Sterile Processing Technicians are crucial in maintaining infection control, as they are responsible for the proper sterilization of instruments and equipment, ensuring they are safe for patient care.

Technicians are responsible for preventing disease transmission through the sterilization process. The sterilization process destroys all microorganisms on the surface of a tool or packaged fluid. Additionally, technicians are also responsible for delivering these sterile products to hospital departments or the surgery suite.

  • The SPD processes medical equipment and tools
  • Prepares instruments for decontaimination
  • Clean and sterilize instruments and tools
  • Inspect instruments and equpment for signs of damage, wear or tear
  • Keep inventory and manage stock, ensuring that inventory levels are high and tools are readily available
  • Deliver equipment and supplies to varoius areas within a healthcare facility. Techs also respond to emergency supply requests during surgical procedures.
  • Keep accurate records of when items undergo sterilization and track the sterilization process
  • Monitors temperature and humidity conditions within storage areas to maintain the effectiveness of the sterilization process.

Sterilization is essential for maintaining patient safety, protecting healthcare personnel, and preventing the spread of infections. It’s a critical step in ensuring the overall quality of healthcare services.

5 Answers to Question that every sterile processing technician should know

Q1: What were the historical practices for steam sterilization?

A: In the early days of gravity-only sterilization cycles, woven cotton muslin wraps were commonly used to wrap instrument sets. These wraps had excellent absorption properties, necessitating thorough drying. At the end of a steam sterilization cycle, it was common practice to crack the sterilizer door to ensure that muslin-wrapped packs emerged completely dry.

Q2: How have times changed regarding sterilization materials?

A: In the fast-paced world of medical instrument sterilization, we’ve seen a significant shift in materials. We’ve moved away from the absorbent muslin wraps of the past. Today, non-woven materials are the preferred choice.

These materials, with their lower absorbency and reduced moisture retention, align with the latest guidelines from the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI) ST79. These guidelines recommend rejecting wrapped packs showing external moisture droplets after a steam sterilization cycle.

This rejection prevents potential recontamination by microorganisms wicking through the wrap, ensuring the highest level of sterilization.

Q3: Why should personnel avoid the cracked-door technique for drying packs?

HISTORY: During the earlier times, when sterilization cycles solely depended on gravity, medical instrument sets were wrapped in cotton muslin wraps that had excellent absorption properties.

These muslin wraps could absorb external water, and since modern mechanical vacuum systems were unavailable, cracking the door was considered an acceptable approach to ensure that the packs were dry. It was imperative to expose the muslin-wrapped packs to air after sterilization, allowing them to dry.

Although acceptable in the days of gravity-only cycles and muslin sterilization wrap, it is no longer necessary to crack the sterilizer door following a steam sterilization cycle and it may hinder the drying process

PRIMUS-brand sterilizers from Spire Integrated Solutions

A: It’s crucial to understand that no wrap manufacturer can guarantee sterility when visible water droplets cling to the outside of a pack. This is why personnel should avoid the cracked-door technique for drying.

The presence of external moisture compromises sterility and significantly increases the risk of contamination. By being aware of this risk, we can take the necessary precautions to maintain the highest standards of sterilization.

Q4: What’s the physics behind leaving a load inside the sterilizer with the door cracked?

A: The chamber is still hot when you crack the door. The temperature difference between the pack and the chamber is minimal (usually not more than 20°F). Additionally, the humidity inside the sterilizer isn’t as low as outside. As a result, any remaining moisture in the pack lacks the motivation to escape.

Q5: What’s a better approach for drying sterilized packs?

A: The best approach for drying sterilized packs is to remove them promptly after completing the sterilization cycle. This not only kickstarts the cooling process but also makes the sterilizer available for processing additional loads.

Remember that proper drying ensures that sterilized instruments are safe for use. Drying is a critical step in the sterilization process to prevent contamination and ensure patient safety.

If the sterilization wrapper doesn’t show external moisture and you handle the pack only after it cools to room temperature, you can maintain sterility without compromising drying efficiency. This method ensures that we are not only efficient in our processes but also maintain the highest standards of sterilization, giving you confidence in the safety of our practices.

Have questions about employing a PRIMUS Steam Sterilizer in your healthcare facility or laboratory?

Let Spire Integrated Solutions help you sort out your thoughts for adding a small, medium, or large-sized steam sterilizer inside your facility. There is no obligation to buy, just to talk about it. Reach out to our inhouse steam sterilizer experts, today.

Lifescience | Dave Schall at 877 679 7800 x1212 or

Healthcare | Chuck D’Angelone at 877 679 7800 x3010 or

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