Sterile Services Coordinator and Educator
What’s your role and what happens in your department?
My role is to ensure the Sterile Services Department runs smoothly – all equipment is running correctly and staff are ok. The other side of my job is to help staff who are studying the L4 sterilising technology course and train new staff in the department. I also provide information around sterility for wards or clinics that request it, as well as help with procurement of correct instrumentation for those areas.
The Sterile Services Department has three main areas. First is decontamination, where used surgical instrumentation or clinical and wards equipment is sent. In this area the staff member checks the equipment, removes any heavy bio burden and then loads it into the batch washers for thermal disinfection.
It then goes through to the packing area. In the packing area the staff will check the instrumentation and equipment for damage and cleanliness and sort it into the appropriate sets and then package them up ready for sterilisation.
It is then the steriliser operator’s job to load these sets into the steriliser while documenting which equipment is going into which steriliser and placing a tracking batch sticker onto the sets for traceability.
Tell us about the Sterile Services team
We have an amazing team. It’s culturally diverse and contains a mix of skill sets. The teams work well together and help each other out when needed, sharing their knowledge and skills with new staff and helping with training. I would describe the Sterile Services team as bubbly and happy which makes for a great department to work in.
What’s your background?
I’ve worked in the sterile sciences industry for 11 years and have been with Taranaki DHB for 3.5 years.
I started my career at Waikato Hospital when I was 20, starting at the bottom. I had never worked in a hospital environment, nor did I have any knowledge of surgical instrumentation. Within my 7-8 years at there I completed my L3 certificate in sterilising technology and moved into an education role where I trained new and existing staff in different areas of the department. I felt I had reached the top of the opportunity’s available to me and saw an advert for a coordinator position at Taranaki DHB and applied for it. I wanted to share my knowledge and advance my career by learning as much as I possibly could, and also sharing the knowledge I had gained at Waikato.
What’s the best thing about your job?
Each day is different. No matter how long you’re in this job you can’t learn everything. New surgical instrumentation is being developed yearly. The way operations are done are forever changing for the better we’re now able to do so much more than we ever could over the last 50 years. Each day has its challenges and its rewards.
What inspires you to keep doing your work?
I’m inspired by the possibility of change and improvement within the industry and within Taranaki DHB.
How’s the future shaping up?
My big plan is to have a united Sterile Services Dept. – one department that processes all surgical and clinical equipment for the entire Taranaki DHB. My dream is for the Sterile Services Dept. to receive the recognition it deserves.
What do you like to do outside of work?
For the last 10 or so years my hobby is building cars and motorbikes. I’ve fully restored and built cars from a 1951 Bradford hot-rod with a supercharged 350 Chev engine to a 1985 rx7 s5 with a 13b turbo rotary engine pushing 700 horsepower at the rear wheels. There have been many cars I’ve built in between and heavily modified, including Harleys and Japanese motorbikes and even a turbo lawnmower for a laugh.