Raising the Bar for Cleanliness

elbert and markese

Originally published in the Rocky Mount Telegram

Markese Leathers and Elbert Davis are Environmental Services (EVS) Supervisors for Nash UNC Health Care. They help to lead a team of around 70 people who are responsible for cleaning the entire hospital, from the hallways to the bathrooms, to every patient room and care area. Once a patient leaves the hospital, members of the EVS team, including Leathers and Davis, ensure the room is clean and pristine.

“They’re rock stars,” said Chris Whittemore, director of Nash UNC’s EVS team. “They always do their best to go above and beyond in everything they do, whether that’s cleaning or teaching new team members. And with what we’ve faced with the coronavirus pandemic, they’ve managed to step up their game even more, and they just always have such a great attitude. Their dedication to Nash UNC Health Care really is just incredible.”

With coronavirus / COVID cases on the rise in the community, Nash UNC stands ready to provide medical care for COVID positive patients and all other patients as needed. Nash UNC already has precautions in place to help reduce the risk of COVID exposure, including masks for all staff members and visitors and ensuring all COVID suspected patients are taken to isolated treatment rooms specifically designed for communicable disease, separate from non-COVID patients. Another big piece of the precautions is deep cleaning and sanitizing the hospital. That’s where Leathers, Davis and their team come in – they ensure the hospital is cleaned rigorously at all times.

While Nash UNC has always placed a high importance on a clean facility, the way the facility is cleaned has changed in order to address the coronavirus pandemic. Davis explained that in the end, a clean facility is really about the patients they serve.

“We still want to bring the same high level of care to the patient day to day, because that’s what really matters, is the patient,” he said. “We have a new cleaning chemical that can kill the virus within a minute, and we use this to sanitize everything from the rooms to elevator buttons to the telephones. It’s up to us to keep the safety and cleanliness of the entire hospital in check,” said Davis. “Cleaning from a hospital standard is more detailed and intense than people think,” said Davis. “We have an intensive training session with all our staff once a week to ensure we are keeping the highest standard of cleaning and sanitation.”

The EVS team is responsible for the cleanliness of the entire Nash UNC Health Care campus, including the Cancer Center, Heart Center, critical care units, and COVID units that are dedicated to and specifically equipped for treating patients with coronavirus.

Davis explained that while cleaning the hospital, especially in the COVID areas, they rely on a special chemical called “Defender” to kill up to 99.99% of germs. However, they don’t stop there; at that point, the team brings in one of the special machines that deep cleans using ultraviolet light.

“They’re powerful machines,” said Davis. “They give us that added assurance that a room or area really is clean and disinfected. It really helps our fight against any germs and viruses that may pass through the hospital.”

Markese Leathers says that ultimately, they want to do whatever it takes to keep patients safe.

“The patients are the core of this hospital,” said Leathers. “The UV and UVC cleaning technology really gives us an added sense of comfort that we are going above and beyond for our patients. They are the reason we’re here, and we coach our team to think of patients like family.”

Davis said that he’s always seen Nash UNC and the EVS team stick to the core value of creating the best patient and family experience possible.

“We’ll make sure the hospital is as clean as possible, and we’ll also go above and beyond in other ways for patients, such as getting them water or take out trays, notifying nurses if they need something or even helping patients make phone calls,” said Davis. “That is what we would do if it was one of our family members in that room. You have to put your heart into it.”

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