Sheri Pettersen & Shirley Yarich

Day in the life of AHS laundry workers

“It’s not just laundry,” says Yarich, “we impact people’s lives.”

By: Bethany Hughes

Sheri Pettersen, laundry worker, and Shirley Yarich, working leader, know a thing or two about getting whites whiter and brights brighter. Collectively, this duo has 15 years of laundering experience and has professionally tackled over 100,000 pounds of laundry a year.

Located at the High Prairie Health Complex, Pettersen and Yarich are responsible for laundering the personal items of 180 nursing home residents. This may include dresses, pants, skirts, blouses, table clothes and curtains.

“Everything is sorted alphabetically according to the resident’s name,” explains Yarich, “then we wash, dry, fold, and deliver the items back to the residents.”

Yarich begins her day at 6:00 a.m. by starting the washers and dryers. The two largest washers are capable of handling 90lbs of laundry. When Pettersen arrives at 8:00 a.m., the first round of sorting begins. Together, they process about 20 loads of laundry a day and ensure the items are delivered back to the correct site and owner.

“We work to do our best to ensure that the residents’ clothing is presentable,” says Pettersen.

At the end of the day, Yarich explains that the work brings her great satisfaction.

“We want to do our best for the residents because we believe that when you look good, you feel good.”

For both Pettersen and Yarich, interacting with residents is the part of the job they enjoy the most.

“It has got to the point where I know what each resident wears,” says Pettersen, “and when I get to chit chat with the residents during deliveries, it just brightens my day.”

Both Yarich and Pettersen confess that they ‘fell into the job.’ Since then, both have received their Linen Technician Certificate. And Yarich has become a certified Laundry and Linen Manager through the Association for Laundry Management.

These roles are not to be taken lightly. Pettersen and Yarich share that people would be surprised by the physical demands of the job and the sheer volume of laundry they process. However, they know they are an integral part of patient care.

“It’s not just laundry,” says Yarich, “we impact people’s lives.”

And their number one laundry tip? Always check the pockets for Kleenex before putting an item into the wash.

Learn more about a career as a laundry worker or working leader.