Tereza Teixeira Pereira considers her work in Environmental Services vital to the health and safety of everyone at the Brigham. An employee here for the last 12 years, Teixeira Pereira said when she recently had the chance to expand her skills and education, she jumped at the opportunity.
“I come to the Brigham every day and believe what I do is not only a job — it’s a career,” said Teixeira Pereira, who works primarily in the Mary Horrigan Connors Center for Women and Newborns. “I want to do everything I can to continue learning and improving because I want to ensure that I’m doing my very best to keep the Brigham safe and clean for our patients, their families and my colleagues.”
Teixeira is among the approximately 80 Environmental Services staff members who’ve completed one of two training and certification programs the department recently began offering to its employees. One is a specialized certification, the Certified Surgical Cleaning Technician program, created for staff responsible for cleaning and disinfecting operating rooms. The other, the Certified Healthcare Environmental Services Technician (CHEST) program, is designed for all department staff.
The Association for the Healthcare Environment sponsors both programs, which set a national standard and best practices for cleaning and disinfecting in a hospital environment. They consist of classroom training and a written exam hosted at the Brigham. Recertification takes place every three years. Over time, all Brigham Environmental Services employees will undergo the program best suited to their role.
The Brigham is the only Environmental Services department in Massachusetts to offer these certification programs to staff.
Consisting of 468 people, the Environmental Services team works nonstop to keep Brigham facilities across the main and distributed campuses sanitary, safe and attractive for patients, visitors, faculty and staff, in accordance with established policies, procedures and regulations. The department oversees institution-wide housekeeping, waste/recycling management, pest management, interior plants and grounds maintenance policies, and programs and services.
‘Knowledge Is Power’
Labina Shrestha, an education specialist in Environmental Services, was trained to teach both courses. In addition to supporting professional growth, she said the programs are a meaningful morale booster and remind staff of the important role they have on a care team.
“Knowledge is power, and throughout these training programs the staff have come to realize even more so that their roles are essential to the healing process for our patients,” Shrestha said. “We are not only cleaning and disinfecting, but we are saving lives — and that is very powerful.”
Environmental Services staff member Jean Honorat, who recently completed the CHEST certification, said he’s grateful for the opportunity to strengthen his skills and is excited to share what he learned with his colleagues. Someone who is passionate about his work and caring for others, Honorat said participating in this program has helped him love his job even more.
“I’m so thankful,” said Honorat, who works in the Braunwald Tower. “It feels good to make a difference.”