Doretha Lewis, Staff Assistant in General Services Training and Education

Doretha Lewis

Everyday Hopkins: Doretha Lewis, Staff Assistant for General Services Training and Education

 

I was raised in East Baltimore. In the early 1970s, when I was 16 years old, I was recruited to work as a summer intern at Johns Hopkins through Dunbar High School and a program called Neighborhood Youth Corps as a pediatric nursing assistant. When I graduated high school three years later, I was asked to stay full time. I moved to Phipps where I was a psychiatric nursing assistant before leaving the workforce for 18 years to raise my family. I’m married with a son, a daughter and a cat named Summer. I also took this time to earn my AA degree in early childhood education.

In 2010, I felt I needed to get back into the workplace. I was drawn back to Hopkins. I remembered working here years ago doing bedside care and interacting with people — doing things to make them feel better. I’m always wanting to reach out and give to others as others have given to me. It’s reciprocal. So I went through an agency and eventually ended up with Intrastaff in mail services. My coworkers call me “Ms. D,” and when the word spread that Ms. D would be here permanently, everyone was pleased with the decision.

My job as a mail clerk was to retrieve mail from the loading dock, sort it, and organize it for delivery to the East Baltimore campus. Pushing, pulling and lifting the heavy mail gurneys was really something at first! We process a lot of mail — almost 3 million pieces last fiscal year. But, then I started looking at each piece of mail as a person. Each letter that comes into this hospital does represent somebody. Finding the value in every task handed to me and helping others is at the core of who I am.

In June, I was promoted to staff assistant for the General Services Training and Education department. I work with interns who were chosen to participate in a job training program that helps those receiving state assistance gain full-time employment after they intern for 15 weeks. I like to sit in on the classes and listen to people tell their stories about where they came from and what they aspire to accomplish. I enjoy hearing our staff tell the interns how they have to be accountable and responsible. Here, it’s all about patient care.

Working in mail services has prepared me for my new position because I have had the opportunity to demonstrate that I am responsible, reliable and diligent about my work. They could have chosen anyone for this position — someone with a higher education than I have, but God allowed this opportunity to come to me.

The program is called IMPACT. It trains the interns for service positions in the hospital. They do different jobs like security or transporting patients. And a lot of times, the interns are given a full-time job. My role is to follow up with them after they complete the program.

Last week, I called one young lady, a former intern from the program to follow up. She told me how grateful she was for this opportunity and that she was happy the Johns Hopkins training and educational center gave her that chance to better herself. Now she’s working on her second master’s degree. To hear that someone has been placed into our program and is now a success is the type of story that makes me feel good. She made me tear up.

It’s not that people can’t do. It’s just that sometimes people just need someone to help them to do. You never know who will come through those doors and what value they can bring to this institution.

 

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2 Comments

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Arnetta Bryant September 8, 2017 at 1:54 pm

Mrs. D, is the most pleasant person to work with. She is the star of customer service, care and concern, and she is great at what she does! I genuinely love her and the joy she brings to the work environment. It inspires many to excel, and is a great motivation that You can do anything through Christ that strengthens us.

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Linda August 12, 2017 at 12:51 pm

It is so good to know there is someone with whom new interns can relate, to help them get past heir questions uncertainty. Securing a full time position here or at any other facility takes fortitude, support and encouragement. Thank you for your service.

Linda Darrell, LCSW-C, PhD

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