I have been a cleaner / housekeeper within the NHS since I was 16, I have grown up through my adult life working here and have had some incredible experiences both happy and sad, and have seen some interesting things happen over the years.

Here is my proof: https://imgur.com/a/F2kBBk2

I have blurred out parts of my badge as it is the name of the trust I work at.

Yes, I am wearing scrubs, I am now on the deep-clean team so scrubs mean I am not bringing infected work clothes home.

There has been a lot of changes here since Covid started, but the societal changes with short staff and wages have also been visible in my role but also the majority of the roles within a hospital setting.

I think working here from a teen to now has created an interesting outlook on life and has given me some amazing qualities to move onto a career now that I have graduated university.

Of course there will be some answers which I will have to give broad answers too. I will have to adhere to confidentiality in some respects so I will not give specific details on those certain answers, but will try to be as open as I can when answering:)

The hospital I work at I have a second family here, i have about 20 work mum and dads, and have built friendships that will last me a lifetime.

Appreciate your time in asking questions and look forward to answering them!:)

final thoughts

I appreciate everyone who asked questions and got involved. The NHS is a great place to work, but I will say that there needs to be a huge amount done to support the staff and improve as a whole. Management and higher ups do not have the staffs best interests at heart unfortunately, and we see that with rules being changed by the hour to fit their means. I’ll still be happy to answer any questions anyone wants to ask, I just saw something that said you need to do this when things die down etc. appreciate the nurses and doctors and staff like family wherever you are. Hopefully it’ll get better!

Comments: 23 • Responses: 8  • Date: 

dooferoaks24 karma

As a nurse I appreciate just how important good housekeeping staff are, do you get respect generally from nurses/Drs/Physios etc?


GenoAir25 karma

Hiya, sorry just finished my shift so apologies for the long replies!

It’s quite mixed to be fair, I know when cleaning on wards and you’re cleaning around a bed space, a lot of doctors will not even acknowledge you and just pull the curtain which is our cue to move away haha.

But then the majority are amazing, we can sit and speak like we’re equals, they’ll help out where they can, we talk a lot with the NA’s and it helps everyone get through the shifts.

I worked on the orthopaedics departments Monday to Friday in the evenings whilst I was at college the first few years of me being there, the doctors, nurses and secretaries there were amazing and always looked after me.

And I think now being on the deep clean team and public areas, I’m talking and chatting to a lot of people so it’s super friendly within our trust. There’s always the odd bad egg but the majority is one big family.

Appreciate how much you do, I know how hard it is to be a nurse the last couple years, I know the paperwork side of things is taking up a lot of the care time. Have you had similar experiences on your shifts?

filthylimericks3 karma

I work in a similar position to you in healthcare (operations/delivery) and it really is amazing the variation in the way that medical professionals will treat the entry level people. I suppose that's reflective of their personality as a whole though.

anon10294362926 karma

Just a heads up, generally ‘rude’ junior doctors are not rude because of you, they are just really overwhelmed and juggling too many things at once. If it is targeted rudeness fuck them, but that’s generally not the case I hope.

Both times I’ve had someone say to me ‘well that was rude’ or ‘could have a bit more polite’ I had either cried within the last 20 minutes or was about to cry, and realistically if I was in any other job would not be attempting to keep working.

I quite often ignore cleaners etc, but it’s genuinely because I’m trying to remember 5 things at the same time, whilst also listening to my boss (who might shout at me if I miss something) and a nurse who’s trying to ask me a question, and the stupid bleep going off. We also move jobs every 4 months at my stage, so names end up meaning nothing because you trying to learn 100 new names every few months, plus all your patients.

Sorry if this comes off as rude, outside of work when we’ve had sleep I swear we are normal people. We are all just very very burnt out.

And generally from a junior POV we don’t look down on you, although I am certainly jealous of your pay on weekends and bank holidays.

GenoAir3 karma

I’m quite glad you replied to this mate, I can tell you now the junior docs are amazing at my trust, can still crack the banter and they’re very polite. You do have the odd one as I said previously this is down to their personality, I don’t take things like that to heart because I know how busy everyone is and most of the time it’s because of the situation rather than the person.

The name thing made me laugh though haha, there’s way too many names to remember so usually it’s a ‘you alright mate!’ Rather than first names haha.

But I do have a huge amount of respect for you all, I know how stressful it’s gotten and the amount of pressure you’re all under, we had a junior take his life about 2 years ago because of all the stress and shook the whole hospital.

I know it’s hard as hell your job, but I know how much of an impact you’re also making. So I appreciate you to be one of the good ones,. As I said, the whole trust is one big family, sometimes there’s arguments but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Thanks a lot for commenting, and keep up the amazing work you do

GenoAir2 karma

Absolutely this, not sure if this is my personality or being there a while, but the rude doctors / head nurses I’ll stand up too just as much as anyone else.

I worked a lot on theatres and I’d say 80% of the surgeons will know me by first name, ask me about what’s going on in life and I’ll do the same and sit and chat for a while with me which always feels great.

I think over the years it’s just been building relationships with people. There will always be the entitled higher positions, but then you’ll see entitled NA’s that think they are better than us, definitely down to their personality though.

I’ve made a lot of friends with the people on stores and the operational side of things, we love a good chat on the corridors usually asking what time we’re finishing hahaha.

Appreciate you mate, thanks for the comment also!

frmMOON7 karma

As a person who started that kind of job, what kept you motivated to not give up or how did you overcome any fear/difficult situations at your work?

GenoAir10 karma

I think because both my older brothers worked here, plus my mum. Also the support network here is amazing. I’ve been on bank which is 0 hours, so they’ve allowed me to go off to university and come back on term breaks etc. but I’ll gladly work 60+ hours a week there because although it’s hard work, there’s so many people around you to support you.

One of my favourite parts of the Job is being able to talk to the patients, they have so many incredible stories and their faces light up when they talk about them. I’ve found so many interesting things out about them and it’s like a bond.

It makes you realise that with me progressing into adult life, that people can be going through the worst things in their lifetimes and still crack a laugh with you. I had to mature relatively young with the things I had to witness, but being able to count on the people around you in those moments is second to none

RIFF_O_RAMA3 karma

From your experience, is the NHS as stretched as the MSM depicts it to be? They all say it’s on its knees, where you are, how are things?

GenoAir10 karma

Sorry for the long reply, just finished my shift now.

I’d say it is, we still have our slow days but it gets bad when you noticed 1 or 2 NA’s (nursing assistants) on a ward with 4 bays (usually around 6 patients per bay) and 4 side rooms (1 patient per room). I remember a few years ago you’d have 4-5 per ward but it’s common to see much less.

Even with housekeeping, I’ll be doing the job of 2-3 people on my own, it does affect us a lot and I see a lot of people leaving now which makes the problems harder.

But then at the same time through adversity we make lemonade, I Can’t speak for other trusts but we always go the extra mile to still give the same amount to patients and patient families.

But yes, we’re crying out and hopefully things will improve soon

Cindexxx3 karma

Do you find cleaning for others affects your ability to clean your own space? I'm terrible about upkeep for myself, but I seem to have no problems cleaning for others. I wonder if you have the same thing, or maybe even the opposite.

GenoAir1 karma

Haha this one made me laugh, it absolutely does, growing up my parents would say about my room being untidy and I’ll have the excuse of ‘I’ve been cleaning for 12 hours today, I can’t clean for another hour!’ Or I’ll say I get paid to clean at work, I don’t get paid here haha

But this does just come with pushing yourself to look after yourself and the area around you. It does slack sometimes but I eventually get around to do it

Inevitableness2 karma

What's your favourite memory from work?

Thanks for doing what you do.

GenoAir2 karma

There’s a lot to choose from!

From staff to staff, I used to love the noro virus deepcleans pre covid.

There would be about 15-20 housekeepers, music going on a closed ward just cleaning and having a good time with it. Most of us were quite young as-well so we made it fun.

Patient wise, there are so many to count. The general ones I’d say are when I’d sit and talk to dementia patients, they’d be delirious for days and then all of a sudden tell you about how they were in the marching band in the army, they’d be so happy talking about it.

There was a patient that came in for a knee op, which then led to an infection and then her being in a coma on ITU, and then consequently she was an inpatient on a ward for 7 months with health complications. Every day I would go on there and it was like seeing a friend, we all celebrated when she was finally discharged like a little party. But even getting to know her, she was in her 30s, life completely changed but would still be crying with laughter with us and the nurses.

There has been some amazing memories here, it’s hard work and I’ve cried a bunch and bled and all sorts, but the amazing people you meet every day make it worth it, I’ve just graduated from university and looking to start my career. But I always have here no matter what

wertghy2 karma

How often do you encounter thrash? How did your family react to your choice of profession?

GenoAir1 karma

So I have 2 older brothers, they both were housekeepers before me (they have both left now) , and my mum works in the X-ray department, so we have all been working here for a long while and you notice that most people that work here, also have family here too.

Regards to thrash and stick, you’ll mostly get it from the higher ups in management that never have worked the job in their life, so we don’t take it personally. And then patient families will also be quite aggrevated in some situations, but for them I don’t take it personally and just apologise and try to cater to them. They’re going through an extremely stressful point in their life so their stress levels will be high. You have to have a thick skin and not take things to heart I guess.

My friends my age will be shocked at the stories I tell of what I’ve seen and experienced, but as sad as it is I’ve almost become desensitised to most things, but can still get emotional at the end of a shift some times. Just have to be strong and help everyone around you I gues