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For Hometown Hero, ‘It’s the small things’

KDMC housekeeping supervisor one of many unsung heroes of healthcare

Melvin Pittman shares his compassion for others through his job in housekeeping.

Pittman, 41, is a husband and father. He and his wife Kristi have three daughters: Raven, Audriana and Brooklyn.

Pittman commutes from Monticello each day to his job at King’s Daughters Medical Center, where he has worked for 15 years.

He has spent 12 of those years working in housekeeping. He originally started out in nonemergency transportation, and then he made the switch to housekeeping and has been there ever since. He serves as daytime supervisor.

“It was just something I felt like I could do,” Pittman said.

Pittman considers his job’s greatest joy to be the people he interacts with daily.

“It’s meeting the people and patients,” Pittman said. “It’s interacting with coworkers.”

Pittman said the relationships he has with his coworkers are special.

“It’s a big family,” Pittman said. “You get to know everyone on a personal level.”

As for struggles, Pittman sees those on the job too.

“It’s seeing a family lose a loved one,” Pittman said. “You can’t just walk past it and not feel compassion.”

In his position, all he can try to do is provide comfort to those who are suffering a loss.

“You’ve gotta say something,” Pittman said. “Show them compassion.”

Working in housekeeping during the COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t been easy. It’s required housekeepers to put in more effort to keep hospital rooms and other areas clean.

“There’s been a lot of changing in the way with cleaning now,” Pittman said. “We have to do more sanitizing than we’ve done before.”

Working with COVID-19 patients has been especially challenging.

“If a patient is positive, everything has to be disinfected,” Pittman said. “We’re taking more precautions than normal.”

For Pittman personally, he misses the comradery of working in the hospital.

“Social distancing has made things hard, not being able to give hugs or handshakes,” Pittman said.

Pittman wants others to know that working in housekeeping can have ups and downs, but that the job is worth it.

“Some days it can be fine, it can be enjoyable and some days it can be very stressful,” Pittman said. “You’ve got to remember that you’ve got to do your job. But the joy of doing it is something else. I guess it’s the small things that go the long way.”

 

Story by Gracie Byrne