Ready for the Challenge with Sandy Kahawaii, REHAB’s Facilities Assistant Manager

Thursday, June 13, 2024

June is National Safety Month which is a time we designate each year to amplify our safety protocol and show our appreciation for REHAB’s Facilities Team that ensures the safety of our hospital, day in and day out. Sandy Kahawaii is REHAB’s Facilities Assistant Manager and go-to resource for getting things done! Whether it be spearheading the installation of new UV sterilization units, ensuring inpatient supplies are stocked or corralling the occasional gecko that wanders through our doors, Sandy is on it. “Every day is different, so whatever comes my way I take care of it as best I can to make sure our community is safe, happy, and has their needs met,” she shared.

Sandy has been a part of Team REHAB for ten years, but her experience in the field goes back long before that. “I started working in healthcare PBX (private branch exchange) when I was 17 years old, and I would talk to the physicians that came by my desk. Those connections introduced me to other avenues of healthcare that I wanted to explore,” she said. “I ended up taking management courses and three years of medical terminology courses so I could understand the different surgeries and procedures I was scheduling or ordering supplies for. That’s how I got started in healthcare management!”

At REHAB, Sandy is primarily responsible for overseeing procurement, which is the service line that ensures all of REHAB’s supplies stay stocked and ready. From IV solutions and needles to toothbrushes and undergarments, making sure that patients and staff have access to exactly what they need at any given time is Sandy’s main initiative. “Though I don’t work directly with patients, I have a keen understanding of the whole process from start to finish and what they might need at REHAB,” Sandy shared. 

Though the Facilities Team at REHAB is comprised of seven different service lines such as security, groundskeeping and environmental services, they all share the same goal: safety. “We each have our own skill set, but there are many times when we need to cross over and help each other out. So that’s what we do, we work as a team,” Sandy said. “For us, safety is always first and foremost whether it's the safety of our patients, visitors or staff. If someone has spilled water on the floor, an elevator is out of service or an employee needs their workstation fitted to them, we do whatever it takes to make sure these situations are attended to quickly and safely.” 

Recently, Sandy led the charge to implement four new mobile UV sterilization units used to disinfect the surfaces in patients’ rooms. “With these systems, we are able to treat any viruses or pathogens that may be present in a room with ultraviolet light. We isolate the room, bring in the unit and beam the light against the surfaces to disinfect–it’s really neat!” Sandy explained. It’s technologies like these that help keep our community safe and healthy.

For Sandy, her role at REHAB means wearing a variety of hats, but she wouldn’t change it for the world. “I love challenges and I am always happy to learn and broaden my skills. To me, the more the better with learning things. So I’m all for it…I just love the work I do!”

In addition to her role as the Facilities Assistant Manager, Sandy is a member of REHAB’s Safety Council and an avid animal lover. At home she has a variety of pets including a Muscovy duck, two dogs, fish, cockatiels, and two turtles named Raphael and…Rehab!

Interested in learning more about opportunities to join REHAB’s Facilities Team? Check out our current openings on REHAB’s careers page.