10 Reasons Why Sterile Processing is Important


Consistent process improvement remains a priority in professional settings, particularly in healthcare that deals with people’s lives. In the healthcare processing department, it can significantly mean the difference between the patients’ full recovery or obtaining infections.

One of the things to learn about in becoming a sterile processing technician is the Certification Board for Sterile Processing and Distribution, or CBSPD. Numerous systems, products, services, and technology enable hospitals’ Central Service/Sterile Processing and Distribution or CS/SPD departments to clean, sterilize, and prepare surgical devices and instruments.

What Is Sterile Processing?

Sterile processing technicians can learn about sterile processing in the SPT certification program. Sterile processing is the process of cleaning and sterilizing medical equipment before reuse. It is one of the most crucial factors in avoiding the spread of healthcare-associated infections or HAIs in a medical facility. Patients, doctors, or anyone touching recently used medical tools can prevent disease with proper sterile processing.

Sterile processing technicians clean and sterilize medical supplies through proper cleaning, sterilizing, assembling, storing, and distributing processes. They begin sterile processing when non-disposable medical instruments used in conducting operations are transferred to a designated decontamination room and cleaned in good ways to prepare them for reuse.

When instruments are brought to the decontamination room, they can be dismantled and manually cleaned. Sterile processing technicians use an enzymatic solution or detergent for these medical instruments before being ultrasonically cleaned, washed, and packaged for sterilization. After sterilization, the medical tools must be free of pathogens and suitable for reuse.

Job growth is expected in physician offices and clinics, which include outpatient care centers, surgery centers, nursing homes, and assisted living facilities. Sterile processing technicians play a crucial role behind the scenes in a continuously evolving and fast-paced medical environment. While sterile processing technicians have a significant role in avoiding infections, they have minimal direct patient contact.

Due to the nature of their job, sterile processing technicians must be meticulous in decontaminating instruments and equipment by avoiding body fluids and properly handling strong cleaning chemicals. Frequently, they wear personal protective equipment or PPE such as surgical gowns, gloves, and face masks while disinfecting medical instruments and equipment.

For more details about the different reasons why sterile processing is essential, here is an infographic from Martinson College.