The main responsibility of the Sterile Processing Technician is to ensure that all instruments used in a hospital or healthcare facility are clean and sterile. This requires performing manual cleaning prior to sterilization, placing the cleaned instruments in sterilizers such as autoclaves and starting and monitoring autoclaves. It would also be necessary to examine equipment for defects and report problems, test the autoclaves and record the results, assemble instrument trays, distribute supplies, order supplies and ensure that all sterile supplies are within their expiration date.
Normally a high school diploma is the only education necessary to become a Sterile Processing Technician but there are also specific training courses offered in most community colleges. Training in this field would cover medical terminology, sterilization and aseptic techniques, as well as equipment management. Other subjects may include computer, professional development and/or lab courses.
Some of the duties of the Sterile Processing Technician may include:
Monitoring biological and chemical wash solution to ensure quality and consistency for decontamination of instruments and medical equipment.
Decontamination and sterilization of instruments, medical supplies and equipment. Assemble, wrap and sterilize trays of instruments. Follow proper standard precautions while in decontamination and sterilization areas.
Sort mismatched sets of instruments, trays and medical equipment and make sure they are available when needed.
Label, restock and maintain inventory of supplies. Submit requests, collect and distribute instruments, trays, crash carts and facility medical equipment.
Perform environmental maintenance duties and assist in maintaining inventory levels in the operating room, equipment storage areas and sterile processing.
Maintain a clean work area
Communicate appropriately using good personal skills
Verify that equipment is functioning property. Request equipment maintenance, repair or replacement when necessary and remove defective equipment.
Assist in maintaining established departmental policies and procedures, objectives, quality improvement, safety and environmental and infection control standards.