Certification for CSSD Professionals Elevates the Profession, Addresses Complexities of the Job

ICT spoke with Steve Maley, CSPDM, CHL, manager of sterile processing at Crouse Hospital in Syracuse, N.Y. and president of the New York State Association of Central Sterile Professionals (NYSACSP), for an update on the status of efforts to make certification mandatory for all central sterile professionals as a condition of employment in New York state.

By Kelly M. Pyrek

ICT spoke with Steve Maley, CSPDM, CHL, manager of sterile processing at Crouse Hospital in Syracuse, N.Y. and president of the New York State Association of Central Sterile Professionals (NYSACSP), for an update on the status of efforts to make certification mandatory for all central sterile professionals as a condition of employment in New York state.

ICT: The new focus going forward with the rewritten bill is on certification, not licensure what is the reasoning behind this change of focus and how does it change the political dynamics?

Maley: The focus has always been certification. Certification eliminates the need for a license and the financial burden to the state. The sterile processing profession has two certificating agencies that have distinct requirements already in place for oversight.

ICT: Working with the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN) led to this change of focus; does it signal greater cooperation for the long-term future?

Maley: AORN voiced concerns regarding the structure of our 2010 NYS bill. Both organizations want what is best for the patient and patient safety. In June 2010, we met with AORN and discussed aligning our goals. At this time, I believe that AORN is supportive of our new legislation, A6030. Yes, it does signal greater cooperation for the long-term future. Additionally, the International Association of Healthcare Central Service Materiel Management (IAHCSMM) hired a government affairs director to help guide and direct the members in obtaining certification at the state level.

ICT: Obviously so much of the nation is watching what happens in New York whats the take-home message for states weighing certification?

Maley: Central sterile supply department (CSSD) professionals are those responsible for ensuring that instrumentation and equipment used in medical and surgical procedures is properly cleaned, disinfected, inspected and sterilized prior to patient use. Clearly, this is a critical component in the delivery of quality patient care; unfortunately, the central sterile supply profession is one whose value and contributions continue to be underestimated or overlooked by some healthcare organizations and state health officials. IAHCSMM believes that CSSD professionals in every facility throughout the nation must receive ongoing, formal training and become certified in order to perform their daily duties safely, effectively and consistently. The frightening reality is that in some facilities across the country, CSSD professionals are performing this essential function in the absence of any formal training and certification requirements. IAHCSMM is working tirelessly to raise the bar on knowledge advancement and professionalism within the Central Sterile Supply discipline, and to promote certification nationwide.

ICT: From your perspective, what are the benefits of certification and how does it elevate the profession?

Maley: The central sterile supply profession continues to evolve at a rapid pace with new surgical items being introduced regularly. The processing of robotics, endoscopes, joint replacement, and related instruments and equipment requires an advanced technical knowledge that only certification will provide. New Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI) standards require certification for individuals responsible for sterilization activities, as well as those who manage Central Sterile Supply processes. New Joint Commission National Patient Safety Goals require specific knowledge of the processing and monitoring of instrumentation and equipment to comply with their rigid quality control policies in order to prevent patient injury. To comply with these requirements, CSSD technicians must receive ongoing, formal training, including certification, in order to perform their daily duties safely, effectively and consistently. Certification will promote healthcare quality, reduce the risk of hospital-acquired infections, and ensure successful patient care.

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