The Daily Life Of A Sterile Processing Technician: A Behind-The-Scenes Look

Sterile Processing Technicians play an essential part in the healthcare industry. They ensure that medical instruments and equipment are adequately sterilized, cleaned, and packaged before being used in surgical procedures. The job requires attention to detail, knowledge of infection control procedures, and the ability to work under pressure. In this article, let’s take a behind-the-scenes look at the daily life of a Sterile Processing Technician, including their duties, work environment, and career outlook.

Duties Of A Sterile Processing Technician

The primary duty of a sterile techs is to ensure that medical instruments and equipment are adequately sterilized, cleaned, and packaged. This process involves the following steps:

Preparing For The Day

When you arrive at a sterile processing job, you’ll typically start by reviewing the day’s schedule to determine which instruments and equipment must be sterilized. You’ll also need to check that all of the necessary cleaning supplies and equipment are in stock.

Sorting And Cleaning Instruments

The next step is to sort and clean the instruments. This typically involves manually scrubbing instruments to remove any visible debris, then placing them in an ultrasonic cleaner to remove any remaining dirt or grime.

Sterilizing Equipment

Once the instruments have been cleaned, they’ll need to be sterilized. This can be done using various methods, including autoclaving, dry heat sterilization, or chemical sterilization.

Assembling Instrument Trays

After the instruments have been sterilized, the sterile processing program needs to assemble them into trays for use in surgical procedures. This involves carefully arranging the tools in the correct order and ensuring that all necessary equipment is included.

Maintaining Sterilization Equipment

Sterilization equipment must be carefully maintained to ensure that it functions properly. As an SPT, you’ll need to perform routine maintenance tasks, such as cleaning and inspecting equipment, replacing parts as needed, and monitoring sterilization cycles for accuracy.

Communicating With Medical Staff

SPTs often work closely with surgeons and other medical staff to ensure they have the instruments and equipment they need for procedures. You’ll need to communicate clearly and effectively to ensure everyone is on the same page.

Keeping A Clean And Safe Work Environment

Finally, as a sterile tech, you’ll need to maintain a safe and clean environment to ensure that instruments are not contaminated during sterilization. This means always following strict cleaning protocols and wearing appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE).

 sterile techs


Sterile Processing Technicians must maintain accurate records of all instruments and equipment, including when they were cleaned, sterilized, and used. This is important for tracking inventory levels, ensuring compliance with hospital policies and regulations, and identifying potential issues or concerns.

In addition to these primary duties, a career in sterile processing involves the following:

  • Maintaining inventory of instruments and equipment
  • Ordering supplies and equipment
  • Performing routine maintenance on sterilization equipment
  • Tracking and documenting instrument processing and sterilization information
  • Providing support to surgical teams during procedures

Work Environment

Sterile Processing Technicians typically work in healthcare facilities such as hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers, and clinics. They work in sterile processing departments, often located near surgical suites.

The work environment can be fast-paced, especially during busy periods when multiple surgical procedures are scheduled. Sterile processors must be able to work efficiently and accurately to ensure that instruments are properly sterilized and available for use when needed.

The work environment can also be physically demanding, as Sterile Processing Technicians may need to lift heavy instrument trays and equipment. They must also be able to stand for extended periods and have the good manual dexterity to handle small instruments and equipment.

sterilization techniques

Career Outlook

The demand for Sterile Processing Technicians is anticipated to continue growing in the coming years. According to the BLS, employment of Sterile Processing Technicians is projected to grow 7% from 2019 to 2029, that is faster than the average for all jobs.

The growing demand for healthcare services, combined with an aging population, is expected to drive the need for more surgical procedures, increasing the demand for Sterile Processing Technicians. In addition, advancements in medical technology will require Sterile Processing Technicians to keep up with new sterilization techniques and equipment.

Overall, the daily life of a Sterile Processing Technician involves a lot of attention to detail, organization, and adherence to strict policies and procedures. They play an essential role in ensuring that medical procedures are performed safely and effectively, and their work is essential to the healthcare industry.

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