Courses for aspiring central sterile processing technicians can be found in associate degree and certificate programs, many of which prepare students for the International Association of Central Service/Material Management (IAHCSMM) certification exam. The standard program curriculum includes a lot of laboratory work, with courses in anatomy, physiology, microbiology and pharmacology, along with an experiential clinical component.
Here is a list of concepts commonly covered in central sterile processing courses:
- Medical and surgical supplies
- Preparation of surgical tools
- Disposable medical supplies
- Blood-born pathogens
- Health regulations
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List of Common Central Sterile Processing Courses
Medical Terminology Course
Students learn common technical terms that pertain to medical procedures, equipment and diagnoses. Some programs combine this course with instruction in human anatomy, which includes physiological and biological terms used to describe the human body and its processes.
Introduction to Microbiology Course
Microbiology includes the study of various microscopic organisms, such as bacteria, viruses and other microscopic pathogens. Central sterile processing students are required to take this course in order to fully grasp the importance of the sterilization and decontamination processes in a surgical environment. Topics also include methods of controlling infection and microbial contamination. A laboratory component is included and provides students with experience identifying, handling and destroying microorganisms and pathogens.
Sterile Processing Procedures Course
This course teaches students to handle medical equipment in a safe and sanitary manner. Topics covered in the course include methods of sterilization, decontamination, storage, packaging, and distribution of both sterile and non-sterile medical instruments. Students learn to assess the condition of medical and surgical equipment for sterility and proper function, which can include removing instruments for maintenance or replacement.
Sterile Processing Laboratory Course
Students are usually required to complete a clinical practicum as part of their education. Clinical experience introduces students to sterility issues in various hospitals, outpatient centers and other medical facilities. Students in the course learn to perform various cleaning, wrapping and sterilizing procedures as well as gain experience with surgical setups, inventory control and quality assurance.