It’s Sterile Processing Recognition Week!

October 14, 2021  //  FOUND IN: Our Employees

Thank you to all the professionals who assist with sterile processing at Michigan Medicine!

In honor of Sterile Processing Recognition Week, here’s what you may not know about their important work:

Across the organization, 170 sterile processing/CERD technicians and 36 support staff carry out a multitude of tasks every day. Among them is a responsibility for decontaminating and sterilizing reusable medical equipment, including scopes and other vital devices.

For the most part, the team directly supports operating rooms and other procedural areas. In FY19, for example, central sterile processing teams assisted with 59,735 surgical cases across 82 operating rooms organizationwide. In all, there are more than 50,000 unique instruments that technicians are responsible for sterilizing or disinfecting.

“Our technicians are often referred to as the ‘heart of the hospital,’ because without them, instruments would not be sterilized or high-level disinfected and they wouldn’t be available for procedures,” said Jania Torreblanca, systems manager for sterilization and CSPD and interim UH CSPD manager. “Our teams comply with vigorous standards while being constantly monitored by the FDA, Joint Commission, CDC and more. They also adhere to HRO and Lean principles in their daily work. I’m so proud of the work our colleagues do every day.”

As with most areas, sterile processing was forced to change course during the COVID-19 pandemic. Much of their work in the early stages shifted from instrument reprocessing to disinfecting N95 respirators designed to keep patients and employees safe.

“With no real playbook to do this, we had to be innovative and utilize our knowledge of sterilization and high-level disinfection principles in order to help the multitude of researchers and scientists develop a safe and efficient operations,” Torreblanca said.

This week, please thank these often-unknown heroes for all of their hard work, dedication and passion to serve the organization and community!