EXPLORE - Summer 2015 - (Page 8)
ON THE FRONTLINE
Exploring the New CHEST Program's Effectiveness, ROI, and Impact on the Profession
By Heather Williams
y now, we're sure you've heard the big news: Certified
Healthcare Environmental Services Technician
(CHEST) - the new certification program from the
Association for the Healthcare Environment (AHE)
for frontline environmental services workers - is
officially rolled out, and soon hospitals across the
nation will begin the very important and industry-changing work
of offering classroom-style training that will transform the role of
frontline environmental services technicians.
"It's time to take the reputation of the environmental services
techs out of the dark ages," said Jim Henry, CHESP, director of
Environmental Services at Texas Health Harris Methodist H.E.B. in
Bedford, Texas. "They are not just 'housekeepers,' they are skilled
professionals with training in higher-level personal protection equipment, proper handling of chemicals, bio-hazardous waste management, and disinfection techniques."
The new program is anticipated to change perceptions from
'housekeepers' sweeping and mopping floors to competent health
care environmental services technicians who are able to provide a
safe environment reducing the risks of health-care-associated infections (HAIs) and improving the patient experience.
"This program complements the CHESP [Certified Healthcare
Environmental Services Professional] certification with a focus on
developing the staff for succession planning," said Henry. "Having
CHEST-certified staff members working at your facility will result in
less turnover, improved employee engagement, improved customer
and patient satisfaction scores, and reduced HAIs."
Progressing and Elevating the Profession
The important work of environmental services technicians has
not gone unnoticed, which is why AHE and Clorox Healthcare have
invested so much into frontline education in the new CHEST program.
"CHEST professionals are the future of our industry, and the
CHEST program substantiates the importance of continuing education," said Henry.
Once an environmental services technician acquires the CHEST
certification, they've proved their competency to customers,
patients, peers, and their leadership team and earned recognition
as a true professional. The program also provides a natural succession plan for organizations as well as presents the opportunity for
CHEST-certified technicians to earn more income.
8 www.ahe.org I EXPLORE I Summer 2015
"The CHEST program is going to solidify and advance EVS technicians' positions on the patient care team," said Michael Bailey, CHESP
director of Environmental Services at Greenville Health System in
Greenville, South Carolina, and immediate past president of AHE.
"Think about it: from physicians and nurses to respiratory therapists
and patient transporters - all are certified individuals, so they're
viewed as professionals," he said. "Now environmental services technicians have the same type of credential to demonstrate their expertise."
In addition to the credential and increasing competency, it's important to note the intangible return on investment as well. Bailey expects
the program to increase staff engagement and improve retention. "It's
going to be very difficult to get certified if you're not engaged," he said.
The new program allows environmental service directors to do a
better job for their employees by providing them more opportunities
to learn and develop themselves in their careers. "Here, we have a very
thorough orientation package, but our orientation package only goes
so far, and this classroom-based education with a certification focus
is really going to get the attention of my staff," Bailey said.
The certification is something that is intended to go with employees as they progress in their careers and change jobs. "In the past, you
work and move from one job to another, and you don't really have
anything to show from the previous job," Bailey said. "This certification
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of EXPLORE - Summer 2015
Message from the President
Creating Leaders on the Frontline
Workloading in Environmental Services
Meet a CHESP
EXPLORE - Summer 2015