Wow!!! Men's Health is now talking about dirty surgical instruments. Last week, Sue Klacik sent out an email notifying us that the article was being published....Thanks Sue!
First, it was the Today Show program a few months back, now Men's Health, highlighting the issues with cleaning surgical instruments. It seems that the staff in Central Sterile Services Department (C.S.S.D.) are becoming media stars. What are we going to do with all of the publicity?
The article has given sterile processing professionals a new name: "You probably have never thought about the people in those instrument "cleanup crews", but one day your life may depend on one of them." We now have a new title the "clean up crew."
The article was informative for the general public, mixing quotes and citing studies to make this statement about what patients should do before going into a hospital: "If I have a choice between doing 2 hours of research or getting an infection, I'll go with the research." So it is important for the public to do their due diligence before they enter a hospital.
Despite negative articles and TV programs, what still amazes me is that too many institutions are not even doing the basic steps to reduce many of these concerns. Let me highlight a few critical ones:
require certification of staff to at least set the bar at a minimum level of education and understanding of the job.
provide tools to the staff for verification of many of the steps in the reprocessing cycle.
provide staff the opportunity to attend local, state and even national meetings.
use checklist for key reprocessing steps.
cleaning and inspection tools outlined in the IFU ( spray guns, fiber scopes for viewing,brushes,...)
providing or having a copy of ANSI/AAMI ST 79 in their department as a reference.
As C.S.S.D continues to be in the spotlight, we in the profession must also continue to make positive steps to inform the public about the critical nature of our job. We also need to work to improve the tools and resources that the "clean up crew" has at hand to get the job done right. With education and training we will make the strides needed.
Oh Sue, thanks for letting us know about the article, you made me buy my first ever Men's Health Issue. There are many other interesting stories I may not have read.
Remember to "Always Keep it Clean"