Sterile Processing Technicians: Preparing for Survey


Jill Holdsworth, MS, CIC, FAPIC, CRCST, NREMT, CHL, and Katie Belski, BSHCA, CRCST, CHL, CIS, spoke at the HSPA Annual Conference about being survey-ready. Listen to ICT's interview to learn more!

How do sterile processing technicians prepare for a surveyor to walk through the door? Do they know the questions they may be asked? Do they know the answers to those questions? What are the surveyors looking for?

That was the topic of the presentation given by Jill Holdsworth, MS, CIC, FAPIC, CRCST, NREMT, CHL, manager of infection prevention for Emory University Hospital Midtown, Atlanta, Georgia; and Katie Belski, BSHCA, CRCST, CHL, CIS, quality and patient safety coordinator at Ascension Columbia St Mary’s Hospital.

Their presentation was titled “Get Survey Ready! Quality and Infection Prevention Regulatory Hot Topics” at the Healthcare Sterile Processing Association (HSPA) Annual Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada, from April 20 to April 23, 2024.

After their presentation, Holdsworth and Belski spoke with Infection Control Today® (ICT®) about their key points and the challenges that sterile processing technicians face today.

“Our presentation covered quality and infection prevention regulatory topics,” Belski said. Team members will be survey-ready. Jill and I are passionate about this topic. Working closely in sterile processing ourselves, we've recognized the importance of the relationships that need to be formed between quality and infection prevention to feel comfortable.”

One of the key takeaways from their presentation is to round together with environmental services and facilities. Holdsworth explained. “With environmental services and facilities, it's important to bring them into your rounds and round at the same time, rather than everybody rounding at separate times. It's also important to know the AAMI standards and read those [and] try to follow them. We talked a lot about what all the different standards say. And it's just really being engaged. If you're an infection preventionist, spend time in the sterile processing department, understand what people are seeing as issues, and be viewed as a partner, not an auditor, so that we can all partner together and work together. We don't need to be working separately; we need to be working as team members.”

Find other coverage from HSPA 2024 and previous years here.

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