By Jose Medrano, Director, Environmental Services, Harlem Hospital Center
We’re all aware of the significant impact Crothall’s emphasis on diversity and inclusion is having on our company’s success. But I wanted to share how, given the opportunity to work hard and succeed, it has changed one family in particular: mine. Because of some exciting career opportunities offered to us during the past 13 years, my brother, sister, cousin and I are all working and thriving at Crothall.
Born in the Dominican Republic, my immediate family moved here in 1995. I was only 11 years old, and like many other immigrants, my family came here in search of the American dream. Now, 24 years later, I’ve achieved much of that dream – I’m an EVS director with responsibility for 140 associates at one of the nation’s premier healthcare facilities.
But I’m just one of several in my family to succeed. My brother, Regis, is the director of EVS services at Mount Sinai in New York while my sister, Teresa, is an assistant director for EVS at Mount Sinai - West. Our cousin, Eliceo Rivera, is the assistant director for EVS at North Central Bronx Hospital.
Our family’s affair with Crothall begins innocently enough. One day back in 2006, Regis was giving a friend a ride. He was looking for a job and the friend referred him for a patient transport associate role. He was hired and his career arc began with a promotion to EVS operations manager in 2006 and eventually, a director.
My sister took a different route. After graduating from State University of New York in 2014, she accepted a position as a patient experience manager. Two years later, my cousin, Eliceo started as an operations manager.
Our good fortune has had a big impact on our already tight-knit family. When we get together during weekends or the holidays, our conversations eventually turn to work-related topics: operations, HCHAPS questions, cleaning techniques, and duty lists. If any of us are preparing for or recently experienced a visit by the Joint Commission, we want to hear the results on safety and quality. We are very competitive, yet we are also very supportive of each other.
Like others, our careers have had their bumpy patches – but we’ve found co-workers to help pick us up. Ten years ago, after my mother became ill, I left college and returned home to work and help pay the bills. With a recommendation from Regis, I was able to get a job in the Patient Transport unit.
I initially thought the job was largely a call center position, but quickly learned otherwise. As a patient flow coordinator, I had to manage the movement of patients to make certain they were quickly transported from one location to the next. I needed to interact with nurses, doctors, and patients, all calling with various concerns.
At times, I would become frustrated. During my first couple of months on the job, it sometimes was hard to coordinate multiple requests to transport patients in a timely manner. One day, during a shift change, I had so many requests to transport patients that I was overwhelmed and blamed others for missed assignments.
This memorable low turned out to also be a turning point in my career. My supervisor, Ramon (or Ray as we called him) pulled me aside and provided some wise counsel. Ray, too, was born in the Dominican Republic. He started as a dispatcher and told me how he learned the system and grew into a unit director role. He said I had two choices: quit or learn to be a better manager. After listening to Ray, now the EVS assistant director at Mount Sinai Medical Center, I focused on learning our system so I could quickly handle new assignments.
And it worked. After one year, I was promoted to Patient Transport Operations Manager. When an opportunity to advance came available in EVS, I moved and I’ve been there ever since.
During the past four years, I’ve managed one of the most diverse staffs in our company. It is a true melting pot – African-Americans and Hispanics, people from cultures based in Asia and the Middle East. They bring a wide range of cultures, languages, and customs to our workforce. Before I came to America, I wasn’t exposed to people from other countries or cultures, so it’s been extremely interesting to learn so much about so many different people.
Given our diversity, my management style depends heavily on communications throughout the staff. I like to get to know people personally. I have one-on-one discussions with everyone on my staff to find out their background and culture. I also let them know I started out in their shoes and understand their struggle. If they don’t understand a certain task or don’t immediately mesh with certain co-workers, I can help. In the end, I’m still a housekeeper and like to get my hands dirty. It helps them understand that we may have different backgrounds, but we are here to succeed.
I spend time with everyone and make sure I’m fair and equal to each person. I let my managers know that we cannot show favoritism to one person; it’s not right because it will immediately divide the group. Everybody who works here is on my team.
It’s clear that our success as a company is due in part to our ability to embrace diversity and inclusion. Every day, I work with people who don’t look or talk like me – and it’s a gift. As a manager, I will continue to look out for them and help guide them in their career journey.
Join the Compass One Family as a Crothall Associate
Looking for meaningful work helping people? Do you want to marry your passions and serving others? Check out available team member or management opportunities to join the Compass One Healthcare and Crothall Healthcare family. We believe in providing exceptional patient experiences and are proud of the opportunities we have each day to help people and serve alongside world-class clients.
Crothall is a proud part of Compass One Healthcare and Compass Group USA.