Stephan Vick, CHEST, winner of the 2019 Heart of Health Care Award.

Image Courtesy of Northside Hospital

Stephan Vick, CHEST, lives by one simple motto: “Spread love, not germs.”

As an environmental services (EVS) technician II at Northside Hospital in Atlanta for the past six years, Vick’s adherence to that motto has meant a lot to the patients he serves in the hospital’s blood and marrow transplant (BMT) unit. It also helped him gain national recognition as the 2019 Heart of Health Care Award recipient.

The Heart of Health Care Award is sponsored by the Association for the Health Care Environment and Kimberly-Clark Professional. It honors EVS technicians making a difference in support of safety, and reduction of health care-associated infections.

According to Monique Jackson, T-CHEST, EVS training coordinator, Vick more than fulfills the qualifications for this award.

“The BMT unit has specialized cleaning that is required to protect the patients, as they have no immune systems during this treatment,” Jackson explains. “The specialized cleaning requires additional steps and a lot of patience.”

Despite the depth of work Vick must perform, supervisors, co-workers and even patients say that he always manages to find time to take care of not only his work, but the needs of others, as well.

“It starts with me,” Vick says. “When I wake up, I get myself together so that I can help get my patients together. I like to laugh and speak to everyone, and I want people to feel comfortable with me. ”

Last year, Vick befriended a woman who spent 10 months in the hospital caring for her niece who had a compromised immune system. When Vick learned that one of the cleaning agents used made the niece feel nauseous, he began using a new cleaning agent and made sure his co-workers followed suit. He often brought food, water and lighthearted conversation to the room, as well as a shoulder to cry on when the woman’s niece passed away. The aunt wrote of Vick that “a stranger became a friend,” and they are friends to this day.

In fact, Vick has many friends who were former patients that come to visit him and bring him a cake for his birthday. Many co-workers celebrated him the day the award was announced.

“All eyes were on me, and everyone was smiling but I didn’t know why,” Vick says. “They gave me the news on a conference call, and I broke down and cried. It feels good. It’s a good feeling just to be appreciated.”