Don’t Miss the Opportunity to Honor Sterile Processing Professionals
By Julie Williamson
Note: This article also appeared in the October 2019 issue of Healthcare Hygiene magazine, available HERE.
The International Association of Healthcare Central Service Materiel Management (IAHCSMM) never misses the opportunity to honor Central Service/Sterile Processing (CS/SP) professionals worldwide for their professionalism and dedication to doing what’s right – throughout every shift and every day of the year. Still, International Central Service Week provides seven well-deserved days where all CS/SP professionals can celebrate themselves, their co-workers and their far-reaching contributions to customer service and patient safety. Hopefully, it’s also a week where their healthcare administrators and interdepartmental teammates carve out time to honor them in a meaningful way.
Without question, CS/SP professionals are worthy of the celebration. Without their minute-by-minute contributions, instruments needed for patient care wouldn’t be properly cleaned, disinfected/sterilized, prepared, transported and delivered for use in the operating room (OR) and other patient care areas. They also routinely inspect each instrument during processing to ensure they are in good working order. Put simply, without their dedication and commitment to their daily on-the-job responsibilities, surgeries and other healthcare procedures couldn’t be performed and safe, high-quality patient care couldn’t be delivered.
As a full-service association that provides certification, continuing education and support offerings to CS/SP professionals worldwide, IAHCSMM makes it a priority each year to provide tips, tools and useful resources to help these hardworking individuals make the most of CS Week. New this year, IAHCSMM created thank you cards, professional development awards and certificates of appreciation that can be downloaded at no charge, printed, signed by managers and shared liberally with team members. IAHCSMM also created CS Week event invitation letter templates, along with numerous downloadable posters that can help announce CS Week in designated areas of the department and throughout the facility. To access these downloadable items and discover more CS Week planning ideas, visit www.iahcsmm.org/events/cs-week.html.
What follows are some additional tips to help make the most of CS Week:
• Reach beyond the walls of CS/SP. Inform other healthcare professionals in the facility about CS Week and explain why celebrating the profession is important – not just for CS/SP professionals, but for everyone in the facility. Consider advertising CS Week events in facility newsletters, posting flyers in corridors, break rooms and other common areas, and perhaps even writing a brief article for local newspapers (or asking the facility’s media relations department to assist). Be sure to include brief details about why CS/SP is so vital to patient care, along with dates, times and locations of planned events.
• Schedule daily events. Consider an open house for one day, for example, and recruit vendors to provide educational inservices on another one or two. Host a fun, yet informative, education-based lunch, dinner or dessert social, and invite team members from the OR, Infection Prevention, Endoscopy, etc., as well as C-level executives and others, to participate.
• Team up for visual education. Collaborate with healthcare customers and create poster presentations, bulletin boards or hands-on demonstrations of how each department can assist CS/SP (and vice versa) in doing their job more effectively and efficiently.
• Give heartfelt tokens of appreciation. Gifts are always appreciated, and they can be provided even on the tightest of budgets. Handwritten, personalized and heartful notes of appreciation are among the most cherished gifts employees can receive (the downloadable cards at www.iahcsmm.org/events/cs-week.html make this even simpler).
For more information and CS Week planning tools and tips, visit https://www.iahcsmm.org/events/cs-week.html.
IAHCSMM Podcast, Webinar: New Tools for CS Week
Want audio and visual tools to help your team celebrate CS Week and educate others about your profession? IAHCSMM has you covered with a new webinar and the very first podcast in IAHCSMM’s PROCESS THIS! podcast series. This first podcast will be released Oct. 15, 2019 and will shed light on the physical and mental processes that support the many layered and integrated processes within sterile processing – each of which must align for quality outcomes, departmental improvements and safe patient care.
The new webinar, “Welcome to Our World: Celebrating CS Week,” reminds all healthcare professionals that success within the fast-paced, technical and often unpredictable world of CS/SP hinges on instrument processing professionals’ ability to work effectively as a team to keep up with change, overcome challenges and meet customers’ needs.
The podcast and webinar remind listeners/viewers that without well-trained reprocessing professionals and documented processes serving as the foundation of the department’s practices, patient safety can begin to unravel. To access the October 15 podcast, visit www.iahcsmm.org/process-this. Podcasts are available at no change, and a new podcast will be released and added to the PROCESS THIS! library every two weeks. To gain access to the full webinar library, visit www.iahcsmm.org/webinars.
Note: Webinars are offered at no charge to IAHCMSM members; non-members may access them for a nominal fee. Once a webinar has been purchased, users may view the content through their IAHCSMM account portal. If membership is in good standing, the cost of each webinar will show as $0 in the shopping cart; simply complete the $0 payment to gain access to the webinars. Each podcast episode is worth 0.5 continuing education credits; completion of any IAHCSMM webinar provides 1 CE credit.