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How Should Sterile Techs Handle Equipment with COVID-19?

Sterile techs are an integral part of any healthcare environment. They work behind the scenes to clean, decontaminate, and sanitize instruments to be used again. Their efforts keep patients, healthcare providers, and others safe from infection. What does COVID-19 mean for sterile techs? How should they handle equipment during this time?

Follow the Guidelines

The International Association of Healthcare Central Service Materiel Management (IAHCSMM) issues guidelines for sterile techs. Their COVID-19 guidelines, in conjunction with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and Center for Disease Control (CDC), are to follow standard practices for high-level disinfection and sterilization of items contaminated with COVID-19.

Although the process hasn’t changed, the frequency of cleaning has changed in some hospitals. In hospitals with higher numbers of COVID-19 cases, there may be a lot more volume for sterile processing departments. That’s why these departments are working to be sure the cleaning is properly executed on a daily schedule. With COVID-19, as with other contaminants, sterile techs are an integral line of defense for patients and healthcare staff.

Be Flexible

Sterile techs may find that they’re asked to work on items that don’t usually come through sterile processing. This may include some equipment that previously stayed on the nursing floors, as well as code carts and intubation equipment at a much higher rate than ever before. It’s important to be flexible with these temporary demands, which are an important part of maintaining patient safety during COVID-19.

In addition, with personal protective equipment in high demand, sterile techs may be called on to sterilize other items, including N95 or equivalent respirators. The sterilization systems will help healthcare workers protect themselves from exposure to the novel coronavirus. Sterile techs provide essential services every day, and this is definitely true in the time of COVID-19.

Stay Cool Under Pressure

Sterile techs are busy, and their work is essential to protect everyone in the healthcare environment. The job involves hard work, a fast-paced environment, and working behind the scenes in a role that is vital to patient care. And sterile techs meet the demand; they do the work, and they go home after every shift knowing that they made a difference.

Every day, they’re right in the thick of things and responsible for making sure everyone—doctors, nurses, patients, etc.—is safe from contamination. That’s true during COVID-19, as well. That’s why they stay cool under pressure and get the job done.

We Will Get Through This

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. We value your professionalism and your hard work to keep patients and healthcare workers safe from COVID-19 and other germs. When you’re ready for your next assignment, call us at 310.436.3650.