How a Housekeeper Transformed a Patient’s Life: A Lesson From Patient Surveys

To understand how Mount Sinai teams can better serve their patients, the Office of Patient Experience relies on vital data from the Hospital Consumery Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems. These surveys also include space for patient comments, and sometimes these comments provide powerful opportunities for celebration and learning.

3 min read

To understand how Mount Sinai teams can better serve their patients, the Office of Patient Experience relies on vital data from the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS). This data is derived from patient responses to surveys measuring their experience with the Mount Sinai Health System. The surveys also include space for patient comments, and from these comments come opportunities for learning and celebration.

The story of patient Cheryl Reid-Lewis, a former home health aide who underwent bariatric surgery at Mount Sinai Morningside in 2019, is a powerful example of how a positive experience with an employee can help transform a life. “She wrote to us about her experience and the person who meant the most to her and made the most impact on her experience,” says Erica Rubinstein, MS, LCSW, CPXP, Vice President of Service Excellence and Patient Experience at the Mount Sinai Health System. 

That employee turned out to be someone unexpected: a housekeeper named Migel Clarke. Eventually the story of his dedication became example to all, and it was highlighted by the Patient Experience team in a presentation at Press Ganey's first Human Experience Conference in February 2023. Migel was a guest of honor at the session and was given a standing ovation by conference attendees.

This is the story featured in the team's report:

Alone in her room after undergoing surgery, Cheryl heard a knock at the door. After she invited Migel in, he politely addressed Cheryl by her name, which was written on her chart, then asked for permission to tidy up her room. As he cleaned, he noticed she was not feeling well. 

“I was in pain—a lot of pain,” she remembers. “When he got the nurses’ attention, he got them to come and assist me.” She recalled a later incident in which she had gotten sick in the bathroom. When Migel came into the room and saw her trying to clean it up herself, he ushered her back to bed and got to work cleaning. The experience, she says, felt like she was at home. “I could just stop worrying for once,” Cheryl says.  

When Cheryl had to return to the hospital for another procedure in 2021, she heard a knock on her door: Again, it was Migel. “I said, ‘Do you remember me?' He looked at my name on my chart and said, ‘Yes. I remember you,’” she says. Migel did his job exactly as he had done so the first time: “He maintained that stability of perfect hospitality,” Cheryl says. The experience inspired her to complete the patient experience survey when it arrived at her home. 

Cheryl explains why she felt Migel should be recognized: “He was genuine. He loves his job, and he does it to the best of his ability.” 

Migel says Cheryl’s recognition made him feel like a “superstar.” “I feel so humbled being recognized on this level,” he says. “I’m doing what I'm supposed to do; I’m doing something I love to do. It's a good feeling.” 

He explains his approach to how he treats patients: “My job comes easy for me to do on a daily basis, because I look at everyone as family, not just as a patient.” 

With how seriously he takes his work each and every day, Migel exemplifies how everyone within the Mount Sinai Health System—no matter what their job is—contributes to saving the lives of patients, says Arthur A. Gianelli, MBA, MPH, FACHE, Chief Transformation Officer for the Mount Sinai Health System and President of Mount Sinai Morningside. 

“Migel knows if he takes his work seriously, and if he does his work to the best of his ability, he's going to make a difference in the lives of the patients whose rooms he goes into,” Mr. Gianelli says. “And it may make all of the difference between somebody getting well and somebody not getting well, and somebody seeing a new future for themselves and somebody maybe not seeing that future for themselves.” 

After meeting Migel, Cheryl began to see a new future for herself: housekeeping. “I became a housekeeper in a hospital because of Migel,” she says. “And every time I do my job, I mimic what he does.” She says Environmental Services employees should never doubt the impact they have on patients. “Take a look at your coworker Migel, and follow in his footsteps.”  

“This is just one story made possible through Mount Sinai’s dedication to listening to patient voice data,” Ms. Rubinstein says, “coupled with a firm commitment to amplifying the staff voice.”  

Erica Rubinstein, Tara Villon, Senior Director of Experience Strategy and Data, and Nicole Porto, Director, Experience Strategy, Engagement & Coaching, give a presentation at Press Ganey's first Human Experience Conference in February 2023.

  • In our patients' own words

"Migel, who cleaned my room, is a wonderful asset. He was friendly, kind, and courteousa welcome face in the morning! Migel is wonderful!"

"Everything was wonderful; big thanks to housekeeper Migel."

– Two Mount Sinai Morningside patients