Extending Caring and Kindness - One Swan at a Time
“They are not only our patients, but they are also our family and friends,” said Annie Gonzales, Environmental Services (EVS) attendant at Adventist HealthCare White Oak Medical Center, as she puts the finishing touches on a new patient’s room by folding a white towel into a beautiful swan. “I want to give them special treatment.”
The EVS team takes time to create the swans after cleaning each patient room. “This is typically something you would see in a hotel, so we thought it would be a good idea to add the swan to the presentation of a clean room to help our patients feel more comfortable while away from home,” Annie said.
The swan was chosen because it is symbolic of peace, love and faith. “When a patient enters their room, it grabs their attention and speaks to the added kindness we will extend to them,” said Yolanda Rodriguez, White Oak Medical Center’s EVS manager, who started the program. “It’s the little things that matter. Most patients want to take it home because it means a lot to them and reminds them of the team that cared for them.”
The EVS team first began folding a swan for each room on the Mother/Baby unit, or two swans if a mother was having twins. As additional team members learned the art of folding, the swans spread across many care areas of the hospital.
“It’s not easy, but not too hard. It just takes practice,” said Margarita Pintor, EVS attendant. Over time, the team has thought of ways to add special touches. Two swans facing each other create a heart shape. “I thought it would be nice to make a heart for the patients in our cardiac units,” said Tanysha Bell, EVS attendant. “I like that I can learn something new and be creative. The patients really enjoy it. Sometimes I even show them how to make it.”
A smile and a connection to others have healing power. The EVS team members at White Oak Medical Center say they are honored to be able to put a smile on the faces of patients and let them know that every team member, no matter the department, is contributing to their healing.