The Sterile Processing Department’s primary goal is to streamline management processes, so your operating room can run at peak efficiency with minimal risk—ensuring the patient’s safety is the top priority. Additionally, you should instill sufficient technical knowledge and lead your team by example to lay the foundation for the next set of leaders and set your sterile processing department up for success.
Transitioning to a Sterile Processing Department Manager
Transitioning from a sterile processing technician into a managerial role can be daunting. The Sterile Processing Department plays a critical role in a hospital’s overall success and reputation. There are a few vital areas you should focus on to be an effective SPD manager.
Technical Skill Set. Your primary responsibility as a leader is to have adequate knowledge and understanding of your department to manage your employees properly. There’s a large amount of technical know-how such as instrument tracking, instrument storage, reprocessing equipment and tools, and department workflow regarding sterile processing. There is always new information to learn. Excelling in this area will position you as a leader and instill trust in your employees.
Relational Responsibilities. As a supervisor, you deal with a more significant amount of employee relations, which is just as important as the technical processes. These two levels of leadership build upon one another. This is often when new leaders fail because they enter in with technical knowledge but can’t handle the relational side. Cultivating strong relationships at this level will help you to move up to the next level of leadership.
Company Politics. Once you step into a leadership role, you’ll be in a room with other high-level leaders within your organization, such as CNOs, COOs, and OR Directors. Many employees at that level don’t have a deep understanding of how your department operates. This is your opportunity to advocate for best practices and set the landscape for other department leaders. Building those strong relationships will be equally important in this area because it will allow you to navigate your cultural capital intentionally—with your team’s best interest in mind.
Becoming a Successful Sterile Processing Manager
At a managerial level, you should always push yourself to learn more. Particularly in sterile processing, there is an endless supply of knowledge and processes to know. Understanding these three levels of leadership and integrating each of their practices into your day-to-day responsibilities will help you excel as a sterile processing manager. Having the technical knowledge, cultivating strong relationships, and understanding the organization’s politics will set you up for success within your leadership role. Also, implementing and practicing these critical tactics will administer trust and have your team treating you as a leader.
Sterile Processing at SpecialtyCare
We’re committed to ongoing and advanced training, education, and certification to ensure that hospitals have exceptional service in the sterile processing department and all the medical departments it serves. With our national reach and extensive experience, we directly improve value for hospitals and health systems just like yours.