the CS/SPD. The job process in CS/SPD is an important part of the patients surgical journey because the surgical instruments being processed correctly or incorrectly can impact a procedure. The CS/SPD techni- cians are the unseen team members of a surgical case whose expertise is needed for the OR team to complete their part of the surgery. We provide the instruments that are needed for a team to perform surgery. Those instruments must be clean, working, assembled in some order and then pro- cessed all according to the instructions for use (IFU). We have a lot of knowledge that does not require that you hold a MBA but you need to understand the ‘how to and why’ when it comes to sterile processing as well as the parameters that must be met to obtain sterility. In a nutshell, no, the pay in this field is not equitable to the job.” “From what I hear and observe SPD

tech wages remain pitiful, with salaries typically falling into the exempt versus nonexempt wage paying category,” said Chuck DePreker, CRCST, CIS, CHL, Operating Room/Sterile Processing Supply Chain Manager at Eisenhower Army Medical Center. “A new and inexperienced tech is brought in at the lowest wage range and it can take a very long period of time — as many

Chuck DePreker

as 20 years — to reach the top wage.” “In many areas of the country, those

where certification is not the law of the land or sterile processing departments are not unionized, compensation has remained flat and dismal,” said Casey Czarnowski, a SPD Educator in Fargo, ND “In regions without post-sec- ondary programs readily available, new technicians can start at about that same rate as full-time night closers at fast food

Casey Czarnowski

How many continuing education courses/self-study lessons do you participate in each year? None 2%

1-4 9%

More than 20 35%

10-14 28%

15-19 17%

5-9 8%

restaurants. Cleaning and sterilizing the instruments that improve the quality of life for people should be worth more than preparing food that decreases it!” “It is no secret we have a compensation

problem in our industry,” said Weston “Hank” Balch, BS, MDiv, CRCST, CIS, CHL, Co-Founder and Host for Beyond Clean Podcast. “As with all eco- nomic issues however, there is no ‘easy fix’ to bring compensation of CS professionals in line with the value they provide to hospitals. Part of the

Weston “Hank” Balch

problem is that many of the organizations that could speak on behalf of CS profes- sionals in the field have decided to instead focus on credentials, recognition and respect. While those are noble causes, rec- ognition obviously does not pay the bills.” “CS/SPD salaries are not where we should be but our organization is im- proving,” said Albert Huether, Director of the Sterile Processing Department at Methodist Healthcare System, San Antonio. “It has been a struggle the last seven years, but we are com petitive to the local market in most job descriptions. We do have a few areas in need of im- provement, such as entry level. We are working in collaboration with Human Resources to bridge this gap.”

Albert Huether

Job security

Job security held steady, with nearly half (49 percent) of respondents reporting they

Are you a member of any of the following organizations?

IAHCSMM International Association of Healthcare Central Service Materiel Management

CBSPD Certification Board for Sterile Processing and Dis- tribution


Association for the Advancement of Medical Instru- mentation


Association of Surgical Technolgists AORN

Association of periOperative Registered Nurses State Certification Board SGNA

Society of Gastroenterology Nurses & Associates AHRMM

Association for Healthcare Resource and Materials Management


Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology

Other: None

2% 7%


7% 6% 4%

2% 1%

73% 26% 22%

are “very secure” in their positions, and an additional 46 percent stating that they are “somewhat secure.” “In Northeast Ohio there is currently a huge demand for CS staff,” said Randy Bigler, Manager of Sterile Supply for Summa Health in Ak- ron, OH. “From Aultman and Summa in the Can- ton and Akron markets, to Cleveland Clinic and

Randy Bigler

University Hospitals in Cleveland, there are endless opportunities for CS/SPD pro- fessionals. The biggest challenge is finding qualified, experienced and certified staff.” Huether attributes job security in his city — San Antonio — to the lack of ex- perienced personnel available in the area to meet the open job market demand. He notes that this has contributed to an “em- ployee’s market.”

Czarnowski states that the job market for

sterile processing professionals is strong in his market of Fargo, ND as well, stating: “With high turnover being the norm, a medium or high performer can expect to stay in the job for as long as he or she

Which certifications do you hold?

CRCST - Certified Registered Central Service Technician

CHL - Certified in Healthcare Leadership Strategies

CSPDT- Certified Sterile Processing Distribution Technician

CIS - Certified Instrumentation Specialist CST - Certified Surgical Technician

CFER - Flexible Endoscope Reprocessor Certification

Certififed IAHCSMM Instructor SPD Technician Certification

CSPDM - SPD Manager Certification RN - Registered Nurse

CSPDS - SPD Supervisor Certification CNOR - Certified Nurse Operating Room

CMDRT - Certified Medical Device Reprocessing Technician

CSIP - Surgical Instrument Processor

CHMMC — Certification in Healthcare Materiel Management Concepts

CNA - Certified Nursing Assistant LPN - Licensed Practical Nurse CORT - Certified O.R. Technician

CPHQ - Certified Professional in Health Quality

CASSPT - Certified Ambulatory Surgery Technician

CMRP - Certified Materials & Resource Professional

State Certification Other None

64% 23% 21%

19% 9% 8%

6% 6% 5% 5% 3% 3% 2%

2% 1%

1% 1% 1% 1%

>1% >1%

>1% 1% 6% • HEALTHCARE PURCHASING NEWS • April 2018 31

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