Every Sterile Processing manager wants productive technicians working for them, technicians that will get “the job” done right in the most efficient manner possible, while still adhering to the policies and procedures of the department. Productivity is normally measured by comparing the amount of goods and services produced to the inputs used in the production of those goods and services, simply put, Productivity = output divided by input.
That being said, anyone who has been in the trenches of sterile processing knows that the variables of processing instruments (and by number of instruments I have assumed you were talking about instrument sets/ trays and not individual instruments) has a very wide range. Instrument sets vary in complexity, an E.R. Suture Set has much fewer instruments than a D&C tray, and a D&C tray has fewer instruments than an Open Heart tray or a Total Hip tray. Also individual instruments themselves vary in complexity, some require disassembly to be processed properly, others do not. Now to make things even more difficult, some instrument manufacturers require extended cleaning or sterilization cycles for their instruments. Also the processing of instruments in different areas of the department varies in difficulty, it is normally more labor intensive to decontaminate the instruments in a D&C tray, than it is to reassemble and wrap said tray.
Since I have brought up the labor intensive decontamination area, a tray that is grossly contaminated or one where the soil has been allowed to dry on the instruments is much harder to clean, than the same tray that was opened in the OR, but not used, both trays are “dirty” and need to go through the decontamination process in the same manner (unstrung, box-locks open etc.) but one of those trays is going to take a heck of a lot more “elbow grease”(and perhaps some cussing) than the other.
The Prep and Pack area has its own set of challenges, we have all encountered the tray that, on assembly, we discovere was missing one very important instrument, and after searching high and low for it, we finally found what we were looking for, but it took time, enough time that we could have assembled two of the same trays had it been complete in the first place.
Now that I have again gone off on one of my little tangents, let me get back to the core point of your question and that is productivity. Here I would first like to suggest you obtain a copy of “ Management Basics for Sterile Processing, Nancy Chobin, R.N. AAS, ACSP,CSPDM https://www.sterileprocessing.org/bookform.htm and refer to Chapter 4, Productivity and Staffing which I am about to quote. First off the most important things needed for CS/SPD to be productive as a department is,
• A fully trained, educated, competent (and here I add Certified) Staff.
• A Certified management team to provide accountability and leadership during all shifts the department is open.
• The ability to provide ongoing continuing education to keep the staff current on all new information.
• Copies of all standards, guidelines and recommended practices that are relevant to CS/SPD processes.
• Adequate physical space and appropriate design to permit work to be performed efficiently.
• Adequateprocess equipment that is well maintained.
• Sufficient surgical equipment to reduce the “priority rushes” that often cause errors.
• Sufficient backup instruments to prevent the opening of complete sets to obtain one or two instruments.
• Specialty containers for delicate and microsurgical instruments to prevent damage in transit and processing.
• Team relationships within CS/SPD and with other departments.
• Support from the facility administration for the success of the department.
In order for individuals in the department to be productive you first need an environment that is conducive to productivity. Then if you want to set numbers of instruments or trays you expect to have processed by technicians have time studies done, taking into account all the variables I listed in the beginning of this answer. How long does it take to clean a D&C tray? How long does it take to clean one that is grossly contaminated? Remember that all services provided by the staff, even telephone coverage must be included in the time and output calculations.
Given the extreme variables of the job, (and the fact that time studies are not my specialty) I have always found it difficult to set productivity numbers for technicians in CS/SPD, it has always been plain as the nose on my face who was goofing off and who was diligently working. Also, if you promote a team environment in your department the rest of the team will not be happy with the employee who is not pulling their weight.
I do understand that you may need documentation of sub-par performance to initiate disciplinary action or you made need these calculations to justify OT or increased department staffing and that is why I have suggested the above reading.