More Than Just a Job
EVS Employee Juanita Saldana Goes Above and Beyond for Patient Families
By Heather Duge
When Juanita Saldana walks through the doors at Cook Children’s, it feels like home to her.
“The coworkers on 3 North Main are my family,” Juanita said. “We have built good relationships and work as a team. I feel so loved here.”
For the past four years, Juanita has served as a housekeeper at Cook Children’s. Before that, she had her own housekeeping business for 30 years. Juanita said throughout all her years of cleaning, a positive attitude is most important.
“I have always loved helping others,” Juanita said. “I don’t go to the hospital just for work or to complete a task. I treat the patients and families like my own. Everything I do is for the kids.”
Juanita’s routine starts with preparing her cart with supplies before going through the room assignments to ensure she has the appropriate attire for special precautions. She checks in with the secretary and charge nurse to go over patients being discharged. Those rooms need more attention as they need to be completely turned over. After preparing for the day, which sometimes involves taking on an additional unit, Juanita empties out all the trash at nurse stations, restrooms, storage areas, nutrition/med rooms and patient rooms before moving on to cleaning the patients’ rooms. She cleans up spills, refills paper towels and toilet paper, cleans restrooms and replenishes supplies, sweeps and mops the floors and replaces linens. Being on her feet constantly is tiring and some days feel especially heavy, but nothing stops Juanita from helping.
“Even if it’s the end of my shift and someone needs more help, I’m happy to do it.”
Going above and beyond comes naturally for Juanita. Whether it’s bringing patients and families coffee, a warm blanket or helping them order food, she does it all with a smile.
“I have five kids and two grandchildren, so I feel for these families. I always take the time to hear whatever it is they want to tell me. I want them to know I feel their pain and am here for them.”
One day she overheard a family who lived far away and unexpectedly came to Cook Children’s talking about needing a change of clothes. Juanita immediately offered to bring them clothing from her home the next day.
Big Bump in the Road
Seven months ago, Juanita’s 45-minute drive to work turned treacherous. She was in a bad car accident and feared getting behind the wheel afterward. Her children begged her to find a job closer to home. But she couldn’t stand the thought of leaving Cook Children’s.
“I love it too much,” Juanita said. “Every morning I say a special prayer to help me get there. And I trust the Lord to take care of me. I also pray throughout the day. It encourages me to do everything I can for these patients.”
‘I feel blessed’
Before leaving each shift, Juanita meticulously prepares her cart for the next person who will be using it. Being a team player is part of her role, Juanita says.
“I feel blessed to have this job. If you love your work, you’re going to feel like it’s your home.”