Updated: Apr 1, 2022
by Warren Nist
This week is AAMI's Spring 2022 Sterilization Standards Week. Upcoming is HSPA's (Healthcare Sterile Processing Association) Annual Conference during the week of April 23rd-28th, 2022. These two events are significant in the world of sterile processing. Professionals are gathering together to educate and re-educate each other, and to advance techniques in the field. Developing competence in sterile processing is the ultimate goal of both events.
Competency is tied to job tasks and the knowledge of how to complete those tasks. In contrast, certification in sterile processing is linked to the general understanding of a process more significantly. To have a complete sterile processing technician, you need knowledge and know-how. AAMI provides a rationale in their documents for this reason. However, we can't forget that someone can be competent with a process but not be knowledgeable about why they are doing what they are doing.
Certification validates the learning process. It provides the why. There are greater risks of staff skipping a process step when they don't know why they are doing what they are doing, and skipping steps compromises patient care.
There is no doubt that we need both competency and certification. The two complement each other. With both achieved, an increase in quality assurance will also be performed.
In an article written in the Infection Control Today titled "Study Finds Certification May Impact Surgical Patients," the article states - results from a recent study indicate specialty nursing certification contributes to improved surgical patient outcomes in hospitals nationwide. Sterile processing certifications serve a specialty field.
To learn more about the certification vs. competency in sterile processing, read https://www.evolvedsterileprocessing.com/post/2019/02/28/certification-vs-competency-in-sterile-processing
At Evolved Sterile Processing, our consultants have a greater focus on sterile processing. With our decades of experience, we will help you develop better processes and educational resources for your staff.