Opening Up a World of Reprocessing Training
One of the few benefits to come out of the COVID-19 pandemic was a surge in on-demand training now available to reprocessing technicians, said Melinda Benedict, Global Senior Manager of Infection Prevention at Olympus Corporation of the Americas.
The pandemic forced the sterile processing industry to adjust because the opportunities for face-to-face training were taken away, Benedict said during a recent panel discussion for sterile processing professionals. Traditionally, it’s been department managers who had the time and opportunity to attend educational courses and then disseminate the information back to technicians doing the work, she said.
“But now, especially if the courses are on demand, now we have a lot of technicians able to take the time to view these education modules directly, which I think is very valuable,” Benedict said.
Benedict recently joined the virtual conference “Exploring the Intersection of Quality, Education and Equipment” organized by industry group, Beyond Clean. She spoke of Olympus’ role in training and education during the panel discussion “The Future of Endo Reprocessing Training and Education.”
When gathering customer feedback, Benedict – a subject matter expert on infection prevention and control in medical device reprocessing for Olympus products – said one of her goals is to consolidate the feedback in an effort to understand the issues where customers want more information.
“So, we really try to listen to customers not to only find out what they want more information on, but also how best to deliver that information, so it actually gets out to right people and is useful,” Benedict said.
“We really try to listen to customers not to only find out what they want more information on, but also how best to deliver that information, so it actually gets out to right people and is useful.”
As infection control practices become more rigorous, the panelists all agreed on the importance of education and making sure reprocessing technicians have the time necessary for continued training.
Benedict told listeners that she wouldn’t be surprised to see community colleges and technical schools start offering certification programs, so technicians can come into positions already certified in endoscopic reprocessing instead of having to fully train on the job. Such a change would help the industry move away from a history of newer technicians heavily relying on training from more veteran technicians, who may not necessarily be up on current standards, she said.
“Really putting an emphasis on certification, on training, on creating programs so that people can enter the job already trained can help,” Benedict said. “… and, really overall, the industry needs to understand that people need to get paid appropriately because they are doing skilled and very technical jobs.”
You can hear the entire panel discussion or the entire virtual conference on the Beyond Clean website.