By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class (SW/AW) Gretchen M. Albrecht Naval Hospital Bremerton Public Affairs (As part of an ongoing series highlighting Navy Medicine Sailors and staff members serving at Naval Hospital Bremerton)
BREMERTON, Wash. – Training and professional growth remain an integral part of Naval Hospital Bremerton’s (NHB) success most recently highlighted by Erik Keil when he became a Certified Healthcare Constructor (CHC) Jan. 25.
A true Washingtonian, Keil loved the surrounding beauty of the Pacific Northwest so much he chose to stay close to his hometown of Bremerton, Wash., resulting in him traveling all of 15 minutes from his childhood home to become a Defense Medical Logistics Standard Support Facilities Management Data Sustainment Specialist at NHB.
“I grew up around this hospital and have had staff members provide care to my family, so when my friend called me when this position was made available I jumped at it,” said Keil. “Since then I have been the only data sustainment specialist at the command. It truly is an honor to work here.”
After he started off his career in Nov. 2008, the position and responsibility quickly grew from plugging data into a computer system into a much larger role. Keil took the challenge and opportunity head on.
“I quickly saw what it meant to be a facilities management professional through my supervisors entrusting me with different responsibilities,” said Keil. “Being tasked with the job of maintaining the building’s safety and environment of care is critical to the success of the hospital’s mission. The work this group does on a daily basis, and often behind the scenes, is simply awesome.”
CHC professionals have a variety of skills and education in multiple fields making it possible for them to assist in healthcare construction projects. Responsibilities range from planner to project manager.
“This certification does not change my role here much, but it does open new opportunities for me. I believe it helps illustrate the level of knowledge and commitment we as a team have to our roles especially when two of the 29 CHCs in all of Washington State are working at Naval Hospital Bremerton,” Keil stated, joining the ranks with the other CHC, Gary Crist, NHB Facilities Management Project Manager and Computer Aided Design Manager.
Always looking for ways to increase his knowledge, Keil stepped outside of his typical role to learn and ultimately certify CHC almost one year ago. His interest was sparked following the chance reading of a preparatory class offered by American Society of Healthcare Engineers sponsored by Washington State Society of Healthcare Engineers.
“My current duties limited some of the experience many would say is essential to obtaining this certification. I had to learn more and more every day to make myself better at my job and be an asset to my team. When I read of this opportunity I knew I wanted to participate because for me, the learning process is ongoing and always will be,” explained Keil.
Study he did. Keil spent every chance he had studying and used the 10 years of combined experience required for the certification so, as he puts it, he could, “add value and knowledge to the facilities management team.”
CHC professionals have a variety of skills and educational training in numerous fields that make it possible for them to assist in healthcare construction projects. These certified professionals have job responsibilities that range from business manager and estimator to planner and project manager. CHC professionals need to have knowledge and experience in four key areas related to healthcare construction of Healthcare industry fundamentals; planning, design, and construction processes; healthcare facility safety; and financial stewardship.
In order to become a Certified Healthcare Constructor, a qualified individual like Keil had to complete a certification program with three main components. The certification test itself consists of a 115-item examination that assesses an individual’s knowledge of routine construction processes and general competence.
Keil also had to meet eligibility requirements before taking this exam. The requirements were a combination of education and experience that speak to his overall profile.
With strong support from his family and co-workers Keil achieved his goal while increasing NHB’s capabilities.
“My family is my everything and the inspiration for wanting to better myself as well as their lives,” said Keil. “It is not lost on me as to what a privilege it is to work here. I love my job, my team, and more importantly, the great team we support at NHB.”