I remember one day in elementary school, when we were studying our community, our teacher arranged for us to visit the hospital. We weren’t going to go visit patients or anything like that; we were going to get to see how the hospital functions. For example, how does the hospital feed all of its many patients, how does it keep everything as clean as hospitals (well most hospitals!) keep things, and who did all of these “behind the scenes” jobs.
Of course the bus ride over there was fun! We were released from the school building to do something different, in a different place, but still with all of our friends. We were all in great spirits! Once we went into the hospital, we were met by a very nice and knowledgeable volunteer. First she took us to the hospital’s laundry room. They had wire baskets where they sorted the different types of laundry. They had mounds of sheets, gowns, towels and scrubs. Then they showed us how they got everything clean. They had this big circular wire basket they used for a Hoist Fed Fabric Processing System. It was pretty amazing to see how that system worked to wash and rinse the clothes.
After the laundry we went on to the area where they cleaned all of the surgical instruments. These delicate instruments required a gentle yet thorough cleaning and sterilizing. The volunteer showed us the special machines they used for this. All of the instruments were placed in special, customized wire baskets. There were wire baskets of all different shapes and sizes. They used mostly stainless steel wire baskets but for really delicate parts they used a custom wire basket with a special coating for extra protection. Then the instruments were put through an ultrasonic cleaning cycle.
Our last stop was the food service area. The men and women who worked down here kept everyone fed. From the doctors and nurses to the patients and their visitors, everyone relied on the food service workers. When we went down to the kitchen we saw mass quantities of food being cooked. Then they would portion out the trays and load them all onto Chrome Plated Drawers for the Food Service Carts. After everyone was fed, all the thousands of dishes needed to be done.
Cleaning dishes was a 24/7 activity just like cooking food was. All the dishes were placed into industrial wire baskets and pushed through a miniature car wash type of a machine to help wash them off. Then they went into special stainless steel wire baskets and were placed in extremely hot water. After this they were dried with really hot air, and then they were clean, sterile and ready to go again!
I remember this ended up being a really inspiring fieldtrip. It was exciting to see all the people working so hard together to make everything run smoothly and to help all the patients feel better. This may sound silly, but it was probably one of the best fieldtrips I went on as a kid!