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Towel Animals

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Posted 1/31/2014

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They are the unsung heroes at The Nebraska Medical Center. Every day, they change bedding, clean the bathrooms, wipe down counters and make sure hundreds of rooms are spotless for patients. "I'm big on my cleanliness," says Cecily Graham, a member of the Environmental Services team at the med center. "I like to make sure each room is picture perfect." Graham isn't alone. From day one on the job, EVS workers are taught to take great pride in their work. "I love my job," smiles EVS staff member Patricia Taye. "I like to make my patient happy. When I see them happy, I feel happy." Taye has worked at the med center for almost seven years. One way she and the rest of the staff make patients happy is by creating "towel animals" for those staying on the Pediatric, Oncology and Transplant units. "It started a few years ago," explains Jonathan Nguyen, the general manager for EVS. "We wanted to enhance the patient experience. Our entire team is trained on how to make the animals. They're excited and engaged to learn the process because they want to provide extraordinary care." On average, the EVS staff creates 150 towel animals a day. "You get a little nervous," admits Graham. "The animals are hard to make -- but you get used to it." Currently, the EVS team twists the towels into dog and elephant shapes, but may expand to other designs in the future. "We're proud of what we've done," says Nguyen. "We always find that we get positive feedback from our patients. Most think the animal towels are really cute. If we could deliver the 'cruise ship experience' to each one of our guests, I don't think that would be such a bad thing."