Behind the Badge logo
Two months into his job as a member of the special projects and housekeeping team within Environmental Services, Fernando Paiva Tavares found himself in a new role—helping to maintain the strict cleanliness needed in the COVID-19 testing area in the Massachusetts General Hospital Emergency Department ambulance bay. “When we close the bay at the end of the day, I disinfect all the surfaces, including the chairs where patients who come in for coronavirus testing sit, the floors of the bay and the entrances,” says Tavares.

Fernando Tavares
Mass General's Fernando Tavares

When the hospital shifted into disaster management operations, Tavares says he learned an entirely new way of working and he now is watching the focus of care shift into a new normal. “The pandemic has taught me how the hospital works with patients during a crisis, how it organizes patients who come here for care and then how it delivers lifesaving treatment to them.”

Tavares says he misses the social interactions of his job prior to the pandemic. “It’s been tough because we work 6 feet away from each other, and take our breaks alone, distanced from each other.”

Despite the adjustments he and his colleagues have had to make, Tavares says he is grateful that Mass General is working hard to care for patients with COVID-19. “Even though we all know the risks of this disease, it’s my pleasure to help in any way I can,” says Tavares. “Helping people truly makes me happy.”