If you’re looking for an entry-level healthcare job, becoming a sterile processing technician may be the right career move for you. You’ll be responsible for sterilizing medical equipment and instruments that doctors use in patient treatments. This role is vital to hospitals, and you’ll be a part of a team that’s focused on keeping patients safe and healthy. You’ll learn the skills you need to succeed in this career at an accredited training program, at a vocational school or through on-the-job training.
Surgeons, nurses and other medical professionals depend on the many sterilized tools and devices that they use in their work. In fact, the central sterile processing department is often referred to as the heart of the hospital. It’s where surgical tools and medical equipment are decontaminated, inspected, reassembled, sterilized, and packaged for delivery throughout the hospital. Sterile processing technicians are a crucial component of the entire hospital workforce.
A Sterile Processing Technician is a highly specialized job that requires attention to detail and adherence to strict infection control procedures. You’ll be responsible for sterilizing equipment and instruments, restocking supplies, taking inventory, assembling instrument trays, placing orders, and checking products to make sure they’re safe for surgery. Additionally, you’ll be in charge of maintaining and repairing certain equipment like autoclaves.
You’ll also need manual dexterity to handle sharp instruments and to operate machinery. You’ll also need to be able to maintain focus and concentration for long periods of time and adhere to rigorous infection control standards at all times. Sterile processing technicians work in various facilities, but most are employed in hospitals. If you’re interested in working as a sterile processing technician, you can find training programs at colleges, vocational schools, and online. Most sterile processing technician training programs include an externship component, so you can gain experience in a real-world hospital setting before you graduate.
There are some perks to this career, such as the ability to work flexible hours and to be a part of a team that’s committed to the safety of patients. However, it’s important to remember that this is not a job for everyone. If you don’t have the emotional or mental capacity to handle working in a high-stress environment, it may be best to pursue another career option.
If you’re considering becoming a sterile processing technician, be sure to enroll in an accredited program and take prerequisites such as anatomy and physiology and medical terminology before beginning your training. It’s also a good idea to get certified in your state before you apply for employment. Certification is not required for all jobs, but it can be a valuable asset to have in your resume. You’ll also find that some employers prefer to hire a certified technician. This shows they’re committed to providing the highest level of quality care to their patients.