When a housekeeper goes to work in Miami’s hospital, she’s in for a surprise
As a housekeeping nurse at the University of Miami Health System, Claire Smith has to deal with patients who come to her office, the office’s staff and even the hospital itself.
Smith’s first job was as a housecleaner.
After graduating from college in 2008, she had no idea what she wanted to do.
“I had no clue that I was ever going to be doing this job,” she said.
As an assistant to the hospital’s senior housekeeper, Smith cleans up the hospital house, including the lobby.
A few weeks after moving to the city, she received a phone call.
She was assigned to help with cleaning up the lobby at a hospital in Miami.
“She said, ‘I just wanted to say thanks for all the help I’ve been giving you,'” Smith recalled.
Smith, who now lives in Brooklyn, said she didn’t know how to explain to the nurses how much she appreciated the help.
She didn’t have much time to think about it, so she kept doing her job.
But it wasn’t long before Smith found herself cleaning up patients at the hospital.
One day in December 2013, Smith went to the front of the hospital to help clean out a patient who had fallen and fractured his pelvis.
The patient, a man with a long history of medical problems, was taken to the emergency room with multiple broken ribs.
Smith was a nurse at that point, but she was not a housekeepers’ aide.
Instead, she was a hospital housekeeper.
With the help of a computerized video surveillance system, she took pictures of the patient and put them on the wall in the patient room.
When the patient got up from the bed, he looked like he was ready to go to the operating room.
“When I saw him get up, I thought, ‘Oh my God,'” Smith said.
“I thought, He’s not going to make it.
He’s going to die.”
Doctors told Smith they didn’t think the man would survive, so they called the hospital, which ordered a CT scan.
They found an injured man’s pelvis and bone fragments inside, and he was rushed to the ICU.
He was placed on a ventilator, but eventually died.
Smith said she couldn’t understand how doctors could have missed that.
“You go into a room where people are dying and you see something on a computer screen, and you’re like, ‘What are they seeing?'” she said, explaining that she felt it was important to share her experience.
While the hospital staff initially thought the patient was healthy, Smith learned more about his history and decided to treat him as if he was ill.
After seeing his pictures, she said she was stunned to learn how he suffered from a degenerative disease.
On his way to the ventilators, he lost his appetite, went into a coma and eventually died at the ICUC.
It was a turning point for Smith.
I realized, ‘This is what I’ve done,’ she said in an interview with The Associated Press.
At the hospital and in other communities, Smith said she is learning to be more proactive.
Since graduating from the University at Buffalo, Smith has worked as a nurse assistant in hospitals in New York, Chicago, Chicago and St. Louis.
In the hospital in the city of Miami, she cleans up patients.
She said she has seen patients with chronic illnesses that she has helped treat.
But when it comes to managing the patients’ lives and the hospital that they live in, Smith is working with the nurses and staff to help them do their job better.
If you or someone you know needs help, call the Samaritan House Hotline at 1-800-726-8255 or visit Samaritan.
Housekeeping can be a challenging job for both the housekeeper and the patient, said Teresa M. Smith, president of the American Nurses Association.
Housekeeping is a key part of the caregiving process and a critical part of our society, Smith told the AP.
We don’t always get to do the right thing.
I think we need to take a step back and recognize that.
The nurse housekeeper film is produced by the National Nurses United Action Fund, and is produced in partnership with American Rescue Media.