The Central Sterile Processing Department (CSP) plays a key role in the clinical outcomes of patient surgical experiences, yet due to the job being considered “blue collar,” the perceived importance of recruiting and retaining CSP staff is lacking. Human Resources (HR) has an important role to play in helping recruit and retain CSP employees by creating an environment that inspires staff to improve their skills, advance their careers, and be proud of the work they perform.
HR at healthcare facilities often struggle to find CSP candidates. Because many certified CSP professionals are retiring, there is a constant need to recruit CSP technicians, supervisors and managers in most facilities across the country. There are a variety of factors that make this challenging. For example, CSP professionals experience some of the lowest pay rates in healthcare, new medical equipment is released regularly, requiring that CSP employees must study and train regularly to keep their knowledge up to date, and many hospitals in the country do not provide effective training, or require any certification.
Currently, there is a movement for all states to adopt the IAHCSMM requirement for workers to have their certification as Certified Registered Central Service Technician (CRCST) through on-the job training and successful completion of the test. Many healthcare facilities have developed employment standards that gives a candidate eighteen months from time of hire to pass the IAHCSMM certification exam. Even if your facility has a policy that CSP candidates with a high school diploma or GED are eligible to apply, they still need your help with getting the training they need to succeed.
Human Resources can do a lot to help meet the critical need to help recruit entry level CSP candidates. HR can also contribute to retaining CSP employees by helping people see the career as valued and an important component of providing patient care. Opportunities to consider include:
- Participate in local job fairs to attract a larger pool of candidates
- Create awareness by presenting the characteristics and job duties of a CSP tech to high school students who are preparing for gradation
- Hold open forums in your facility (e.g., “Walk-In Wednesdays”) to provide information about required CSP skills and what it takes to get IAHCSMM certified to potential candidates
- Define a clear CPS career path for advancement
- Work with perioperative management to ensure communication and education is consistent
Surgical Directions can help your HR and CSP Departments create the processes and practices necessary to support CSP employee recruiting and retention. To help with training, Surgical Directions offers a Central Sterile Education CRCST/CBSPD Certification Program. During the program, we use IAHCSMM resources and partner with your organization for on-site hands-on experience and guidance. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss how we can help you.
This blog was co-authored by Lee Hedman, Executive Vice President and Anne Cole, Associate Vice President of Perioperative Nursing.