The VOICE of UPMC Shadyside Winter 2020–2021

“You have to stay strong.”

Rekha Bhujel
Housekeeper, 4 East

When Rekha Bhujel and her family immigrated to the United States from Nepal seeking a better life, she had no idea she would come face to face with a worldwide pandemic a decade later.

Her first reaction was fear as she learned that the 21 patient rooms that she cleans as a housekeeper on 4 East would become a specialized COVID care unit. 

“What if I get sick? What if I bring the virus home to my husband and two sons, ages 5 and 13? 

"I try to stay positive."
- Rekha Bhujel

“Sure, I was really scared at first. It is so sad that so many people have become sick. But I try to stay positive.”

The fact that Ms. Bhujel put her own fears aside to get the job done came as no surprise to anyone who knows her dedication and strong work ethic — and who understands how important Environmental Services associates are to patient safety and outcomes.

Ms. Bhujel, a UPMC Shadyside housekeeper for the past five years, worked throughout the pandemic, even after learning that her brother and a cousin who live in Columbus, Ohio, had contracted the virus.

“UPMC Shadyside gave us one-on-one training in infection control procedures. It takes twice as long to clean with all the extra disinfecting precautions. But it’s worth the time for patients and staff to know that we’re doing all we can to keep them safe.

“I feel safer now, too. When people tell you how brave you are and how much they appreciate your work, it makes me feel good. You have to stay strong.”