Employee Spotlights

From El Tambo, Ecuador to St. Paul, Minnesota: Ana’s time at PHS has stretched and rewarded her

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Ecuadorian Mountains

This story was written to honor Hispanic/Latinx employees during National Hispanic Heritage Month. This month is observed every year from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, to celebrate the contributions and influence of Hispanic Americans to the history, culture and achievements of the United States.

*Ana grew up in El Tambo, Ecuador, in the sparsely populated Cañar Province, surrounded by montañas and a flowing mineral spring. After high school, she began college but did not finish due to financial reasons. So, Ana worked various jobs in her hometown for short periods of time. Meanwhile, most of Ana’s family lived in los Estados Unidos, including her husband who had moved there three years prior. Once her latest job contract was up, she and her young son moved to the United States to be with family. She traded in the breathtaking views of the valleys for a life in the city. There, she found Presbyterian Homes and Services (PHS).

For the past year, Ana has worked as una señora de la limpieza, or housekeeper. She forms relationships with residents – even if they don’t speak the same language.

“Es una bonita experiencia,” she said. ‘It is a beautiful experience.’

Ana enjoys the people who surround her. They are helpful. Kind. Patient. However, her second language of English is an obstacle. Although she enjoys cleaning residents’ homes, the conversations are shorter than she’d like.

“Todavía no puedo hablar fluido.” ‘I still can’t speak fluently.’

The team has been creative in ways to help Ana communicate, welcoming her and celebrating her unique strengths. She uses a translation application on her phone and will wait for her supervisor to speak into it before it translates the inglés into español.

Ana has even received help from her sister, who is more fluent than she. When applying for a job at PHS, Ana’s sister translated parts of the website for her, telling her about the organization’s mission and benefits.

Although she faces challenges with the language barrier, PHS celebrates strengths and embraces opportunities to develop deeper connections with employees. When Ana realized she would have scheduling challenges with her traditional work routine, her supervisor made accommodations.

Ana is not the only one who has enjoyed PHS’ accommodations and benefits. When Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) Lidia Lopez’s father passed away last year, PHS supported her in choosing to fly to California to be with family.

“They told me to take my time,” said Lidia. A long-time employee, Lidia has appreciated the kindness of the residents she serves, and the meaning behind her work. She has dedicated the last 17 years to PHS in various healthcare roles.

The two women feel fulfilled in the work they are doing. Ana recognizes that house cleaning is something that not all residents can do for themselves, and this greatly aids them. She carries out her role with a servant’s heart.

“Nosotros estamos aquí para ayudar a las personas…” she said. ‘We are here to help others.’

*Pseudonym

Interested in a PHS career?

Like Ana, you could also help enrich the lives of older adults, working at a PHS community near you. We always have a wide range of positions open in Minnesota, Iowa and Wisconsin, for a variety of careers. Whether you’re starting out, at mid-career level or looking for a post-retirement career, we encourage you to apply to join our team at preshomes.org/careers and follow our blog.

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