk by your cart and take a look at it, they are making a judgement, your profession and the hospital.

The tools on the cart: These should all be neatly organized, clean and in good repair. Don’t have dirty water, dirty mops, and dirty cleaning cloths on the cart where people passing by can see them. Often, throughout the day, wipe your tools with cleaners and disinfectants so they don’t become a source of contamination.

These are just some of the tools of the housekeeper’s profession. Housekeepers should take good care of them so they do the job intended for each one. That will enable them to perform their job as a professional. But more importantly, the building occupants will have a safe, clean, disinfected environment to recover from their injury, illness or surgery.

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