I’m a People Person
The most important part of my job is not just the cleaning...
I’m Teresa Bullock. I work for Environmental Service, which is housekeeping, and I'm a housekeeper. I’ve been here at Presbyterian Hospital for eight years. And I just love my patients and I love my job.
I think the most important part of my job is not just cleaning. Cause anybody can clean. But somebody just needs to hear something good sometimes. Some people up there by theirselves and don't have no visitors and no nobody like that, so somebody want to hear kind word or something nice.
I’m not going to sit here and say “Oh I love to clean” - no. I'm a people person. So it's being around the people and cheering them up. That’s where my heart is at. That's where I get the joy at. If I can cheer somebody up that's having a bad day, then I'm fine.
The pandemic, is a hard thing. Just them being up there by there by theirselves. They need something, they need somebody to say something to them. They need a hug. You can't treat people like they’re some kind of a virus or something like that. People are still people. And people just want you to say something or touch them or pray with them. Or let them know it's gonna be all right. So COVID aint gonna beat me. I'm gonna beat COVID.
You want me to go into the story of the lady? Well, it’s a normal day, and usually I just start off coming up on the floor get my cart together, and go to each room. And I go in and on the board, I put on there ‘Feel Better.’ And I always put a SMILEY face. I went into the room and I was talking and I was putting my message on the board for her. And she wasn't saying nothing, so I turned around and looked and she was like slumped over. Drool was coming out of her mouth and I knew something was not right. I pressed her button to alert the nurse, and I said we need in here right now!
Then I went out in the hallway and said ‘We need somebody in here right now!” They came running to the room, and then they called a code. And I just stayed in the hallway. I just kept on praying. “Oh Lord, please just let it be alright." So they worked on her. They took her to the PACU (Post-Anesthesia Care Unit) side. They told me that she was going to be all right, and that's all I wanted to hear. And the nurse thanked me, and everybody was thanking me like for just being alert and just being aware.
Being a housekeeper, they just think we the bottom, you know, sometimes that we don't matter. Sometimes I just feel like I don't count, but in my heart, I know I do. We are very important, because even though the doctors and the nurses coming in, they can't see everything all the time. So we might be the last person in the room. We have to be alert, just like we all have to work together, we're all a team. Even though I’m a housekeeper, I'm a part of the team.
I have had difficult patients that have cussed me out. They might be having a bad day. I don’t know what the doctor might have had told them, they might have got bad news. They might be battling with their life. The way they reacting to me, I can’t react back. So I'll usually just say, “It's okay, I see you having a bad day, this too shall pass, and I'm gonna say a prayer for you.” Then I just usually just leave out the room. We have patients that we get close to, they might have been here for a while and they might pass on. We might go to the side, or somewhere we might cry. We done have patients that have been there for like months and when we see them leave, we just so excited we just clapping and we taking pictures all together.
When I go up on the floor, it’s something that a patient done said to me that done made me laugh or done cheer my spirit up and I let them know that. I said, “You know what, I needed that! You cheered me up!” and they were like “Ah Teresa…..I cheered you up?" “Yes, believe it or not.” “No, you cheered me up,” and I say “No, you cheered me up!” So we've been back and forth laughing at each other and stuff like that.
At the end of the shift, my last room, I just say, “Lord, thank God, I made it through.” I go set up my cart for tomorrow. And I just thank God, I said you made it through another day, and I’m just going to start this day over tomorrow. And that's that.
The Penn Medicine Listening Lab is a storytelling initiative that embraces the power of listening as a form of care. While the stories featured here aspire to uplift and empower, they may also describe experiences of trauma and suffering. We recognize that listening can be a vulnerable experience and offer resources at Penn Medicine and beyond through our website for those in need of support.
Tags: Compassionate Relationships