Hank Balch: Where’s the Respect?

Let me get something off my chest that we really need to deal with in the sterile processing industry: We will never gain the dignity and respect we are looking for if we do not give that same dignity and respect to other members of the healthcare team.

One of the most common phrases you will hear from sterile processing professionals is, “We are not glorified dishwashers.” The unstated assumption isn’t just that we aren’t dishwashers, however. What we’re really saying is we’re better than “those” people who are.

But what many in our industry do not understand is that by looking down on our coworkers in the kitchen (who are diligently doing their own part to keep our patients and hospital employees fed and safe from food-borne illness), we are doing the very thing that we claim to hate. I admit my guilt of this in the past.

Ultimately, we are trying to build up our own importance by lowering someone else’s.

Do you want real respect? Do you want to cultivate real dignity for your profession? Make it your aim to do the same for others. It is true that we are not dishwashers. But glory be to those who are! I’d never want to eat another meal without them. And neither would you.

Weston “Hank” Balch, CRCST, CER, CIS, CHL, is principal consultant at Beyond Clean Consulting and the host of the Beyond Clean Podcast.

2 thoughts on “Hank Balch: Where’s the Respect?

  1. Yes, these follow health care co-workers need to be recognized for the job they do, and not as than the
    “dish washers” of the surgical department. They clean the nastiest messes left by the Dr’s and nurses and surgical tech’s. When they are done cleaning it they process the instruments and get them back in the cases wrapped and make sure they are sterilized. If the sterilizer fails which does happen at times they have to re-wrap the whole load. Some of them packs are reused several times in a day.
    Or team mates have to get certified to be a surgical tech but without being in surgery. It’s an instrument identification thing.
    Yeah, these guys don’t get nothing but grief if the packs don’t have something that didn’t make it back to DECON after being used.
    If my sterilizers are not working and its busy they have to balance the timing on when and where to process the packs.

  2. That is only one aspect the different steps we take to got the patient care ; sterilization is ours thing nothing less nothing more…

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