Infection Control Today

MAY 2012

ICT delivers to infection preventionists & their colleagues in the operating room, sterile processing/central sterile, environmental services & materials management, timely & relevant news, trends & information impacting the profession & the industry

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Ethylene Oxide is a Sterile Processing By Stephen Kovach PEOPLE ACROSS THE UNITED STATES now know that hair dressers need some form of certification to do their jobs but if you are cleaning surgical instruments for sur- gery, unless you live in New Jersey, you are not required by law to have some basic knowledge to do the task at hand – cleaning and sterilizing medical devices in a medical facility. Within 15 minutes of NBC's Today Show airing the segment, "Today Investigates: Dirty surgical instruments a growing problem in the OR" on Feb. 22, 2012, a close friend called me and asked if it was true that people cleaning instruments are not required to be certified. I said, "Yes it is true." He said, "Steve, that person cleaning the surgical instruments really isn't required by law to have special training?" "Yes that is correct," I told my friend again. He was shocked and said, "Is that what you have been talking about all these years?" and I also replied yes both to the certification and the issue of dirty instruments. Soon after the call I sent out an alert to many of my fellow central sterile service department (CSSD) professionals to make sure they viewed this segment. My email was titled, "The Tipping Point for Certification is Now." The focus of The Today segment was about the difficulty CSSD staff had cleaning various items, but the end of the segment talked about the need for certification for the staff who works in the "bowels of the hospital." The responses I got back were unbelievable; here are a few of them: "...I believe that the presidents from both the IAHCSMM and CBSPD need to somehow collectively get a message to the public that there are thousands of competent, educated and caring sterile processing personnel that perform complex processes everyday to assure that their surgical instruments are clean, sterile, and safe for use and that national certification would ensure these processes are always being done..." –Anna Grayson, MS, RN, CRCST, SPD manager "...I certainly believe that all staff should be certified. However, being certified is only one step. We as managers need to make sure that our staff are competent in what they are doing as well as providing training, education and in-services regularly. I question my follow managers if they are doing that. Certification has to be more than a title..." – Al Spath, SPD manager "....Management certification is just as important as technician certification. Managers are responsible for getting their staff pay raises. Managers develop competency programs for their staff and make sure they develop staff rather than just used competency programs as a human resource tool... the manager works with administration, OR managers and surgeons to identify and solve problems as well as marketing central service staff. I think without certified mangers we will have frustrated certified technicians...Technician certification is important. A certified technician understands the rational behind what they are doing. This helps them www.infectioncontroltoday.com Cancer and Reproductive Hazard! Certification ... DOES IT HAVE VALUE? How Well Do You Monitor Employee Exposure? Protect your employees with Steri-Trac® EtO. PPM Steri-Trac Toxic Gas Monitoring Systems. ® Visit us at: chemdaq.com 800.245.3310 ext: 510 Protecting People from Airborne Toxins I N C O R P O R A T E D ICT 39 May 2012

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