Monarch Caring Comm Award Web Banner Image
Monarch Caring Comm Award Web Banner Image

Monarch Caring and Community Award –
2023 Community Hospital Recipient

Renae Patterson
Director of Environmental Services, Andalusia Health

Renae Patterson and her housekeeping team at Andalusia Health prove the value of environmental services with every room cleaned, floor scrubbed and patient infection avoided. Renae is passionate about her team’s role in creating a positive patient experience and doesn’t hesitate to step in whenever and wherever she is needed. She is a leader, a teacher and the first to volunteer at the hospital or for community service projects. On September 20, 2023, ScionHealth recognized Renae as a 2023 Monarch Caring and Community Award recipient for her role in supporting patient care at the hospital. The award is our company’s highest honor, designed to showcase the truly exceptional caregivers amongst our 102 community hospitals, specialty hospitals and senior living facilities across the country.

Congratulations, Renae, on becoming a Monarch Award recipient, and thank you for demonstrating how every team member in a hospital can have a positive impact on their patients, coworkers and community.

Learn more about Renae in the video and story below

The word “caregiver” in a hospital setting typically is associated with physicians and nurses. An integral part of the caregiver team, environmental services (EVS), typically works behind the scenes, and ‒ if they perform their jobs well ‒ practically unnoticed.

On September 20, an environmental services leader at ScionHealth earned recognition, and in the best of ways. Renae Patterson, director of EVS at Andalusia Health (a ScionHealth community hospital), was honored as a 2023 Monarch Caring and Community Award recipient ‒ the highest honor bestowed by the company.

Patterson was presented the Monarch Award at the company’s annual Caregiver Summit along with Donna Kaufhold, a resident care assistant at senior living facility Trinity Oaks of Pearland, and Jade Moore, a registered care dietician at Kindred Hospital Chattanooga. Each honoree received a cash prize, a framed certificate, and a crystal award during a special presentation.

“I was shocked – I was like ‘Oh no, not me,” Renae said. “Me? Housekeeping? It made me feel good that the staff here thought enough to nominate me. At Andalusia Health, we are one big family. When we walk in that back door and get inside this building, we all pull together because we are here to take care of the patient and we try to make each other’s jobs easier.”

Patterson was selected from among 86 award finalists within ScionHealth, a health system with 102 facilities and approximately 25,000 total employees nationwide. The annual award recognizes the company’s most exceptional caregivers who consistently go above and beyond to deliver excellent patient care, elevate the patient experience, and support their colleagues and communities. Renae leads a team at Andalusia responsible for cleaning and disinfecting medical equipment, patient rooms and other common areas within the hospital.

She was nominated by Andalusia Health CEO Vickie Demers, who called her the “best of the best” in her nomination, citing Patterson’s passion for exceptional service to the hospital, patients, coworkers, and the community.

“Renae consistently goes 'above and beyond' to make sure our facility provides excellent patient care and a great experience,” said Demers. “She manages her staff with kindness and humility, and her ability to teach and guide others is truly awesome! She is so dedicated to her Andalusia family ‒ she truly has the heart of Andalusia Health!”

Patterson, a lifelong resident of South Alabama, has been part of the EVS team at Andalusia Health since 2009 and was promoted to director in 2021. The mother of three and wife of 35 years is a relentless advocate of the role of EVS in supporting patient care and ensures that her staff understands its importance as well. She is the Certified Health Care Environmental Services Technician (CHEST) educator for her department and uses evidence-based training to promote best practices in infection prevention; disinfection; related communications; safety, waste, and linen handling; floor care; and more.

“She 'preaches' to her staff the importance of consistency and I am sure she has prevented hospital-acquired conditions through her dedication and leadership,” said Demers. “She is also an advocate for her staff and fills in when needed and always does it with a smile on her face. She is always positive and never turns from hard work.”

“Renae and her team take pride in cleaning this facility to make sure that the infection control level is right,” added Donna Yates, the hospital’s director of health information management. “We don’t have wound-associated infections, and we haven’t had wound infections in years because this team works so hard by cleaning so well.”

Patterson said she loves her job and will not hesitate to get behind a cleaning cart because of the importance of environmental services to the hospital’s mission of providing the best patient care.

“We are important like a nurse or a doctor or anybody else in the building because we are the frontline staff who fight infections day in and day out,” Patterson pointed out.

Demers offered a similar assessment.

“They are an integral part of the patient care team,” said Demers. “And that’s what she tells her staff – ‘We are taking care of our patients,’ and ‘We are doing this for our patients.’ I think COVID proved that. Without our housekeepers during COVID-19, what would we have done? They were right in the middle of it. We weren’t sending nurses in to clean those rooms. They were going in and cleaning those COVID rooms and taking care of PPE and disposal of all of that. They are truly a team member in taking care of our patients.

“And, while not in a clinical way, they are by the bedside. Renae makes sure her staff talks to the patients when they enter a room and takes care of whatever they need. They ask them ‘What can we get you, what can we do for you?’”

In her nomination of Patterson, Demers shared an example of how Renae went the extra mile to assist a hospital co-worker’s brother who had been brought into the emergency room, staying with the family to make sure they were okay, helping them get food, and assisting in the individual’s transfer to another facility. Demers also pointed out that Renae is quick to volunteer in situations like that at the hospital or for community service projects such as Andalusia’s Christmas parade, visits to the local senior center, and supporting area food drives.

“She considers this hospital her home and her family, and she considers the community her family members,” said Demers. “She wants to make sure everyone is taken care of and whatever she can do to volunteer, she is usually the first to do so.”

Brooke Greathouse, Andalusia Health’s education director, said Renae always brings the “caregiver” perspective to her work in environmental services.

“When it comes to patient care for her, it’s something she takes seriously ‒ it’s something that she does because she cares,” said Greathouse. “It’s not because someone is telling her she has to do it, it’s not because she has to do her leader rounds, it’s not because it’s going to affect or impact patient experience scores ‒ it’s because she cares for our patients and wants them to do well and go home to their loved ones.”

For Patterson, the honor was an unexpected reward for doing what she enjoys with a great team.

“I love it,” she said of her work at Andalusia Health. “I have an awesome team, and they all pull together to get the job done. We have very, very good teamwork, and we don’t leave each other behind. If someone is a little behind in a department and the others are caught up, they’ll just float down to that department and get it done. We all come in together, and we all like to leave together.”