With the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic and the canceling of all in-person seminars and 3rd party onsite education sessions, accumulating continuing education credits became more challenging. After a year of sheltering in place and educational sessions being broadcast over the internet, we still have many sterile processing professionals in need of continuing education to maintain their certifications. The pandemic launched an expansion of CE offerings that you can complete on your own time and almost anywhere.
To say that there weren't many offerings before the pandemic wouldn't be fair. My discussions with technicians throughout the sterile processing field indicated most of those I spoke to did not take advantage of them. This was in part because many of their employers supported on the job education. With that option currently being still being very limited, technicians are turning to the internet.
Most offerings before the pandemic were traditional online courses. Sites like Steris' Steris University, Hospital Purchasing News, and Key Surgical offered continuing education. With the growing popularity of podcasts, the market for CEs grew more extensive and more flexible. Beyond Clean spearheaded the podcast field for sterile processing. Their growth and popularity spread to other podcasts like IAHCSMM's "Process This," Healthmark's"Ask the Educator," and CSAssist's live Facebook broadcasts. To speak the truth, there honestly seems to be almost an unlimited number of sites that offer education for professionals in the sterile processing profession, including those who practice this specialty within the dental, veterinarian, and GI areas; you have to spend a little time searching for them.
It will be interesting to see how the regional and national conferences rebound once the pandemic ends. As a past president of a local sterile processing chapter and as an MC for regional seminars for almost a decade, I truly believe you gain more from in-person events. The ability to network is extremely helpful in hearing others' opinions and gaining personal support. The ability to meet and work with vendors at these events also helps keep you at the tip of the spear.
Take advantage of the online content because it is flexible and, if not free, very low in costs. But, don't miss out on attending your local chapter events and national seminars. Even more importantly, get involved with your local sterile processing chapter and help support education for others.