2022 Annual VIA: Maria Martinez
She rounds on patients, asks them about their day, translates to Spanish when needed and helps calm their anxiety with her sunny disposition. Maria Martinez is a caregiver at Asante Three Rivers’ Family Birth Center. She’s also the housekeeper.
Researchers are just beginning to study the role housekeepers play in patient care, a long overdue recognition that the people who clean patient rooms can provide as much support and comfort as medical teams.
The staff at ATRMC’s birth center have known this for years. Eight of them formally nominated Martinez, who has worked for Asante for 17 years, for the 2022 Annual Values in Action award, Asante’s most prestigious honor. Martinez, they say, is “heart and soul of the unit.”
In a nomination form five pages long, they share the qualities that make Martinez remarkable:
“She walks to and from work daily, no matter if it’s raining, snowing, sleeting or 100 degrees out.”
“She shows up early and stays late nearly every day.”
“She is constantly checking in with us on our patients’ needs. If they are close to discharge, she gets everything ready to clean the room. If they need sleep, she will wait to clean so they can rest.”
“For our Spanish-speaking patients she will spend extra time getting to know them. She will help them order meals if needed.”
“If a patient is discharging after her shift is over, Maria gets all the linen ready and leaves a thank-you note and chocolate for the next shift.”
“She always checks for things left behind and tries to return them after the patient leaves.”
“She builds a trusting relationship with the patient and family while thoroughly cleaning their room. This makes them feel well cared for.”
“Maria always has a positive attitude. She has a bright, cheery disposition.”
“Patients often identify Maria as someone who is an example of excellent care.”
Adam Mayle, supervisor, calls Martinez the cornerstone of Environmental Services. “Maria embodies teamwork, excellence, respect, honest and service. She’s all those things in a nutshell.”
At the Annual VIA ceremony in November, Mayle grew emotional talking about how the team had begun to rely on Martinez during its toughest times. He recounted how she often came in to work on her day off to relieve the overburdened staff.
“COVID was really hard on our team,” he said. “We were missing many, many people. She was there for us when we needed it most.”
In gratitude for her contributions to Asante’s Values, Martinez was given a charcuterie box, flowers, badge backer, gift card and personalized crystal award.
Although she shies from the spotlight, Martinez did add a few words at the end of the awards ceremony. “This is beyond any expectation. I didn’t see it coming and was shocked when they told me, but happy too. Thank you to everybody.”
Current role: Environmental Services assistant
Location: ATRMC Family Birth Center
With Asante: 17 years
Total VIAs: 72
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