wishes. Some hospitals in our region require certification, while others unfortunately do not. So, a technician can continue to serve in the career as long as the salary is manageable to him/ her, and he/she is able to pass a certification test, if required by their healthcare system.”

More set their sights on certification The percentage of certified CS/SPD professionals continues to rise, with 90 percent of survey respondents stating they have achieved certification (up from 88 percent last year), and an additional 8 percent are either in the process of certification or considering it. The number of CS/SPDs requiring certifica- tion of their staff rose slightly — from 63 percent in 2017 to 64 percent in 2018. The states of New Jersey, New York, Connecticut and Tennes-

see currently require central service technicians to be certified. According to Heidi Melnyk, Executive Director of the Certifica- tion Board for Sterile Processing & Distribution (CBSPD), New York is the only state so far to specifically cite in their statute that the certifying organization for certification must be accredited. “The CBSPD has three of its certifications accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA): Techni- cian, GI Scope and Management. Our Technician certification has been accredited since 1997,” said Melnyk. Josephine Colacci, Esq., Government Affairs Director for the International Association of Healthcare Central Service Materiel Management (IAHCSMM), provided HPN this update on ad- ditional legislative efforts around certification requirements. “In January, IAHCSMM introduced legisla-

tion in Rhode Island for the first time,” said Colacci. “Rhode Island’s legislative session ends in June and we are hopeful about having a committee hearing soon. Our Massachusetts bill successfully passed out of the Joint Public Health Committee and is awaiting a vote in the Joint Health Care Financing Committee. Our Massachusetts bill must be voted out of the Joint Health Care Financing Commit- tee by March 28th to continue to move through the legislative process. We do not think that will be an issue as we have suc- cessfully passed out of this committee before. We are hoping this bill will pass the legislature in 2018.” “Our Pennsylvania legislation has struggled over the last couple of years due to opposition from the hospital association,”

Josephine Colacci

Salary by type of facility 60% - Hospital, Standalone

21% - Hospital, Teaching Facility 10% - IDN/Alliance/Multi-group

7% - Surgi-Center/Ambulatory Center $43,889

1% - Long Term Care Facility/ Home Healthcare

1% - Tissue Bank Years in $45,000 $57,500

Less than 2 2 - 4 5 - 9

10 - 14 15 - 19 20 - 24

more than 25

Salary by years in CS/SPD & years at facility CS/SPD AVG: 18 yrs $29,000 $48,472 $52,612 $63,267 $58,189 $68,483 $66,756

2% 7%

18% 17% 14% 11% 31%

$62,956 $60,933 $65,363 $56,868 63,025 53,355

Facility AVG: 12 yrs 60,100

$57,814 $68,750 $72,714

she added. “We have a House bill that was introduced in 2017, and are hoping to introduce a Senate bill soon. Pennsylvania’s legislative session runs through the end of 2018.” “Certification is key for advancement in our profession,” said Bigler. “Certification shows not only advanced knowledge, but also commitment and dedication to the job long term. In the future, one certification may not be enough for advance- ment. Techs will need to continue on and become a certified endoscope reprocessor, instrument specialist and managers would benefit from becoming certified healthcare leaders through IAHCSMM or managers through CBSPD. Taking some Six Sigma or other Lean courses is also a good way to advance career and salary. CS is very similar to manufacturing, one large assembly line constantly turning out the same product.”

Higher education equals higher pay As in past years, the higher level of education achieved, the higher the average salary in the CS/SPD profession. Those with post-graduate degrees reported the highest pay, an average of $88,190. As a CS/SPD professional climbs the education lad- der from a high school diploma, to an associate’s degree and next to a bachelor’s degree, his/her average salary increases approximately $10,000 according to the survey results: $51,716, $61,500 and $70,582 respectively. “All of us didn’t grow up and say, ‘Hey, I think I want to be a

sterile processing professional,’” said Loraine Durigan, CRCST, CHL, CIS, Materials Manager and CS Supervi- sor, Florida Hospital. “Many of us stumbled into this in some way, shape or form. I was in retail management for 10 years before I became a surgical tech and that’s how I came into sterile processing. Everybody has a different story about how they entered the profession.” According to Bigler, there are many local community colleges in his market of Northeast Ohio offering programs that are one year or less for CS/SPD certification. Students get placed at a clinical site during the program to gain knowledge and real world experience in CS/ SPD. He says many of these students end up becoming em- ployees once they have completed the program and pass their certification. But a downside is that colleges use their CS/SPD certification programs as a feeder for their nursing, respiratory therapy and surgical assisting programs. Bigler explains that students are often on a waitlist for those programs so they complete the CS/SPD program in order to open the door for them to get hired by a hospital. “I have also had staff move onto the larger healthcare sys-

Loraine Durigan

11% 17% 28% 15% 7% 7%


tems that are only a 20 to 30 minute drive and can pay dollars more an hour,” said Bigler. “Also, this job is not for everyone because it can be very stressful and physically demanding at times. Instruments sets can get heavy and it’s a workout wrap- ping 25 loaner sets. I think the work hours are a drawback for most people as well. The majority of the work is performed, after the surgery schedule, which means afternoon shift. It’s hard to find staff to work 3-11 p.m. Most expect to work day- shift right away.” “Those progressive states that have instituted laws regard-

ing CS/SPD certification have enjoyed an increase in post- secondary offerings for sterile processing, but the rest of the country will not match that until public opinion changes,” said Czarnowski. “Area colleges and tech schools will not initi- ate programs without a strong financial incentive to do so, which means students signing up for their programs. In areas without the requirement for certification, or the presence of unions for

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