Cesar Perez, manager of environmental services at CaroMont Regional Medical Center, Gastonia, N.C., and fellow manager Wesley Stiles were both inspired by the great success of a staffing training program implemented earlier this year under the leadership of Environmental Services Director James Magnanti.

The Environmental Services Career Enhancement Program, designed to not only educate front-line staff on how to do their jobs better, but also to give employees opportunities for achievement and growth, has been a huge success for the 435-bed hospital.

Composed of a three-tiered system, every environmental services employee in good standing is eligible to participate in the program after six months on the job. Each tier has several weeks of training, both classroom and computer-based, and ends with a final exam or exercise to show that each participant has mastered the skills required to move through the program.

Upon achievement of a new tier, staff members earn a new title — Environmental Services Tech I, II or III — and a 5 percent increase in pay. Tier 3 results in the employee earning the AHE’s CHEST (Certified Healthcare Environmental Services Technician) certification.

Although environmental services technicians do not care for patients in a traditional sense, their role still has an impact on infection rates, costs, quality of care, patient experience and outcomes.

CHEST sets national standards specifically for environmental services technicians working in health care. Some of the key benefits of the program include increased patient safety, efficiency and professionalism; an engaged environmental services staff; and improved patient satisfaction.  

“Their No. 1 job in the hospital is to help prevent infections,” explains Perez. “This program gives them the skills to better understand their role in the process, set themselves apart as leaders in our department and support patient care.”

Stiles also notes that the program has boosted morale and dramatically improved the retention rate, something the department has struggled with for three years.

This past month, the program celebrated its first Tier 3 graduation ceremony, where nine employees earned CHEST certification.

“I am extremely proud of this group,” says Magnanti. “Being the first to achieve Tier 3 is a huge accomplishment. This shows their dedication to our organization and to our patients.”

CaroMont expects to welcome 18 more employees into the program in the coming months.

James Magnanti is environmental services director at CaroMont Health, Gastonia, N.C. His co-authors were Cesar Perez and Wesley Stiles, who are environmental services managers at CaroMont Health. 


Valuable resources available from AHE

Visit AHE's website to learn more about the following resources. 

Practice guidance available

Practice Guidance for Healthcare Environmental Cleaning, second edition, helps to define and advance the professionals responsible for care of the health care environment to ensure high-quality outcomes and healthy communities. This manual provides evidence-based research, guidance and recommended practices that should be considered for inclusion in health care environmental services departments. Because each facility has its own needs, this resource has been designed to enhance an existing program.

Certificate of Mastery in Infection Prevention

This certificate is a robust program that provides environmental services professionals with requisite knowledge to meet the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' requirements for a trained professional in infection prevention and control specific to the clinical environment of care. 

Certified Healthcare Environmental Services Technician Certificate

This certification focuses on critical areas of competency for front-line technicians, including infection prevention, quality of care, patient outcomes and experience.