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Dedicated to her job, motivated by family, Sentara tech celebrates son’s recent success

It’s National Environmental Services Week. Environmental Service technicians play a critical role in the day to day operations of Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center.

While you may see these members of the team focused on keeping our hospital clean and free of healthcare-associated infections (HAIs), there is more to this dedicated staff, filled with people like Barbara Boateng.

For the last two years, Barbara has worked at Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center. She’s quick to offer a smile and a helping hand, making sure the medical offices and hospital rooms are cleaned to Sentara Healthcare’s rigorous standards.  

“Barbara is truly one of our shining stars within Sentara and the Sentara Northern Virginia Environmental Services Department. She exemplifies everything wonderful about working in healthcare,” explains Barbara’s boss, Kevin Smith, Director of Environmental Services.

While Barbara is dedicated to her job, she’s motivated by her family. She and her husband, Clement, immigrated to the U.S. from Ghana to provide a better life for their three children. Earlier this summer, years of hard work paid off when the family’s eldest son, Akwasi, graduated from college with a criminal justice degree and a minor in information technology.

“We were so happy! It’s exciting to see your son striving to fulfill his dreams and then accomplishing them. We were so proud!” says Barbara, remembering the moment she saw her son crossing the stage and receiving his diploma from Radford University.

It’s a hope every parent has for their child.

“The dream I have for my children is for all of them to become successful in the future in everything they pursue,” explains Barbara.

Her son graduating from college is the culmination of that. It’s something he realizes.

“After all the hard work, I could finally say I made it across the stage. I was very grateful to have them by my side to support me throughout my college years. It was definitely a joyful moment, I felt like a proud son,” Akwasi explains.

This achievement is something Akwasi doesn’t take for granted, he realizes the immense sacrifices his parents have made for him, his brother and sister.

They have dedicated their lives to helping us achieve, by supporting us in everything we do and making sure we get everything we need.”

Smith sees Barbara’s hard work and determination every day.

“Barbara working at Sentara to put her son through college and watching him graduate is truly a wonderful achievement and should be an inspiration to many, that anything is possible in this country.”

Smith says Barbara represents the commitment that exists within his department and the hospital.

“Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center, just like the community it serves, is home to a very diverse workforce. The diversity of our staff allows the hospital team to reach our patients in some ways that many hospitals may struggle. Barbara is a perfect example of how you can come to this country, work hard, and achieve things for yourself and your family that may not be possible in your country of origin.”

This Environmental Services Week (September 9 – 15), Smith is celebrating his team and heralding their accomplishments.

Multiple service techs have earned the national healthcare accreditation, “CHEST,” or Certified Healthcare Environmental Services Technician.  Several others will participate in another CHEST training later this year. The certification indicates the user is skilled in the most effective and innovative technologies in infection prevention. 

“Our Environmental Service technicians are the first line of defense and have played a vital role in Sentara Healthcare initiatives. I’m just so proud of my team!” says Smith.

To learn more about joining Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center’s award-winning team, visit

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