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Arcelia Duran

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Arcelia DuranArcelia Duran, Senior Custodian, Environmental Services, UCLA Medical Center, Santa Monica

Arcelia takes pride in her job while connecting with UCLA patients.

A UCLA employee for just six months, Duran has already become a beloved member of the hospital's postpartum staff

Everyone who works with you says you are an amazing employee. Why is that?
I'm not sure, but I think it's because I really enjoy connecting with the patients that I meet and with my co-workers. They say I'm amazing, but so are they! Here at postpartum, everyone is so sweet. The staff really goes out of their way to make me feel like part of the family. I also take a lot of pride in my work and do everything I can to make the patients feel comfortable. One time, a patient told me she was having trouble breastfeeding. I told her that I remember when I was breastfeeding for the first time and how difficult it was. But I reminded her that she is in good hands here at UCLA, that she has all the nurses, a nutritionist and a lactation nurse to help her and that she should take advantage of those resources. She was grateful for that reminder and gave me a big hug. It made me feel that I'm not just a housekeeper, but a representative of UCLA, which is a job I really take to heart.

What kind of work did you do before you came to UCLA?
I've had a lot of different jobs over the years. I've been a security guard and have served in the Army Reserves as a combat medic for 10 years and am a state-certified phlebotomist. I also spent 11 years working as a desk clerk and a Spanish/English translator for the Covina Police Department. After I was laid off from the police department, I did some part-time caregiving while I looked for another job. I looked for a year and a half before I got this opportunity to work in housekeeping at UCLA.

How do you feel about housekeeping work?
I respect the job and am grateful I have one. To me, it's not just housekeeping. It's a chance to connect with people, which I really enjoy.

What is a typical day like for you?
I start out by taking out all the trash and linen, then dusting and disinfecting all the telephones, desks, keyboards and the backs of the computers, and finally mopping the floors. I also clean the medicine room, the nurses' station, the nutrition room and the breast pump room before I start cleaning the patient rooms. I pay attention to details and take a lot of pride in my work. I'm very meticulous and picky about the work that I leave behind because it has my signature. When I walk out, they're going to know Arcelia was in the room.

What is the "signature" of your work?
I don't just go in and do a quick clean. I do the seven steps that are required every time I clean. I dust and disinfect all of the controls, the rails on the bed, the window seals, the television - even the back of the television. My pet peeve is the soap dispenser. Soap usually collects on the bottom of the dispensers, but if you go into one of the rooms I clean, you will not find a speck of soap in there. Another important part of my signature, I believe, is that I also show respect and compassion to the patients.

What are your other interests or hobbies?
I enjoy dancing and karaoke. Music is a really big part of my life. It's something I use to keep myself upbeat. I don't play an instrument but my boys, who are 14 and 12 years old, play saxophone, piano, trumpet and guitar. I also play soccer and basketball and run a lot of 5Ks and 10Ks for good causes. I would like to learn sign language.

What are your hopes for the future?
I love UCLA and what it stands for - especially CICARE - because I think it's important for everyone to be treated with respect and compassion. I have four more classes to complete my Bachelor of Arts in public administration. I'm thrilled to be here at UCLA. I want to keep improving myself, learning and doing a great job and one day I hope to get a job in management.