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Walking Through a Job Description for a Sterile Tech

Germs are everywhere. That includes hospitals, doctors’ offices, nursing homes, and other facilities that care for patients. In these environments, it’s critical to minimize the risk of infection, and sterile techs are on the front line of that effort every single day.

Cleaning/Decontaminating/Sterilizing Instruments

When instruments are used in a healthcare environment, they must be cleaned, decontaminated, and sterilized before they can be used again. This minimizes the risk of infection for patients, as well as for healthcare personnel. When instruments are returned to the sterile processing area, sterile techs clean them in an autoclave or other device and check them for damage before preparing them for the next use.

Dispensing Instruments and Instrument Trays

Once the instruments are ready to go, they move on to the distribution area. This area covers several functions related to distribution: case cart preparation and delivery, replenishment and delivery, telephone-order and requisition-order filling, and sometimes, patient care equipment delivery. In this way, instruments and other necessary items can be dispensed for everyday use, special cases, or any other needs to provide patient care.


It’s essential to ensure that all instruments are available at all times. When a healthcare provider needs a particular item to care for a patient, there must be no delay. And that’s another responsibility for sterile techs: they monitor inventory to ensure that doctors, nurses, and allied health professionals can access the instrumentation and equipment they need immediately. This is essential to ensure that patients avoid infections.

Ordering Equipment

One part of maintaining inventory is ordering equipment when necessary. When new equipment arrives, sterile techs must examine the equipment and information from the manufacturer to learn how to clean it properly. Every piece of equipment may require a different type of sterilization, and instruments should be sterilized according to the recommendation of the manufacturer.

Documenting Biological Tests

Documentation is important, and that can be especially true in a healthcare environment. Just as patient-care providers must document vital signs, changes in the patient’s status, and other important information, sterile techs must document important information related to the instruments. For example, biological and chemical indicators are used to monitor the sterilization process and indicate if the load was exposed to the appropriate conditions to achieve sterility.

Multitasking, Even Under Stress

This role is so important to keep patients and healthcare providers safe from infection. It’s a critical role in any healthcare environment, so these health professionals must be highly detail-oriented and have the ability to multitask. As the primary line of defense against infection, sterile techs must be prepared, whether the day is relatively quiet or unpredictable, and extremely busy.

Is This the Career for You?

At 365 Healthcare Staffing Services, we specialize in the recruitment and placement of healthcare professionals in per diem, travel, and permanent assignments in healthcare facilities across the country. Sterile techs make a difference for patients and healthcare providers every day. Do you want to make a difference in this way? When you’re looking for your next assignment in the field, we’ll be here: 310.436.3650.