Archive June 2017 XVIII, No. 6

Don't Be a Stranger to the Scope Room

Because there's a lot you don't know about endoscope reprocessing.

Laura Schneider

Laura Schneider, RN, CGRN, CASC, CFER


scope reprocessors OBSERVE AND MONITOR Scope reprocessors are the least trained and least paid people in most facilities, yet they have a most vital role. Learn how to observe and monitor scope reprocessing procedures at your center.

When's the last time you ventured into the scope room? If you're like most OR leaders, it's probably been a while. After all, you don't know how to operate a flush pump, an automated endoscope reprocessor (AER) or a leak tester. What words of wisdom can you offer reprocessing techs who have years of experience? Plenty, it turns out. Yes, you're no expert, but there's much you can do to help your reprocessors perform their most vital role safely and efficiently. But you can do so only if you step foot in the scope room. Here's what to do once you're there.

1. Watch and learn
Shadow a reprocessing tech from start to finish as he performs the 200-plus steps involved in reprocessing a scope — from bedside cleaning to leak testing to manual cleaning to rinsing to visual inspection to high-level disinfection to rinsing (again) to drying to storage. Each of the directors of the 16 endoscopy centers that I oversee performs a monthly scope room audit. It's an invaluable exercise that will open your eyes to how mentally challenging and physically grueling the job is.

You can learn a lot during a 15-minute visit. You might discover that your techs are skipping steps or cutting corners, or that they each have their own way of reprocessing scopes. "This is the way I do it." But the scope room is not the place for individual expression. One way to get all your techs on the same page: Paper the walls with cheat sheets and manufacturer's posters that illustrate the different steps.

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