“It’s overwhelming. We have now become noticed for our work as front line health care workers. It makes me very happy, even when the work is very hard, but I love being part of the hospital and helping people.” 

Lily Bucahan is a beacon of joy. 

Any who have the chance to speak with this wife and mother will feel straight away the bright energy she carries and generously shares. It’s no wonder she is so beloved by her colleagues and peers.  

A helping hand 

For 11 years, Lily has worked as a housekeeper (and now lead hand) at VGH. Lily’s job specifically lands her in the operating rooms, ensuring everything is properly sanitized and prepared for the expert medical teams to be able to perform the complex procedures they do every day. 

It’s a role—particularly highlighted in the pandemic—of the utmost importance to keep the hospital functioning and efficient, ensuring patients are safe when entering into surgery. 

“It’s a hard job, but it’s so important to the hospital,” says Lily. “Our work ensures the surgeons and nurses are able to do theirs.” 

Typically, Lily starts her day at 8:30 in the morning. She signs in and, as lead hand, speaks with the charge nurses to understand the cases for the day. Lily must take into consideration special cases, such as airborne diseases or COVID-19 patients, as this will dictate the chemicals they use to clean, PPE requirements and how many housekeepers may go in and out of the space. 

“I have to understand what is exactly happening every day inside and out.” 

On an average day, Lily interacts with approximately 50 staff and learns their specific needs for their patients. She passes this information along to her team, assigning roles as needed and preparing her own duties as well. It’s a role that has only become more complicated with COVID-19. 

“For COVID-infected patients, we wear PPE, do extra hygiene checks and they have their own specific cleaning plans,” says Lily. “Once we are in the PPE, we are not allowed to exit the room until it is completed.” 

It’s hard work and filled with pressure, which Lily says only gets compounded when new variants of the disease emerge. 

But she wouldn’t trade it for anything else. 

“It’s very happy work,” says Lily. “And I am proud to be part of the front line health care workers. And I want to say to all the front line staff around the world, thank you. You are so appreciated.” 

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