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.