Health Facilities Management has always taken great pride in supporting hospital environmental services (ES) professionals as they've elevated their roles within the environment of care to become a front-line force in infection prevention, patient satisfaction and much more.

Now in its seventh year, our annual ES Department of the Year competition is a hallmark of this support. Conducted in cooperation with the Association for the Healthcare Environment and sponsor Cintas, the contest gives high-achieving ES departments a platform on which to share their many successful strategies and tactics.

Regarding staff education, for instance, past winners have described intensive staff training regimens with post-testing to ensure comprehension; programs to educate staff on pathogens and their effects; courses on English as a second language; boot camps on customer service; process improvement initiatives; and even efforts to rehabilitate the homeless or those recovering from substance abuse by training them for ES work and giving their lives greater purpose.

Close cooperation with other health care professionals also has been stressed by past winners as they talked about their experiences working with infection control and nursing departments.

Finally, no area of ES has advanced faster than technology, and past winners have discussed making use of surface-monitoring systems; handheld communication and data collection tools; videotaped simulation training setups; pulsed-light disinfection devices; and many other innovations.

The deadline for this year's competition is May 24, so log on to to learn how you, too, can share your ES success stories.