Hospital housekeepers or cleaners help hospitals, nursing homes and other treatment facilities to fight the spread of infectious diseases. They disinfect healthcare equipment and machines to ensure that patient treatment and residential environments are clean and germ-free at all times. A career as a hospital housekeeper suits people with little formal training and a passion for hygiene.
Mastering the Skills
Hospital housekeepers are organized individuals with a methodical approach to tasks. When cleaning a patient ward, for example, they begin by washing windows, then go on to wipe furniture, and finish with mopping the floors. Basic math skills and the ability to follow written instruction are also important qualities, as they often need to measure and mix specific proportions of water and disinfectants according to the manufacturer’s specifications. Hospital housekeepers should also be empathetic, because they need to show compassion to patients, some of whom might be in pain, nervous or scared.
Keeping the Hospital Clean
On a daily basis, hospital housekeepers clean the facility’s patient wards, emergency and surgical rooms, nursing units, hallways, laboratory areas and administrative offices. They dust and polish furniture and windows, wipe and sterilize healthcare equipment, scrub walls, mop floors, change bed sheets and towels, and empty wastebaskets. While doing this, they adhere to applicable hospital or environmental safety regulations. When cleaning a patient room contaminated with blood, for example, they must use appropriate disinfectants in accordance with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's recommendations.
Submitting Repair Requests and Other Duties
During the cleaning process, hospital housekeepers are likely to detect cracks in floors and walls, rusty beds, broken window panes and other items that may require repair. As a result, it is their job to report such defects to the housekeeping supervisor. They must also report if cleaning supplies are running out.
Other duties of hospital housekeepers include appropriately storing brooms, brushes, cleaning carts and other pieces of housekeeping products in the supply room, and responding to emergencies that need cleaning services.
Employers typically hire high school graduates with some housekeeping experience and train them in hospital housekeeping techniques and best practices on the job. Ambitious housekeepers can obtain an associate degree in environmental services, which they can combine with vast experience to increase their chances of becoming hospital housekeeping supervisors. The American Hospital Association also awards the Certified Healthcare Environmental Service Professional credential to housekeepers who meet experience and education requirements, and successfully complete a certification examination. CHESPs have strong prospects of becoming directors of hospital housekeeping.