When Wendy Torres graduated from high school, she knew she wanted to help people. So she went into nursing. When she graduated and couldn’t secure a nursing job but needed to pay her bills, someone suggested she work at Servicon. She applied and was hired as a housekeeper. When the company offered her a choice of cleaning offices or hospitals, she said, “hospitals, hospitals!”
Torres’ nursing background came in handy from the start. “I know what to do if we experience an emergency,” she says. “I also know the difference between scabies and bed bugs, how to deal with blood, and those sorts of things.”
What she didn’t know, however, was how to clean in a hospital environment. She credits Servicon’s training program and leaders with giving her this vital knowledge. “When I first started, I told my supervisor I had never done this sort of work,” she says. “He told me not to worry. ‘We got this,’ and he worked alongside me until I did.”
In time, Torres secured a nursing job and continued to work at Servicon part-time. She found she enjoyed cleaning and knowing that her career helps to save lives. She especially liked the interaction it gave her with patients.
“People open up to us,” she says. “When we go in to clean patients’ rooms, we tell them our name. We ask them how they are doing, how their day is going. They start talking, and we listen. It comes naturally.”
Torres enjoyed her work at Servicon so much that she quit her nursing job at a convalescent home and returned to Servicon full time.
That was seven years ago. Since then, Torres has been promoted from frontline worker to team lead, site supervisor, and most recently, to healthcare operations manager. “I am so thankful for my experience on the front line,” she says. “It’s what I value most because I understand what our workers go through daily.”
Yet nothing could prepare her for the COVID pandemic, which presented some new challenges for Torres and her team.
“COVID was scary,” she says. “In our Hispanic culture, we love to hug and kiss. I didn’t tell staff not to hug their children, but I reminded them to keep washing their hands. At work, the frontline workers were scared. When one older woman had to clean her first COVID patient’s room, she said, ‘Don’t make me go in alone.’ I told her, ‘We will do this together. If you get sick, I get sick. If I get sick, don’t worry.’ The worker crossed herself before she went in. When we came out, I helped her take off her PPE and bent down to wipe her shoes because they touched the COVID patient’s floor. ‘You are so humble,’ she said. I told her, ‘I want to take care of you. You are my family.'”
One year later, no one on the team had gotten sick. Wendy continues to lead her team with safety as their number one priority.
Torres believes, “Servicon is very important to the Hispanic community; 80% to 90% of Servicon employees are Hispanic. Servicon embraces our culture and diversity, and I feel like the company lends a helping hand and opens its doors to the community when others don’t.
“I love working at Servicon. The company is big on family, and the leaders make me feel appreciated. They make me feel that I matter as an employee. It’s a big company that still cares.”