In my new role as special features editor for Healthcare Purchasing News (HPN), I’m covering topics related to operating room, central sterile (CS) and sterile processing and distribution (SPD). For years I’ve represented medical device manufacturers as a public relations consultant, so it’s been interesting to hear from those individuals at the other end of the spectrum who are responsible for cleaning, sterilizing and maintaining surgical equipment.
What I’ve learned so far is that CS/SPD staff, while often overlooked, play a critical role in a healthcare facility’s operations and the delivery of safe and effective patient care. If you go into a hospital or surgery center for a procedure, you likely won’t meet someone from this profession during your stay, but be aware that they are playing an instrumental role in your treatment.
While there’s been a lot of negative press lately on the role that contaminated surgical equipment plays in hospital acquired infections (HAIs) little credit has been giving to those CS/SPD departments that are doing it right. I interviewed a number of CS/SPD professionals for the article and I was blown away by their commitment to patient care and safety. While many healthcare facilities don’t pay for CS/SPD continuing education and don’t offer higher compensation to those who are certified, the majority of respondents to a recent CS salary survey in HPN (75%) reported being certified, which indicates that many CS/SPD seek out and pay for certification on their own – not to receive higher pay (because most don’t) but because they want to “improve their craft and become experts”, as one supervisor of sterile processing put it.
Check out the survey results and article in the March 2013 issue of HPN. It is entitled: SPD pros making progressive strides.