There's a running joke in literary circles about books that few people have ever read, but every one pretends to -- books like Moby Dick, War and Peace, Atlas Shrugged, and Les Misérables. One reason few of us have ventured to complete these reads is that the books themselves are MASSIVE, and, some may argue, at times, a little...um...boring.
But what about the books we need to do our jobs as Sterile Processing professionals? How many leaders or technicians do you know who have actually read the entire ANSI/AAMI ST79 from cover to cover (including annexes)? The figures would probably be surprisingly low for an industry as highly regulated and high tech as Central Sterile Service.
Why is this the case? And how can we prompt our own Sterile Processing technical renaissance in healthcare at large? Let's address these issues one at a time.
Dust on the Standards
It appears the days of the door-to-door encyclopedia salesman are now behind us as Wikipedia and other online search engines replace the need for large numbers of heavy reference books on our shelves. Nowadays, those of us who still own an encyclopedia set probably spend more time dusting them than actually reading them.
As a reference text, the ANSI/AAMI ST79 can unfortunately share a similar fate on the shelves of many Sterile Processing departments. The standards themselves are not written to be a riveting read, with plot twists and character arcs, like a J.R. Tolkien novel or one of the Harry Potter books. Instead, they were composed to communicate technical recommendations and best practices to an industry awash in complexity and regulation.