Facts About Sterile Processing

5 Fun Facts About Sterile Processing

Sterile Processing Departments are often called the “Heart of the Hospital.” SPD is the area in a hospital or surgery center where cleaning and sterilization of surgical instruments and devices used in medical and surgical procedures occur. Understandably, this definition is anything but fun; fortunately, to those who call SPD “home,” it means so much more!

Take a moment to embrace these 5 Fun Facts about Sterile Processing:

  1. If a career in Sterile Processing doesn’t work out, you are already a trained DETECTIVE. You can find a needle in a haystack and figure out who did it by both instinct and experience.
    From individual instruments to instrument sets, IV poles, paperwork, surgeons, and Easter Eggs, SPD will solve the case and make great things happen!
  1. Sterile Processing has so many different names that the department itself can be the needle in the haystack!  
    The American College of Surgeons is credited with Sterile Processing (SP), originally called Central Sterile (CS). As the relevance and importance of this department evolved, so have the names of SP, including:
    1. Central Supply (CS),
    2. Sterile Processing Department (SPD) 
    3. Central Sterile Services Department (CSSD)
    4. Sterile Processing (SP)

Although the name has been changed over the years, there is no uniformity among facilities when naming this fabulous department! What does your facility call SP?

  1. Hospitals, surgery centers, and others could not function without Sterile Processing.
    Processing surgical instruments is a serious business! Sterile Processing Technicians are the driving force behind safe patient care during surgery. SP is responsible for cleaning, decontaminating, processing, sterilizing, assembling, testing, packaging, and managing the instruments and equipment necessary for patient care during surgery and beyond. Even when sterilized instruments are properly processed, organized, and available in trays, patients could be at risk for surgical site infections (SSI) without dedicated SP professionals’ oversight and diligence.
  1. Beginning on the second Sunday of October, “It’s All About You”!
    If you are one of the 50,550 instrument specialist technicians in the U.S, this week is a wonderful time for the “Heart of the Hospital” to be recognized by other professionals, your family, and more!
  1. Sterile Processing is a team sport that requires speed, stamina, accuracy, and respect for your teammates. 
    Executing the game plan is nothing short of an Olympic event! SP professionals are adept at keeping their “eye on the ball” to provide safety for patients while running a marathon in challenging conditions to ensure that the OR and patient care teams complete the WIN! Creating fun where you thought there was none is a great way to enjoy and empower those who call SP home. Although traditionally viewed as less than glamorous and considered un-fun, a positive viewpoint can make it much more! More than ever, SP’s value cannot be overlooked as an essential part of safe patient care. 

Marilyn Burns RN, BS, CNOR


Moab Healthcare provides experienced and certified Sterile Processing Technician “Travelers”.

Our SPD field technicians are required to maintain a CBSPD and/or HSPA (IAHCSMM) or Certification Board for Sterile Processing & Distribution (CBSPD) certification and average over 7 years of relevant clinical experience.

Contact us at hello@moabhealthcare.com or 1-833-SPD-TECH