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SPD Educator Spotlight Series Volume 1: Obstacles, Advice, & Dedication

08.02.2019 • Industry News

When was the last time you paused to think how your job impacts the world around you? If you're like most of us, the answer is probably not very often. As we're continually asked to produce more in less time, the chance for us to reflect on what we do in our careers is often fleeting. This is especially true if you work in the field of sterile processing where you are responsible for patient safety and positive surgical outcomes in the O.R.

Joe Kloetzke, CCSVP, of Key Surgical works closely with hospitals and surgical centers in northern California and while helping provide the facilities with the right tools for instrument reprocessing (cleaning brushes, tip protectors, tags, sterilization trays, PPE) he also stays connected with the educators, advocating for professional growth for all personnnel, and continual movement toward excellence in SPD. Joe met up with the SPD Educator for Stanford Healthcare, Casey Czarnoski, BA, CRCST, CIS, CER and simply asked him to share some advice, talk about overcoming obstacles, and discuss the roots of his dedication to this profession. 

Q: How did you first become interested in Sterile Processing? 
A: "I dropped into this career by chance with no knowledge of what it was. In fact, at the end of my first interviewe, I asked for a tour of the department (pro-top for interviewees) so I could see what happened in a Sterile Processing Department. At the time, I was looking for a PM shift position that had benefits and reasonable pay, but required no special education or experience. 

Q: What are the biggest obstacles our industry can tackle to attract adequate attention?
A: "The biggest obstacle is lack of knowledge in the C-suite about the work that we do, and it's direct impact on patients' lives. Lack of knowledge leads to inadequate staffing and funding for equipment and instruments, which makes our role in infection prevention more difficult."

Q: What advice would you give to someone who is just starting out in this profession?
A: "Constantly seek new knowledge about your discipline! Read CS/SP periodicals, talk with vendors and industry educators, attend conferences, achieve additional certifications even if your department doesn't compensate you for them, participate in your local IAHCSMM chapter, or even organize one. Finding a mentor who knows more than you can make a substantial difference with someone's personal and professional development. There are many different career paths in Central Service and Sterile Processing, and the way for you to open them for yourself (no one else will do it for you) is to become knowledgeable and to continue to seek positions of increasing responsibility."

Q: What attracted you to become a dedicated advocate for patient safety?
A: "As I worked in Sterile Processing, I began slowly realizing the crucial impact that we had on patient outcomes, and the small amount of recognition and support that we received. As I moved through positions of greater responsibility and interaction with other areas of patient care, I became an evangelist for our discipline."

Q: What has been your favorite experience in your journey so far? 
A: "My best experiences revolve around teaching our technicians ways to increase their knowledge; from post CS/SP periodicals in the break room, to hleping them access tuition reimbursement. I love bringing hands-on training to technicians, such as operating a surgical robot or touring a repair facility. These things are educational but also bring fun into our daily work!"

Key Surgical is dedicated to supporting CS/SP professionals in their work; we are proud to advocate for continuing education. Visit our Education page to earn IAHCSMM and CBSPD accredited CEs.