Happy International Central Service Week! A few months back I began my journey to complete the CCSVP certification through IAHCSMM. The main reason I wanted to become certified was that I felt underqualified to properly write or engage with those who I serve: Sterile Processing Professionals. So I began my educational endeavor to better understand the integral workings of a Central Sterile/Sterile Processing Department in order to create materials and services to help CS/SP Professionals.

From the moment I opened the 8th edition Central Service Technical Manual to finishing my on-site hours, my mind was on overdrive. Everyone I shadowed, from Miss Annette to Juan and Sammi, had so much knowledge to share. At times, the learning experience felt overwhelming; there is so much to learn in sterilization alone that I didn’t think I was capable of retaining the information. But once I was in the department and asking questions, every single person I came into conversation with was my teacher.

It got me thinking, all of these amazing CS/SP Professionals have so much knowledge to share, what advice would they give to newbies just now coming into the field? As a team, we began reaching out to our clients and asking this exact question.

The responses are below, I encourage you to read them because they solidify something that became so clear to me while working on-site: Everyone is a teacher; and you can always learn, improve and be better as long as you are open and willing.

 


The following are broad spectrum topics, but usually only learned as you make your first mistake.  They are also good to re-educate more experienced technicians as well. Using proper cleaning techniques Adhering to all aspects of IFU’s Continuing education/new technology/furthering education ie.  CIS, CHL Methods of sterilization Infection control standards What the instrumentation is actually used for (ie. needle holder is used for suturing).

- Matt, NY
2018-10-12T18:34:48+00:00
The following are broad spectrum topics, but usually only learned as you make your first mistake.  They are also good to re-educate more experienced technicians as well. Using proper cleaning techniques Adhering to all aspects of IFU’s Continuing education/new technology/furthering education ie.  CIS, CHL Methods of sterilization Infection control standards What the instrumentation is actually used for (ie. needle holder is used for suturing). - Matt, NY

CSPD professionals must pay attention to detail and be excellent communicators. These skills need to be developed by attending educational seminars and networking with other CSPD professionals to include CS Technicians, Managers, and vendors.

- Lamont, NY
2018-10-12T18:28:00+00:00
CSPD professionals must pay attention to detail and be excellent communicators. These skills need to be developed by attending educational seminars and networking with other CSPD professionals to include CS Technicians, Managers, and vendors. - Lamont, NY

My advice would be to stay focused and pay attention to what you are working on whether it's a set, sterilizing instruments, or in Decon area. It's very important that you do your best on whatever you are doing in SPD. We also have to have customer service when we servicing our customers.

- Adeline, TX
2018-10-12T18:46:00+00:00
My advice would be to stay focused and pay attention to what you are working on whether it's a set, sterilizing instruments, or in Decon area. It's very important that you do your best on whatever you are doing in SPD. We also have to have customer service when we servicing our customers. - Adeline, TX

My advice to a new CS/SP newbie would be to Never Stop Learning. The roles of a Central sterile tech changes every day according to where they work and the functions they have to do. New technology, best practices, new and/or updated protocols are introduced on an ongoing basis and no matter how much we know, we don’t it all so the best thing to do is keep learning. Read, network, ask questions. Be the best you can be in this wonderful field.

Don-Maria, NY
2018-10-12T18:20:20+00:00
My advice to a new CS/SP newbie would be to Never Stop Learning. The roles of a Central sterile tech changes every day according to where they work and the functions they have to do. New technology, best practices, new and/or updated protocols are introduced on an ongoing basis and no matter how much we know, we don’t it all so the best thing to do is keep learning. Read, network, ask questions. Be the best you can be in this wonderful field. - Don-Maria, NY

New CS Staff is always told that even though we do not directly touch a patient, everything we do directly impacts the patient positive outcome. Also, CS is a special place that requires people that have a passion for the profession.

- Lou, NY
2018-10-12T18:41:34+00:00
New CS Staff is always told that even though we do not directly touch a patient, everything we do directly impacts the patient positive outcome. Also, CS is a special place that requires people that have a passion for the profession. - Lou, NY

The key to becoming a great tech. is always be open and willing to learn, keep yourself educated on changing standards and always treat and process instruments/trays like they’re going to be used on a family member that you truly love.

- Peter, NY
2018-10-12T18:19:57+00:00
The key to becoming a great tech. is always be open and willing to learn, keep yourself educated on changing standards and always treat and process instruments/trays like they’re going to be used on a family member that you truly love. - Peter, NY

If I could offer one piece of advice to anyone starting out I would say learn why you are doing things the way you are being taught to do them. Knowing the reasoning behind your functions makes you a more valuable tech.

- Ryan, NY
2018-10-12T18:33:25+00:00
If I could offer one piece of advice to anyone starting out I would say learn why you are doing things the way you are being taught to do them. Knowing the reasoning behind your functions makes you a more valuable tech. - Ryan, NY

This is the one thing I always tell all new employees at our facility: Regardless of experience, treat every instrument/tray you process as if it will be used on you or a loved one in that OR room. SPD techs may not have live patient interaction but we reach patients through the work we put in preparing the trays/instruments used on them in the OR.

-Rhaiz, NY
2018-10-12T18:26:25+00:00
This is the one thing I always tell all new employees at our facility: Regardless of experience, treat every instrument/tray you process as if it will be used on you or a loved one in that OR room. SPD techs may not have live patient interaction but we reach patients through the work we put in preparing the trays/instruments used on them in the OR. -Rhaiz, NY

One piece of advice I would give to any CSPD employees including entry level employees is that: Whenever a task is assigned to them, they MUST do it with Integrity, Compassion, Accountability, Respect, and Excellence.

Wacking, NY
2018-10-12T18:35:31+00:00
One piece of advice I would give to any CSPD employees including entry level employees is that: Whenever a task is assigned to them, they MUST do it with Integrity, Compassion, Accountability, Respect, and Excellence. - Wacking, NY

If I had one piece of advice for you it would be to never assume an item is clean. Often times that last instrument you assume is clean is usually the one that is contaminated. I might be allowed to give you one other advice: Develop good habits, be consistent and strive to be the best technician you can. The sky is the limit for you if you follow those basic rules.

- Kendell, TX
2018-10-12T18:43:32+00:00
If I had one piece of advice for you it would be to never assume an item is clean. Often times that last instrument you assume is clean is usually the one that is contaminated. I might be allowed to give you one other advice: Develop good habits, be consistent and strive to be the best technician you can. The sky is the limit for you if you follow those basic rules. - Kendell, TX

Central Sterile Processing Department technicians are far beyond just another hospital employee. The CSPD tech is a critical piece of the patient experience, ensuring that our patients are cared for through superior care for each and every piece of equipment & upholding the highest standards for infection control standards. Their work is critical & every new employee needs to know that even though a patient is not in front of them, a patient’s life is in their hands every time they touch an instrument.

- Jessica, NY
2018-10-12T18:22:33+00:00
Central Sterile Processing Department technicians are far beyond just another hospital employee. The CSPD tech is a critical piece of the patient experience, ensuring that our patients are cared for through superior care for each and every piece of equipment & upholding the highest standards for infection control standards. Their work is critical & every new employee needs to know that even though a patient is not in front of them, a patient’s life is in their hands every time they touch an instrument. - Jessica, NY

The most important advice I would share is that SPD is not only about doing which seems to be what most individuals believe. It encompasses a large component of microbiology and applying that to cross-contamination of items from dirty to clean and vice versa. SPD techs need to grasp that concept and apply it in practice.

- Ivonne, NY
2018-10-12T18:36:54+00:00
The most important advice I would share is that SPD is not only about doing which seems to be what most individuals believe. It encompasses a large component of microbiology and applying that to cross-contamination of items from dirty to clean and vice versa. SPD techs need to grasp that concept and apply it in practice. - Ivonne, NY

My advice would be to keep an open mind; be slow to speak, quick to listen. Stay humble, you really don’t know everything. There are two sides to every story, never be quick to judge a situation no matter how obvious it may look. Stay hungry for information. Attend seminars, in services, engage vendors, nurses, doctors, janitors, ward clerks. In short, anyone you can strike up a conversation with. You never know where the next thing you learn will come from. Greet everyone, it costs nothing and may mean the world to the receiver, especially in healthcare...oh, approach every task as though your loved one's survival depended on it. Don't take yourself too seriously. In our profession, whether you are a doctor, administrator or part of Support Services, self-sacrifice is the garment that we wear.

That’s all. Now, go save the world.

- Herb, NY
2018-10-12T18:29:51+00:00
My advice would be to keep an open mind; be slow to speak, quick to listen. Stay humble, you really don’t know everything. There are two sides to every story, never be quick to judge a situation no matter how obvious it may look. Stay hungry for information. Attend seminars, in services, engage vendors, nurses, doctors, janitors, ward clerks. In short, anyone you can strike up a conversation with. You never know where the next thing you learn will come from. Greet everyone, it costs nothing and may mean the world to the receiver, especially in healthcare...oh, approach every task as though your loved one's survival depended on it. Don't take yourself too seriously. In our profession, whether you are a doctor, administrator or part of Support Services, self-sacrifice is the garment that we wear. That’s all. Now, go save the world. - Herb, NY

Approach your career with an open mind to learn something new every day. Always read your IFU’s and never be afraid to network.

- Joan, NY
2018-10-12T18:40:21+00:00
Approach your career with an open mind to learn something new every day. Always read your IFU’s and never be afraid to network. - Joan, NY

You need to slow down to catch up.

- Elvis, NY
2018-10-12T18:23:23+00:00
You need to slow down to catch up. - Elvis, NY

Attitude (synonymous with work ethic is SPD) is everything. It will accelerate your long-term goals, and it will make you unemployable. It will make you a star, and it will poison an entire department. It will open doors, and it will lead you off a cliff. Attitude is an individual choice that has individual results. It is an easy decision that many underestimate. Use it for good.

- Travis, TX
2018-10-12T18:44:08+00:00
Attitude (synonymous with work ethic is SPD) is everything. It will accelerate your long-term goals, and it will make you unemployable. It will make you a star, and it will poison an entire department. It will open doors, and it will lead you off a cliff. Attitude is an individual choice that has individual results. It is an easy decision that many underestimate. Use it for good. - Travis, TX

Understand THE REASON you do what you do DON’T JUST DO IT because you were told. Never stop learning.

- Jack, TX
2018-10-12T18:42:30+00:00
Understand THE REASON you do what you do DON’T JUST DO IT because you were told. Never stop learning. - Jack, TX

Listen, ask, and take notes!!!

- Claudia, FL
2018-10-12T18:36:18+00:00
Listen, ask, and take notes!!! - Claudia, FL

Author: Grace Pettit | October 15, 2018