Quiet and humble are two words that co-workers frequently use to describe Valerie Macey, an environmental services attendant at The Medical Center at Franklin (Ky.). 

By all indications, Macey has not lost any of her humility even after winning many awards and accolades for her tireless dedication and positive attitude on the job. 

The latest in her growing list of honors is the prestigious Heart of Healthcare Award, which she received in Orlando, Fla., at the EXCHANGE 2017 Conference and Solution Center held by the Association for the Healthcare Environment (AHE) of the American Hospital Association.

Valerie Macey

Valerie Macey was presented with this year’s Heart of Healthcare Award.

Photo courtesy of The Medical Center at Franklin

The award, sponsored by Kimberly-Clark Professional, was developed to recognize outstanding front-line environmental services personnel who support safety initiatives and reduction and prevention of health care-associated infections (HAIs). 

“Nominating Valerie for the award was definitely a very easy decision. When I read the qualifications, I knew Valerie met or exceeded every one of them,” says Macey’s supervisor, Sheron L. Harper, administrative services manager at the medical center.

“She is compassionate and kind with our patients and their family members, and she is very knowledgeable and meticulous with her cleaning and disinfection practices. She is the real deal, nothing fake or pretentious about her,” Harper says. 

As the award sponsor, Kimberly-Clark Professional is fully aware of the critical impact that environmental services staff have on patient safety and preventing the spread of HAIs.

“We are proud to be part of a program that recognizes the crucial contributions of health care environmental services technicians,” says Sarah Happel, health care segment leader, Kimberly-Clark Professional. 

“Studies have shown that hospitals that focus on the patient experience have shorter average lengths of stay and a decreased need for follow-up care. People like Valerie Macey play a key role in achieving these kinds of results,” Happel says. 

Macey’s previous honors include the Ambassador Award, which is the hospital’s most prestigious customer service award, and Ancillary Person of the Year Award, selected by staff in all hospital departments. Staff recently celebrated Macey’s being named a “Hometown Hero” by the local TV station.

Macey quietly walks the talk as demonstrated by the proven superior quality of her work, which is documented through testing for cleanliness and disinfection. 

“Management often tests areas that employees have cleaned using adenosine triphosphate verification systems,” says Annette Runyon, the medical center’s vice president/administrator, in her letter recommending Macey’s nomination for the Heart of Healthcare Award.  

“Valerie has consistently measured above the 95th percentile with cleanliness as she is diligent with disinfecting rooms and high-touch areas, which keeps patients safe and prevents HAIs,” Runyon says.  

And that speaks volumes.