The People’s President of HSPA: An Exclusive Conversation With Anthony Bondon, CRCST, CHL, BSM, AAS, SME, LSSYB

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HSPA’s 2024-2025 president, Anthony Bondon, CRCST, CHL, BSM, AAS, SME, LSSYB, spoke with Infection Control Today to discuss his goals for his tenure and more.

The Healthcare Sterile Processing Association (HSPA), the association for sterile processing technicians, is governed by an elected Board of Directors. The board is tasked with optimizing the Association's service to members while upholding its mission. This board sets policy, guides activities, and supervises financial and chapter affairs.

The Board consists of the president, president-elect, immediate past president, secretary/treasurer, and an executive director serving ex-officio, along with 6 directors elected by the membership.

Anthony Bondon, CRCST, CHL, BSM, AAS, SME, LSSYB, the 2024 president of HSPA and director of sterile processing at WellStar Kennestone Regional Medical Center in Marietta, Georgia, sat down with Infection Control Today® (ICT®) the day before he took the president’s mantle at the HSPA Annual Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada, held from April 20 to April 23, 2024.

In the discussion, the president explains his goals for the year, the story behind why an HSPA chapter was instrumental in his success in the sterile processing field, and how chapters are vital now to others in the field. He also tells ICT what he sees as the biggest challenges for sterile processing technicians and his thoughts on the annual conference.

ICT: Please tell ICT’s audience about yourself.

Anthony Bondon, CRCST, CHL, BSM, AAS, SME, LSSYB: My name is Anthony Bondon. Most people call me Tony, but I always say it's Anthony if I'm in trouble. [laughs] I am the director of sterile processing for WellStar Kennestone Regional Medical Center and the President-Elect, soon-to-be president, of HSPA, Healthcare Sterile Processing Association, I am elated to be in my space or in my skin at this particular time.

ICT: What are your goals for your year as president of HSPA?

AB: I think that my goals are ever-evolving. And I say that just to mean that when I ran, I ran as the people's president, and I wanted it to be the voice of the frontline staff. A lot of times in this space, sometimes, we tend to make the office about us. I want it to be the change that I want to see. And so, for me, my goals will be whatever propels frontline staff to have the voice and the recognition that I feel that they deserve.

For me, I will continue to promote the local chapters and advocate for the unity of sterile processing as an industry. I just feel that we're a special certain kind of people. And so, I think that for us, a lot of times, our stories have meaning that helps and encourages and motivates other people. And those stories aren't always shared as much as they should be only because, a lot of times, we silo ourselves, and we're not sharing. So, I want to expand on that work. I want to make sure that we are talking to one another and that we, as an industry, are more united than we ever have been before.

ICT: As president-elect, you added 12 new HSPA chapters last year. Why has that been such an important goal?

AB: First of all, I did not do the work. I want to give credit, again, to the people [who] are actually putting those chapters together. And then Damien Berg, our vice president of Strategic Initiatives knows him coming in. And it's showing that all the paperwork and all the formalities and stuff are accomplished so that we can move forward with those chapters.

I'll tell you why. It was the local chapter that saved my career. When I was a young sterile processing technician, I didn't really have the commitment to the purpose that it takes to thrive and do our job the way that it should be done. And what changed that perspective was that I got in trouble.

At that time, Richard Shula was my director, he was my first director of sterile processing. And it's a unique perspective, and I want you to get involved with the local chapter. It was a part of my performance improvement plan.

That changed my life. I began to meet people who were passionate about sterile processing, and I began to really understand the importance of what we did and the why behind what we do. For me, that local chapter encouraged me to take those additional steps that inherently got me to where I am today. And so, for me, that's why it's so important because there are a lot of young, energetic talent who may not be connected to the purpose.

I think that as we continue to unite, [the local chapers] will grow the network in our industry in sterile processing. I think that the local chapter gives us that platform to be able to do that when you can't necessarily come to the annual conference itself. That's why it's very, very important to me.

ICT: What are the biggest challenges for sterile processing technicians right now, and how can they be overcome?

Honestly, I think it's us. I think we don't give ourselves enough credit in our own space. You know, I hear people don't recognize us [in the operating room], administration, health care. But, honestly, what I see is that we don't always give one another the credit. And that's why, again, going back to [creating] that local chapter and creating this network of unity in our industry as a whole is important to me. And that's really what I want my main focus to be this year—to promote unity. Because we don't give ourselves enough credit and what I've seen, more times than not, is that we undervalue who we are in our own space. We get to a certain pinnacle, and instead of reaching down and helping [others] up, we're looking down. And so those are the things that I feel that sometimes you don't know what you don't know. What you don't know, what you don't really recognize.

And so, I just want to put the cards on the table. I want us to understand how amazing we are, not just in our space but as people. I meet so many amazing people who have overcome so much. And we don't know what people go home to, you know, what they what challenges they have, what things they've had to overcome in their lives, and their childhoods. But they're here, and they're thriving, and they're handling these things, and then they come to work, and we deal with the things that we deal with. And you know, Monique [L. Jelks, MSOL, CRCST, 2023 HSPA president]'s phrase, “We win,” and so I want us to promote that. Rather than putting it on the back burner or silence it, I want us to shout that out loud about just how amazing we are as a people in the industry.

ICT: Do you have anything else you would like to add?

AB: Just that, again, it's been a tremendous honor to meet people here at the annual conference. It's been very humbling and encouraging how many people have walked up, you know, and just introduced themselves and said congratulations. And so I certainly want to assure the industry that I want to represent them well, but also, again, my commitment is to the frontline.

For more HSPA24 conference coverage, click here.

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