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How to Grow Like It's Going Out of Style: 10 Keys to Rapid Career Growth in SPD

The one question we hear more than any other in the Sterile Processing world is this:

"How do I grow? And quick!"

Some of the answers to this may be easy, but they are all painfully counter-cultural.

Are you ready? If you're going to quickly grow your SPD career, here are the first two things you'll need:

Want to


Earth shattering, right? Now let me explain those two real quick before we jump into the 8 additional keys to rapid career growth in the Sterile Processing universe.

1) Want To

If you ask most CS/SPD professionals if they want to grow, the usual answer is, "Absolutely!" But if you watch their day to day activities, attitudes, and general approach to their jobs you may actually see a stark absence of want to. Instead, some of these technicians demonstrate by their actions what they really want, which is to cut corners, complain about workload, and camp out in complacency. All of those practical, concrete actions are things that delay or prohibit growth, regardless of what they may say they want. Yes, actions speak louder than words, but actions are also an outworking of inner character. If you desire growth, you will want to do the hard things necessary to make it happen.

2) Humility

Speaking of hard things, this is it. If you want to grow and to grow quickly in our industry, it will be almost impossible to do (and sustain) without a healthy dose of genuine humility. As GK Chesterton aptly said, "Pride does not go before a fall. Pride is a fall." And examples of this are everywhere. I have seen numerous CS professionals with all the want to in the world, but too much pride to receive correction, learn from their faults, and give others credit where it is due. No one wants to work with someone like this, and they definitely don’t want to promote one. In all thy getting, would-be leader, get thyself some humility.


Okay, now that we have the foundation laid, let’s briefly outline the other 8 Keys to Rapid Career Growth in Sterile Processing:

3) Street Cred(entials)

If you want to go anywhere fast in the SPD sphere, you’re going to need some serious credentials to back you up. While it may seem like just one more thing to do as an SPD tech (especially if you’re already in school for something else), setting aside the time and brainpower to study your CS certification textbooks (IAHCSMM or CBSPD) and industry standards will be a critical piece of your future career growth. You shouldn’t think about leaving your current job without them!

4) Blue (Scrub) Collars and Dirty Hands

If you’re eyeing the CS leadership, one of the best things you can do for yourself is learn the depth and breadth of sterile processing workflow right where you are – in the trenches of decontam, prep/pack, sterilization, and sterile storage. You remember that humility point we talked about earlier? Now’s the time to put that to work and bloom right where you’re planted. Future CS teams will more easily trust and follow leaders who have “done their time” on the frontline, and hospital leadership will value candidates who understand the nitty gritty of the CS workflow.