Sterile processing technicians, also known as surgical technologists, work as part of an operations team in a health care organization. They play an essential role in patient safety as well as infection control. Sterile processing technicians operate the sterilizing equipment such as the autoclave that sterilizes equipment, gloves, and needles. They must obey all hospital policies and are responsible for arranging the surgical equipment in the operating room. They must check, assemble, and adjust all medical tools to ensure they are all functioning properly before the surgery begins. They must make sure all tools and equipment have been decontaminated and that the area is completely sterile before and after procedures. Due to hospitals' around-the-clock schedule, being on-call is often required, as is some holiday work.
Surgical technicians must to be able to proactively develop and maintain technical knowledge in many specialized areas, remaining up to date on changing practices and trends. They must be able to identify areas in which improvements can be made and then help implement those changes.
Sterile processing technicians should also possess great communication skills to work effectively with other members of the team, as well as patients. Certification from a relevant program is necessary; before full certification, they must attend lectures and have clinical training sessions for one year in a hospital setting. Many employers require some experience.
Sterile Processing Technician Tasks
- Deliver supplies and carts for expected and unusual situations.
- Prepare equipment for procedures.
- Sterilize and deliver instruments and equipment for patient care.