Welcome to Michigan Medicine After Dark

October 31, 2019  //  FOUND IN: Our Employees,

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Ever heard a rumor that the North Ingalls Building is haunted? Or UH South has hallways that creak for no reason? (No, it’s not the wind).

Just like many other large organizations with older buildings, Michigan Medicine has a few ghost stories that have passed down through the years.

But not everything that happens after many employees go home is spooky. In celebration of Halloween, Headlines is “shedding some light” on what really happens at Michigan Medicine after dark, and showcasing some of the dedicated faculty and staff who work tirelessly to provide the best possible care for our patients 24/7.

Danielle Spencer, wall and fixture cleaner, Environmental Services

Like more than 100 EVS team members, Spencer works overnights in order to keep the organization’s facilities clean and safe from potential dangers such as infections.

“I work in the operating rooms at the Kellogg Eye Center,” Spencer said. “I clean the rooms top to bottom, sanitizing every surface to ensure our patients and staff members are safe when they come back the next day.”

For Spencer, working overnights — which she has done for 21 of the 29 years she’s been at Michigan Medicine — has been beneficial for a number of reasons.

“First, it worked out really well for me when I was a single mom raising my son,” Spencer said. “I could sleep while he was at school and work while he was sleeping. That gave me some quality time to spend with him.”

Now, it helps her have time to take care of her mother, who is blind. On top of that, it’s a lot quieter overnight.

“Between the hours of 1 a.m. and 5:30 a.m., there’s only three staff members in the entire Kellogg building — all with EVS,” Spencer said. “Security officers come through too, and it can be a little creepy, but it’s mostly nice and quiet. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”

Nursing team, Women’s Birth Center

Childbirth never stops, and therefore, neither do the nurses in the birth center at Von Voigtlander Women’s Hospital. Some of the nurses work shifts that end at 11 p.m., while others work overnight until 7 a.m.

No matter their shift, there are a number of perks to their schedules: namely a better family life at home and a better sense of camaraderie in the academic medical center.

“When there are fewer people around — and fewer resources available — we tend to lean on each other more, creating a shared sense of teamwork and solidarity,” said Blaize Buzas, R.N. “It’s a cool feeling knowing that we’re all in this together.”

Toni Foster, guest service specialist, Children’s Emergency Services

Foster works during the overnight hours as the first line of security at the front desk of CES. She ensures people who don’t have access to patients are kept away, while also screening visitors for illnesses and other restrictions.

To her, the quieter shift makes the work more gratifying.

“You can connect with patients, visitors and coworkers on a more personal level when you work these hours,” Foster said. “It’s made me really appreciate our team and the important work we do — no matter what time it is.”

This is the first in a series on Michigan Medicine After Dark. Stay tuned to Headlines in the months ahead for more!