Jennifer Blythers isn’t sure how many times a day she goes up and down the hallways and through the crosswalks of the second floor in the North Pavilion.
|Jennifer Blythers, an environmental services specialist in UAB Hospital, is April’s Employee of the Month. Blythers takes care of the hallways and crosswalks of the second floor of the North Pavilion, but says she believes her job is more than just keeping the area clean. “My job is also to help people,” says Blythers. “I’m glad to do anything for anybody if I can.”|
It’s her job to keep the area clean, so the environmental services specialist is moving swiftly so it stays tidy. But Blythers sees her job as much more than just picking up paper off the floor and making sure the bathrooms are in pristine condition.
“My job is also to help people,” says Blythers, April’s Employee of the Month. “I’m glad to do anything for anybody if I can.”
Calee Johnson, a medical caseworker in Medical Social Services, happened to be on the receiving end of Blythers’ helping hand recently.
Johnson, who is physically challenged, found herself in a restroom on the North Pavilion in a situation where she couldn’t move without the risk of falling and injuring herself.
After a few minutes, says Johnson, she finally worked up the courage to ask for help. Blythers was in the restroom and said she’d be glad to lend a hand.
“I was thanking her and apologizing to her profusely for having to ask for her help,” Johnson says. “Her reply was, ‘No, don’t thank me. I thank you for giving me the chance to help someone today.’ Now, I was just beside myself and was tearing up because she was so sweet and respectful to me and thanked me for giving her the chance to help someone. Her unexpected reaction to my situation helped me retain my dignity in an otherwise embarrassing situation.
“A few minutes later, I gave her a really big hug and told her how much I appreciated the way she treated me. I was teary for the rest of the day and even now I am so touched,” says Johnson.
Those who have worked with Blythers during her 14 years at UAB say that’s just the type of person she is – sincere, hardworking and, most of all, kind.
“Jennifer provided environmental service support to Hospital Administration for several years,” says Linda Cole, an executive assistant to Michael Waldrum, M.D., COO of UAB Hospital. “She was a member of our team and played an important role in helping to ensure that the administrative area was cleaned and stocked with the appropriate supplies. Jennifer always is friendly, courteous and professional.
“UAB Hospital’s mission is to provide the highest quality of care and service to our patients, family members, visitors and employees and this is what Jennifer provides on a daily basis,” Cole says.
Michael Hill, manager in Environmental Services, says Blythers is “just plain friendly” and takes pride in the work she does throughout her area of the hospital.
“The North Pavilion second floor is an extremely busy area with lots of traffic, very high profile,” Hill says. “This is the first area our visitors pass through when entering the hospital. However difficult the task, Jennifer has been able to maintain this area and set the tone for what UAB visitors can expect throughout their hospital visit.”
Blythers says her Employee of the Month honor is “a little too much” for her. She says she loves to come to work every day and that her supervisors – Hill, Roderick Jackson, Anthony Patterson and Ed Crump – along with the people who work at the information desk make her days fun. And she’s especially thankful that her supervisors tell her they appreciate her work. “There’s not a day that goes by when Mr. Patterson doesn’t come through here and pick up a piece of paper or tell me ‘Jennifer, you do good work,’ ” she points out. “It means so much that my managers take the time to notice.”
And Blythers says she would be remiss if she didn’t thank people like Johnson for giving her the chance to lend a helping hand.
“That’s the type of person I am,” Blythers says. “And during the day I’m a hostess. I’m not just a housekeeper. I help people get where they’re going. I do a lot of things. That’s just me. That’s just the type of person I am whether I’m in the hospital or out on the street.”