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Harish Jayadharan loves the freedom to move around the hospital that comes with his job.
A porter in the Transportation Services Department at Toronto General Hospital (TGH) for the past eight years, Harish says a highlight of his work is interacting with patients and staff.
The COVID-19 pandemic, despite its impact on our daily lives, has done little to curb Harish's resilience, enthusiasm and positive outlook, even amid added pressure and workload.
Behind a mask, you can see Harish is still smiling as he walks through the halls of TGH, helping visitors find their way, providing equipment and resources for staff and patients, and doing many other transportation duties that help the hospital run smoothly.
"At the beginning of COVID, we didn't know what to expect," Harish recalls. "It was stressful, but we knew that the needs of the hospital were higher.
"I am doing my best to stay healthy and, in my personal life, I started following methods and brought it down to basics to keep myself safe and mentally positive, because I wanted to make sure I wouldn't affect anyone at the hospital."
Harish is among the many outstanding TeamUHN members who are being celebrated Nov. 15 to 21 as part of UHN Support Services and Nutrition Appreciation Week. An exemplary group of people who behind the scenes are rising up to the challenge of the pandemic, they are helping maintain the care that patients and visitors have come to expect of UHN.
"This week is an opportunity for everyone at UHN to thank and appreciate a very humble group of superheroes," says Joanne Bridle, Senior Director, Environmental Services and Nutrition. "All of them work very quietly behind the scenes but have a huge impact both on patient satisfaction and patient outcomes."
'They amaze me every day'
Support Services is comprised of operations which are foundational to the success of UHN including: Environmental Services, often referred to as housekeeping, Transportation Services, also known as porters, Laundry/Linen, Mail Services and Nutrition Services.
Throughout her career in healthcare, Joanne has always valued and recognized the importance of these positions. While in university studying to become a Registered Dietitian, Joanne worked in hospital food services and as a housekeeper. This unique work history has given her the keen insight as a leader to understand how critical the Support Service and Nutrition staff are to UHN's success.
"This is our opportunity to say thank you and make sure they're celebrated," Joanne says. "They amaze me every day.
"I've worked in healthcare for 25 years and I've never worked with such a dedicated group of people, who are so passionate about patient care and understand their role and the impact that they have on the organization."
Tracey Noftall, Manager of Support Services at TGH, whose team includes Harish, recognizes the exemplary qualities that her team members show on a daily basis.
"I'm very proud of my team and the support they show the hospital on a daily basis," Tracey says. "They come in every day and are committed and proud of the work they do."
Harish echoes those sentiments.
"This is my second home and I love being here to help people," he says.
UHN Support Services and Nutrition Appreciation Week is recognizing TeamUHN members who work in a variety areas in addition to Transportation Services, including: (top row, L to R) Amanda Viggers, Nutrition Services, Gus Litsios, Environmental Services, Huy Ly, Laundry/Linen; (middle row, L to R) Gulam Malek, Mailroom Department, Cheryl Clarke, Core Catering in Nutrition Services, Beltline Team, Nutrition Services; (bottom row, L to R) Shirleen Melder, Environmental Services, Ricky Lima and Neil Khan, Environmental Services, Ingrid Jurolan, Core Catering in Nutrition Services. (Photos: UHN) Please note all photos of people without masks were taken before the pandemic was declared in March 2020.