EVS Week 2022—Tanya Thornton

Environmental services staff fight on the frontlines of infection every day: while medical staff fight infections in the body, EVS techs fight infection in the building. So this EVS week, we are thrilled to celebrate the people that keep EVS teams running.


We reached out to EVS Depart­ments who use Smart Facil­i­ty Soft­ware to ask them to nom­i­nate employ­ees on their team who reg­u­lar­ly go above and beyond: the work­ers who keep show­ing up every day to cre­ate safe, clean, car­ing envi­ron­ments for their patients, and to cre­ate a pos­i­tive envi­ron­ment for their fel­low work­ers. Over the past few weeks, we had a chance to inter­view these nom­i­nees about why they love their work, and what keeps them moti­vat­ed to keep doing it. 

One com­mon thread emerged: EVS work­ers love peo­ple (and peo­ple love them). They see their role as not just to keep build­ings clean, but to care for the patients with­in that build­ing.

Few peo­ple embody that heart for peo­ple than Tanya Thor­ton, EVS Tech at SFS client facil­i­ty CHI St. Joseph in Lex­ing­ton, Ken­tucky. We sat down with Tanya Thorn­ton and her man­agers to talk about trad­ing recipes with patients, going the extra mile for your cowork­ers, and why hos­pi­tals are a great envi­ron­ment for a peo­ple per­son.

“Tanya is phe­nom­e­nal,” Assis­tant Direc­tor Sarah Roberts says. “She is such a team play­er. She is who I would [put] on a poster for us. I want to be the best EVS team here at the hos­pi­tal, and she is the type of per­son that’s going to get us there. She does her area and her work phe­nom­e­nal­ly well.”

Before Tanya start­ed work­ing at the hos­pi­tal, she worked one-on-one with patients in hos­pice care.  But she felt like some­thing was miss­ing. “I think [I was miss­ing] peo­ple,” she says. “Because when you’re a home health aide, it’s just you and the patient. So when I came back to the hos­pi­tal, I was so hap­py. I felt like I hadn’t seen peo­ple in ages.”

“I was shy when I first start­ed,” she remem­bers, with a smile. “But then every­body greet­ed me and they were all will­ing to help. The next day, I was fine.”

Now, Tanya can’t imag­ine work­ing any­where else. “I love my job,” she tells us. “Every­body is fam­i­ly here. They’re so nice. It’s just a good place to work. I see lots of peo­ple, and I’m a peo­ple’s per­son. I like to talk. Prob­a­bly too much,” she says, with a laugh.

Tanya’s love for people is one of the things her managers appreciate most about her as a team member. “She is, at heart, a people person: joyful and pleasant and kind and inclusive,” Sarah says. 

EVS Direc­tor Scott Long agrees. “She always makes us laugh. She’s an inspi­ra­tion. She comes into work and it’s always pos­i­tive, she just comes in with a smile and plows right through any sit­u­a­tion. It’s great to come to work and have those folks work­ing for you.”

“I just want every­body to be hap­py,” Tanya says.

“I think I was brought here for a reason. [Back before I worked here], I came here to the hospital with my mom when she was a patient. And I told my aunt, I’m going to get a job here. I must have been on the right path, because ever since I’ve been meeting so many people and talking and helping out. And I love doing it.”

The feel­ing is clear­ly mutu­al; Tanya’s patients love her just as much as she loves them. “Some of my patients will be like where have you been? if I’ve had some days off,” she says, with a laugh. “They tell me they’ve missed me, and ask how my vaca­tion was. It makes me feel appre­ci­at­ed that they notice. I had one patient give me ingre­di­ents for dress­ing, and one that want­ed to cook din­ner for me––once he’s fin­ished with rehab, he said he’s going to come back and make his famous Philly Cheeses­teak for me.”

That sense of warmth and appre­ci­a­tion extends through­out the entire EVS team. “They are so won­der­ful,” Tanya says of her team mem­bers. “They’re quick to jump in and help with no ques­tion. Some days, there might be a time that you need help, and they might not even know that you real­ly need it, but they’ll be right there. I have a friend, Alber­ta, who’s always com­ing over to see if I need any­thing and I do the same with her. Some­times if we get dis­charged real late, we’ll team up and knock it out so we can both leave on time.”

Tanya’s man­agers say that she sets the tone for help­ing out team mem­bers. “She’s always look­ing to help oth­er peo­ple,” Sarah says. “When we have mem­bers of our team that are hurt­ing or in need, she’s always the first one to say hey, let me help with that. She has a true ser­van­t’s heart.”

One exam­ple of Tanya’s servant’s heart in action was when she and the rest of the team threw a baby show­er for a cowork­er. “She had nev­er had one, and she cried, and it made me feel so good,” Tanya told us. “And then I babysat her kids when she had her baby, and now they call me Aun­tie. I’ve been adopt­ed! I have nieces and nephews now,” she says, laugh­ing.

“My team is my family away from family,” she says. “That’s how I look at it.”

We hope you found the sto­ries of the EVS work­ers who keep hos­pi­tals across the coun­try run­ning as inspir­ing as we did. And if you haven’t already, be sure to thank an EVS mem­ber for their work this week.

If you’d like to learn more about how we can support your team, give us a call anytime at 800–260-8665, ext. 108 or email info@smartfacilitysoftware.com.