Sterile Processing Schools, Education, and Training

A common keyword phrase searched for on the major search engines is “sterile processing schools.” You will find some of the schools (mostly career, technical, and community colleges) that will come up in such searches on the CSPI website. Inclusion in the CSPI links section does not indicate endorsement, rather these are placed merely for your convenience (this site aims to be a consolidation of resources on all things SPD).

A few notes about such programs…

1) Though most such programs are “certificate” programs, one is not deemed certified upon completion of these programs. One still must register and apply for either the CBSPD or IAHCSMM exam and pass to achieve certification.

2) Most of these programs cost $1000+.

3) Most of the programs are live, on-campus offerings and therefore one must live near such a program for it to be of any benefit. Virtually no programs are offered with an online option (there are one or two good ones, e.g., the program via Purdue Continuing Education). However, most of the online offerings aren’t 100% online.

4) Such training programs (primarily speaking to those looking to break into the field) don’t guarantee employment opportunities.

5) Quality control. There is little uniformity in central sterile processing education and as such quality is always a question.

Considering all of the above (particularly affordability, convenience, and quality), it is for this reason that The CSPI is set to launch a completely online, comprehensive SPD courses that are affordable, comprehensive, convenient, and quality products.

The SPD profession has been under served and under valued for far too long. There is a long way to go before it achieves the standing in the professional healthcare community that it deserves-that its professionals deserve.

There are several ways to raise the standing of the profession and both center around education. The first way is for SPD technicians take the initiative for education and personal growth upon themselves and pursue every avenue to increase their knowledge base and thus, subsequently, equip themselves to provide a better quality patient care product.

Secondly, is for perioperative leaders (those of whom to whom SPD reports directly) as well as infection control directors and hospital administrators to recognize the importance of the sterile processing field and department within one’s facility and the role of sterile processing in infection control and patient safety. Administrators, those with the most local power to impact the SPD profession (at least at their facility and within their own organizations) should take the time to learn more about the field and department. Sterile processing will then be viewed as a clinical and technical field and less pure service and support arena.

One thing that an administrative team could implement today is to require their HR departments to mandate, for new hires, a minimum of 6 months work experience, professional certification, and at least completion of a minimal course in central sterile.

The profession is changing rapidly and, as the profession changes, how it is viewed by its clinical and technical peers will continue to change as well.

Copyright 2010 by Shane Huey. All rights reserved.