Drop Ship Me...Wanda? Why You End Up With Unprepared Sterile Processing Travelers

You wait for weeks to get your Sterile Processing traveler positions approved, more weeks for resumes to reach your inbox, and more time to have your new traveler (let's call her Wanda for the sake of argument) show up at your department door. But why do so many of today's Sterile Processing travelers show up unprepared -- and just as importantly -- unsupported by their traditional staffing agencies?

The answer to both of these are actually pretty simple. The vast majority of staffing agencies in the industry today treat Sterile Processing technicians like a commodity -- completely interchangeable, one technician is just as good as another, plug and play. For them, the staffing need at your hospital is just a number that needs to be filled with another number who happens to have a resume attached to it.

And that is why & how the unprepared Wanda's of the world end up at your doorstep, with a 13-week contract in their hand, without the requisite subject matter content in their head. In her defense, it's not all her fault. Staffing agencies are paying a premium for technicians willing to quit their day job at their hospital and fulfill critical staffing needs at other facilities around the country. For many technicians, even if they feel unprepared themselves, it's a hard offer to pass up. Wanda gets an opportunity to make more money doing a job she loves, and the traditional staffing agency gets another body to submit for their contract.

But Whose Problem Is It?

Everything is great for Wanda and her staffing agency -- but things aren't too rosy if she is the staffing resource who shows up at your Sterile Processing department. As a Sterile Processing manager, you have two choices in front of you, neither of which is a good one. You're already critically short on staffing (which is the entire reason you requested travelers in the first place), but the premium rate you're paying got you a warm body with some letters behind their name -- not a highly productive, highly competent, supported department resource. So, you can either: