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South Texas Veterans Health Care System (STVHCS)

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Environmental Management Service Week


Rodney Cody, EMS employee works on unit 2 West. Photo by: Lupe Hernandez

By Nenette C. Madla, Public Affairs Officer
Monday, September 15, 2014

Environmental Management Service (EMS) employees play a vital role in the day-to-day operations at South Texas Veterans Health Care System (STVHCS). They are considered as a first line of defense in eliminating and preventing the spread of germs that might be harmful to both Veterans and employees. They work behind the scenes to ensure the facility is clean and appealing for employees, Veterans and their family members. They understand that perception is everything and the environment of care of a facility can determine where a Veteran chooses to receive their care.    

Rodney Cody, a U.S. Air Force Veteran, works the day shift on unit 2 West at Audie L. Murphy Memorial Veterans Hospital. He begins his day by reviewing the check board for new incoming patients and ensures their room is clean prior to being admitted to the unit. He cleans the room as if he were cleaning it for himself. He ensures their room is properly sanitized in order to create a nice healing environment. He understands that clean sheets, a dust and germ free room provides a comfortable and safe environment that helps in the patient’s recovery. When emptying out their trash, he makes it a point to ask them how they are doing and if there’s anything else that he can do to make their stay as pleasant as possible. For their family members, he’ll bring in an extra chair or recliner and if they’re staying the night with their loved one, he offers them a pillow or blanket.

He also keeps unit 2 West shining for the staff by providing high dusting, emptying out their trash, cleaning the staff restroom, break room, sweeping and mopping the hallways.   He enjoys working his assigned unit because everyone is friendly and works together.

With a smile on his face, he says “I make sure that all patient rooms are clean to the best of my ability, the people I work with are good to work for. To me, serving one Veteran at a time is taking pride in the room to ensure all rooms are clean for each and every Veteran.”

Thank you Mr. Cody for all that you do to ensure a clean and safe environment for our Veterans and employees at STVHCS!

EMS, Surgical Intensive Care Unit Employee

Frank Vasquez, EMS employee works in the Surgical Intensive Care Unit. Photo by: Lupe Hernandez

In the Surgical Intensive Care Unit (SICU) where patients are recovering from a major illness or surgery, Frank Vasquez, EMS employee ensures their room is completely disinfected. With a high turnover of patients, the SICU requires special cleaning in order to prevent cross-contamination. Medical equipment, IV poles, chairs, and doorknobs must be wiped down to prevent further infection. While emptying the trash, changing sheets, sweeping and mopping, he makes it a point to get to know the SICU patients. With a huge smile, he’ll ask how they are doing. “You’re going to get better – it takes time,” he tells them. He enjoys speaking with the family members; he’ll ask them if they are comfortable especially with the low temperature in the Intensive Care Unit. Many times he’ll offer them a blanket to keep warm.

For the SICU staff, he’ll dust, empty the trash, disinfect their break room, sweep and mop the floor. He says the SICU staff is very friendly. “They’re all very nice people to work with – it’s like a family. It feels great to work there. A place where you walk-in and everyone smiles and they talk to you. I like what I do – it’s not the most prestigious, but I feel like I make a difference.”

Thank you Mr. Vasquez for all that you do to ensure a clean and safe environment for our Veterans and employees at STVHCS!


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