top of page

What Does Your Sterile Processing Manager Do?

Updated: Mar 10, 2022

A sterile processing manager's responsibilities differ from location to location, as do their job titles. In some facilities, you may find the job description as Manager, Technical Manager, Operations Manager, or even Director. The position can be described as Supervisor or Lead Technician in other facilities. The staffing size of the department often dictates the job description title, but not always.

The sterile processing department (SPD) is a unique department that is often misunderstood. You may find the department in the facility's organizational chart under Nursing, Materials Management, or another hospital support department's structure. There is no doubt that SPD is a support department. Its functionality is designed to support the Operating Room mainly, but it also services many clinical spaces. The department is more a manufacturing department than a clinical space, but with the clinical expertise of surgical instrument reprocessing. The operational expenses can be in the millions of dollars to keep this department functional. And when the department is functioning poorly the whole facility feels it.

So what does a SPD manager do? Here are some job duties:

Daily Managment

  1. Directs and coordinates staff in CPD to assure the delivery of patient care items and surgical instrumentation in a timely manner to meet customer needs completely and accurately.

  2. Understands the principles of sterile processing and the regulatory requirements of the State, the Joint Commission (or regulatory body, and CMS for SPD.

  3. Assures area is regulatory ready at all times.

Operational Management

  1. Ensures compliance with SPD functions by overseeing and directing staff in:

  2. Collection and processing of patient care equipment and surgical instruments.

  3. Inspection and Packaging of surgical instrumentation.

  4. Sterilization of surgical instrumentation.

  5. Handling and Distribution of clean and sterile items.

  6. Delegates duties and responsibilities to support staff.

  7. Prioritizes and manages staff members' work assignments so that all work is completed on time with optimal results.

  8. Communicate changes and general information to staff in a timely manner. Hold monthly meetings with staff.

Quality Assurance

Contributes to performance improvement within surgical processing:

  1. Collection of data.

  2. Data analysis.

  3. Quality control processes.

  4. Presents reports to various committees as required.

  5. Identifies issues and initiates process changes in collaboration with the OR Manager, Director of the OR, and the SPD Director.

  6. Responsible for seeing that changes are completed and sustained.

  7. Conducts regular rounds to determine the effectiveness and the overall satisfaction of service provided. Seeks out information from customers using formal and informal methods.

  8. Reviews are high-level and sterilization records for accuracy and completeness.

  9. Develops and implements policies and procedures that guide and support the provision of services.

  10. Ensures that department policies are reviewed annually and updated at least every three years or as necessary.

  11. Utilizes current research findings by incorporating them into procedures/plans.


  1. Remains abreast of changes in management, the sterile processing field, and regulations in the environment.

  2. Maintains certifications as required by the State of _. Assumes responsibility for personal growth. Seeks resources as needed.

  3. Ensures staff education, provides in-services for new surgical instrumentation and patient care equipment and ensures mandatory requirements are met.

Resource Management

  1. Ensures availability of resources. Monitors unit inventory standards. Identifies opportunities for improvement in collaboration with the _.

  2. Reviews financial budget data monthly to assure finances are managed in a fiscally responsible manner.

  3. Reports variances for salary and nonsalary expenses to the _ monthly

  4. Follows Human Resources (HR) policies and procedures in collaboration with _.

  5. Assures that behavioral and performance management coincides with the Promise of Professionalism.

  6. Does disciplinary action in accordance with HR work rules.

  7. Completes evaluations on assigned staff at least annually,

  8. Conducts hiring interviews and makes recommendations for hire.

  9. Assures that all new employees complete orientation and documentation are complete.

  10. Maintains departmental employee records.

  11. Implements daily staffing plan and assures that staffing ratios are appropriate to meet the service needs for major customers.

  12. Negotiates and regularly reviews affiliation agreements with outside agencies in collaboration with _.

  13. Supervises performance contracts related to department activities.

Manages Instrument Management Tracking system database with regards to:

  1. Sterilization parameters per each instrument/instrument set

  2. Productivity standards per each instrument/instrument sets

  3. Special notes per the IFU for each instrument/instrument sets

  4. Management of nomenclature standards for instrument data input

Project Management

  1. Solicits multiple proposals as appropriate for the size and scope of the proposed contract.

  2. Participates in committees for design, monitors project progress and set deadlines.

Safety Management

  1. Complies with _occupational and safety policies and procedures.

  2. Encourages compliance. Participates in the Occupational and Safety Committee activities such as safety rounds and emergency preparedness drills.

  3. Contributes to and ensures an environment conducive to patient safety.

As with most healthcare management positions, a sterile processing manager's job is complicated. Some misconceptions about how the sterile processing department works can make the job more difficult. Lack of proper reprocessing equipment, improper staffing ratios, and lack of teamwork with the clinical areas that SPD supports can reduce the department's success. Understanding the requirements of the SPD management team is a necessity for building a productive environment.

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.

193 views0 comments


bottom of page