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Certification Should Be Required, Say Sterile Processing Pros

Survey also finds a strongly perceived lack of respect.

Published: November 6, 2015

There's a good chance your sterile processing staff is clamoring for more education and feels a little like Rodney Dangerfield.

A recent survey of 258 sterile processing professionals found that an astounding 99.2% believe that certification should be required for professionals in their field, with 87% saying that such a requirement would increase respect for the job they do. Currently, only 2 states — New York and New Jersey — mandate certification. They'll be joined by Connecticut in 2016, while both Pennsylvania and Massachusetts are considering enacting such a requirement.

The survey, done by Aesculap, was e-mailed to a self-selected list of sterile processing professionals.

Additionally, 88% of respondents said they think sterile processing doesn't get the respect it deserves in the industry, and 65% said they don't get enough respect in their own facilities. However, more than 85% said their employers are taking needed steps to improve sterile processing, including adding instrument tracking systems, increasing surgical instrument inventory, and/or purchasing other new sterilization equipment in the next 12 months. Roughly 25% said they plan to implement lean practices and switch from disposable instrument wrap to sterile containers in the next year.

When respondents were asked which of several options would most improve their work, the leading answer was "working better with OR," followed by "accessing more continuing education opportunities," "standardizing instrument sets," "implementing instrument tracking technology," and "seeing more support from hospital and departmental leadership."

Jim Burger

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