Being born only 11 months apart, Tracey Parker and Debbie Jerrell have gone through life together as sisters and classmates, and in this latest chapter of their lives, they are coworkers.
Parker and Jerrell are environmental services (EVS) workers at IU Health Bloomington. They started working at the Legacy hospital in March of 2020. Parker had been a bartender for 33 years, and Jerrell worked as her nanny for five years. The two were visiting their brother at the hospital when they inquired about a job.
"There was an EVS worker on the other half of the room. And I asked her, I said, 'How hard is it to get on at the hospital?' And she said, 'Wait one moment,' and called her boss. We put an application online, and they called us the next day," shared Parker.
On March 11, 2020, the two sisters worked their first shift. That same day the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic.
"We don't know IU Health any other way," said Parker.
EVS workers have played an essential role in keeping patients and team members safe during the pandemic. Their work has served as the first line of defense against infection.
"We make sure everything is thoroughly cleaned and sanitized, from the telephones, the bedside tables, TV remotes, and their personal stuff. If they want me to sanitize it, I wipe it down," said Jerrell. "It's what we can do to keep our patients safe and nurses and everyone."
Knowing they are making a difference in the lives of so many has kept Parker and Jerrell going these last two years. It also helps that they love meeting new people.
"The dual dynamic sisters, that's what they call us," said Jerrell. "Everybody knows us."
For the sisters, their job is all about helping team members, patients, and their loved ones. It's what makes them a dynamic duo.
Parker: "We just do our job. We take pride in what we do, and we love our patients."