How Would You Describe the Work of a Sterile Processing Technician?
A sterile processing technician is a multifaceted role. They are expected to deliver quality products in immediate, urgent timeframes where sometimes it’s nearly impossible. Being an SPD professional requires dedication, critical thinking, and intense work. We push, pull, and lift up to 2.5 tons of equipment in an 8-hour shift, all while focusing on the safety of ourselves and our teammates. The workflow of sterile processing duties begins when medical equipment is received in our receiving area, known as decontamination. This space is highly regulated and high amounts of throughput travels each day. Here it is required we protect ourselves from potential pathogenic microorganisms, working hard to break the chain of infection. Cleaning is the first step in our reprocessing cycle. If items are not cleaned properly, they cannot be sterilized properly in the next phases of the cycle. Its pertinent to our patient’s safety that specific chemistries be utilized to clean, along with time, manual labor, and heavy machinery assisting in the process. Once items are cleaned, we inspect every instrument for functionality, cleanliness, and organization. Prior to sterilization, all instruments must be safe for use to ensure proper handling for our surgeons while also eliminating the chance for patient harm.
What Does Your New Position Involve?
Being an educator is so much more than training and onboarding new hires. While those duties are absolutely critical to the success of our departments, it is really more about sustainability and the retention of knowledge. With the advancement in medical devices and reprocessing equipment, it is important in this industry to focus on new, effective ways to reach your associates. I am currently working to help develop a standard education program for our sterile processing solutions, as well as find opportunities for improvements to the way we educate associates by utilizing innovative platforms, reaching people virtually, and developing content that is easy to understand. I am so excited to be a part of such a collaborative team with so much experience and knowledge. We are moving in a direction I haven’t seen much of in the industry, and sterile processing departments should be excited about the dedication and quality focus on their patients and also their staff. I want to share all the valuable experience I have gained with as many people as I possibly can to hopefully shed light on the importance of sterile processing and the detailed expertise it requires.