Outpatient Surgery Magazine

Work-Life Balance - January 2017 - Subscribe to Outpatient Surgery Magazine

Outpatient Surgery Magazine, providing current information on Surgical Services, Surgical Facility Administration, Outpatient Surgery News and Trends, OR Excellence and more.

Issue link: http://outpatientsurgery.uberflip.com/i/771120

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Page 146 of 162

half of all hospitals and surgery centers for noncompliance to the infection prevention and control standard (IC.02.02.01), according to the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI). Why is it happening, and how can you make sure subpar ster- ile processing doesn't endanger lives and reputations at your facility? Market factors First, let's acknowledge what might be a slightly uncomfortable truth. Sterile processing techs are often very underpaid and under-appreciat- ed, considering the significance of the job they do. They're victims of supply and demand. Only 4 states (N.Y., N.J., Conn., and as of just recently, Tenn.) require sterile processors to be certified, and no spe- cial education or degree is required anywhere. So, theoretically, almost anyone can be hired to do the job. Combine that reality with the limited resources often available to hospitals and surgery centers and it's easy to see how lapses happen. But if we didn't realize it before, we certainly should now — in light of all the recent issues and publicity — that proper training and continu- ous documented competency are absolute musts. Even if your state doesn't require your reprocessors to be certified, maybe your facility should. Have an expert How can you make sure your sterile processors are competent? Every facility should have a subject matter expert (SME) — a manager, supervisor or educator who's responsible for staying up to date with current published standards and guidelines. The staying-up-to-date part is crucial. Your SME can't rely on what she learned 20, 10, or even 5 years ago. Change is constant, and compliance with evidence- based practice is a must. J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 7 • O U T PA T I E N TS U R G E R Y. N E T • 1 4 7

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