I want to take this opportunity to wish all my colleagues throughout the World a Happy CSSD/SPD Week!! You are all truly the unsung and forgotten HEROS of Healthcare, without whom a facility cannot function, yet few people know who you are and how important your job is. I know from personal experience that if someone asks me what I do for a living and I tell them I’m a Certified Sterile Processing Technician their eyes glaze over they look around quizzically and then ask “what the heck does that mean?” I think it is high time we make ourselves known. Everybody knows what a Doctors job entails, what a Nurse does and even what X-ray and Respiratory techs do, but how many people know what you do for a living? When I explain to people that a Sterile Processing Tech decontaminates assembles and disinfects, high level disinfects, or sterilizes equipment and instruments according to the modalities needed to make them safe to reuse I am usually told “I thought the nurses and doctors did that” (sigh…yes and pigs can fly). All of us who have ever worked in CSSD/SPD know the answer to that.
Isn’t it time you got the recognition you deserve for the job you do? Be proud of what you do, you are patient safety advocates, let people know that! Tell people what you do and how your adherence to recommended best practice and standards keeps patients safe from HAI’s and SSI’s even though you have no direct patient contact. Celebrate your week with your Team too…Yes You are TEAM…I know the tensions that go on in CSSD/SPD, I have worked all three shifts, unless your department works as a “well oiled machine” one shift helping out the other, you will never garnish the respect your department deserves.
Above all I urge you all to keep yourselves educated and educate others on what you do and why. Always follow recommended best practices, this is what your facility will be audited on by TJC, AAHC, CMS, etc. If you process items “off label” to get things done quicker for a case, it is not the doctor that will be in question in court if there is litigation due to an SSI, it is you. If someone asks you why things are taking so long, tell them you are following the IFU of the manufacturer on reprocessing. Let those who question you see the IFU of what you are reprocessing, unless they have the capability of changing the laws of physics, you are doing things right. Keep yourself abreast of all the newest technologies in Sterile Processing and what is going on in medicine. We live in an ever changing world. The Sterile Processing Department of today is not what it was 30 years ago, instruments have become exceedingly complex and the pathogens we are fighting have become more drug resistant. Keep the IFU’s for all the equipment you reprocess current and learn about the pathogens you are fighting (here is a link to the CDC’s 2013 antibiotic resistant threats to get you started, yes it’s pre Ebola and EV-D68 but those both are Viruses which antibiotics have no effect on. http://www.cdc.gov/drugresistance/threat-report-2013/pdf/ar-threats-2013-508.pdf )
Above all I want to personally Thank You All for working diligently in the most Important Department in Healthcare!