Environmental Services Healthcare Hospitality & Patient Care

EVS Directors Weigh-In: First Impressions and the Patient Experience

As the saying goes, “You never get a second chance at a first impression.” In a pandemic, this especially rings true for healthcare facilities. The patient experience begins at the front door, making first impressions an integral part of a facility's success.

To learn more, we spoke with EVS Directors from facilities across the country about the importance of first impressions and how it impacts patient satisfaction.

Where does the first impression start, and why is it important?

Cristy Stewart, Director, Nashville, TN 

“The first impression of a facility starts on the outside. If it looks maintained and welcoming on the outside, then you know it will be taken care of on the inside. They should mirror each other.”

Rose Kjos, Director, Minneapolis, MN

“First impressions play a vital role in patient satisfaction. If a patient and their loved ones are coming into an unkempt front area, like a lobby or a restroom, they may automatically assume that their room will be as well.”

Erva Trotter, Director, Denver, CO

“Good first impressions provide reassurance. Patients and visitors expect a sterile environment when they’re coming into any healthcare facility, so visibility of our team, as well as frequently checking our work, provides that reassurance and makes a lasting impression. An area such as a lobby should be just as clean as a patient's room.”

What has been the impact of COVID-19 on your team and facility?

Rose Kjos, Director, Minneapolis, MN

“Nowadays, many visitors don’t make it past the lobby because of COVID-19 restrictions, so having a welcoming entrance is very important, as well as focusing on high-touch areas. Emphasizing cleanliness and safety has been huge for us and has helped us make that positive first impression.”

Erva Trotter, Director, Denver, CO

“When the pandemic hit, we reiterated to our team that while doctors and clinicians may be taking care of patients, it’s just as much our job to take care of doctors and clinicians. Not only do we create a safe environment for patients to get care, but we also create a safe environment for our medical staff to work. We have to do our job so that they can do theirs. I think it has really reminded everyone that EVS teams are just as vital to a facility.”

Cristy Stewart, Director, Nashville, TN 

“COVID-19 has shined a light on the importance of a good EVS team. We sanitize everything from rooms to light switches to handrails, so people see that and understand that we’re working just as hard to keep them safe. It’s really shown how truly detailed housekeeping is and how important we are to a facility.”

How do you motivate your team to make a good first impression?

Erva Trotter, Director, Denver, CO

“I tell my team all of the time that I feel comfortable walking into our facility because I know we are the ones ensuring that it’s clean. I want everyone that walks through our doors to feel the same way.”

Cristy Stewart, Director, Nashville, TN 

“When our team receives positive feedback and recognition for their hard work, it keeps them going. They realize that they’re more than an EVS team — they’re the backbone of the facility. In addition to positive affirmation, it’s important to reflect on bad first impressions I’ve had and implement what I would do differently at our facility. That way, visitors and patients won’t have the same experience that I had.”

Rose Kjos, Director, Minneapolis, MN

“Our team understands that the doors would not be open without us ensuring that our facility is clean and safe. They take so much pride in their work, and seeing that they make a difference in the facility and in the community motivates them to do their best.”