Professionals in the sterile processing department (SPD) do their part to break the chain of infection by disinfecting and sterilizing the tools physicians use to provide safe patient care. SPD leadership must develop a program that is both effective and efficient, two keys to reducing infection risks and improving the overall efficiency of your facility. They do this by staying up to date on national standards and continually educating frontline staff on current best practices of instrument reprocessing.
In my experience, sterile processing technicians are thirsty for knowledge about how they can best perform their jobs, and how they fit into the patient care continuum. It’s our job as leaders to make sure they have the tools and resources they need to properly clean and sterilize instruments. That includes making sure they have easy access to instructions for use (IFUs), safety data sheets (SDS) and your facility’s policies.
Updates and reviews on proper instrument care should be ongoing and include refresher courses on how to find and access this information on your facility’s intranet. That way, when new processes or instruments come into the department, reprocessing technicians can assimilate them rapidly, and can find the references they need when necessary. Educated technicians are less likely to make mistakes.