Keeping hospital rooms clean at Tomah Health is a top priority. However, hospital officials have started a national certification program to ensure that Tomah Health Environmental Services Technicians who clean the facility are among the best in the industry.
“The program is extremely well-rounded and offers a very strong base in Infection Prevention, which really is the single, most important part of our job; to provide a clean and safe environment for people to seek health care,” Tomah Health Facility Services Director Steven Loging, BS, CHFM, said of the American Hospital Association’s Certified Health Care Environmental Services Technician (CHEST) program.
Loging said the hospital kicked off the initiative by securing a grant, which enabled him to obtain a “train the trainer” certification, which allows him to run the classes for the nearly 20 hospital EVS staff. “Staff think its excellent training and feel highly of the material,” he said.
Loging said the training that they provide is in the format of ‘a day in the life of an EVS tech’, which covers all the aspects of the profession.
Through the proper care and maintenance of the health care environment, Loging said EVS techs play an essential role that can lead to enhanced patient outcomes. “I think it tells others that we understand the foundation of health care is having a clean and safe environment for our patients.”
Loging said the certification not only ensures cleanliness, but also validates the role of EVS staff. “When they are certified it gives them a sense of pride in the job and it demonstrates to others that our employees take the initiative to go above and beyond to get certified,” Loging said. “It’s not just the cleaning of rooms; it really teaches our staff how to be a true professional in doing their job.”
He added that giving staff the ability to get the certification can be a ‘feather in their cap’ and something they can use to further their career. “It really tells them that they are not just an EVS Tech or housekeeper, but a certified EVS Technician which is something to take pride in because they are the foundation of this hospital.” While staff will not be required to take the test that will signal final certification, Loging said his goal is to have all staff complete the training. “Plans call for holding staff classes each quarter and to eventually complete the training with possible full certification within the next 18 months.”
According to Loging, only a few area rural health care facilities have embarked on the certification program. ”We have an outstanding staff of EVS techs compared to any other hospital. Our cleanliness matches or exceeds any of the places I’ve been at,” said Loging. “We take the cleanliness of this facility to heart.”