‘It’s the little things that count – way more than the big ones’

‘It’s the little things that count – way more than the big ones’

Olivia Pierce credits her grandmother for teaching her how to clean with special attention to detail. “She was old-school, always cleaning the cracks and corners and getting on her hands and knees,” she says.

Today, Olivia puts those lessons to work as an Environmental Services tech on the pediatric oncology unit at Advocate Children’s Hospital-Oak Lawn.

“Cleaning comes naturally to me,” says Olivia. “I absolutely love my job”

Besides her grandmother’s sage advice, what makes Olivia a health care hero is so much more than her intricate cleaning and sanitizing of patient rooms to ensure they are infection-free for children struggling with cancer. It’s also her special mission to provide kindness and support no matter what form that may take—a warm blanket for a sleeping mom or a hug when times are tough.

“It’s the little things that count, way more than the big ones,” adds Olivia.

“Olivia advocates on behalf of her patients; when she sees a need, she makes sure it is met,” says Jennifer Tavares-Kitchen, clinical nurse manager of the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. “She also builds relationships with parents and caregivers who are dealing with emotionally difficult diagnoses. We’re so lucky to have Olivia on the hematology/oncology care team.”

Working in this pandemic has presented plenty of challenges well beyond uncomfortable personal protection equipment or fear of catching the virus.

Each day as Olivia enters the hospital, it is once again Grandma’s advice that motivates her.

“She always said, ‘When you go to work, leave your issues at the door’,” says Olivia. “My patients are much more at risk than I am. If I can make someone smile or comfortable, I have done a good job.”

Click here for more stories about doctors, nurses and others working on the front lines.

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About the Author

Evonne Woloshyn
Evonne Woloshyn

Evonne Woloshyn, health enews contributor, is director of public affairs at Advocate Children's Hospital. Evonne began her career as an anchor and reporter in broadcast news. Over the past 20 years, she has worked in health care marketing in both Ohio and Illinois. Evonne loves to travel, spend time with family and is an avid Pittsburgh Steelers fan!