The Blame Game


We have all played it at some point in our lives, but what does the blame game have to do with Sterile Processing? This is more than a discussion on manual cleaning, this is a discussion on culture and complacency. All our guidelines and standards state that point of use cleaning is meant to be done intraoperatively and as soon as possible post-procedure. What happens when something arrives in decontam and it is not cleaned, prepped, and pre-treated at the point of use? Often the response is frustration, annoyance, or "great, now this is going to take me longer.” There is plenty of blame to go around, but when we place blame on another department and do not take ownership of the problem at hand, the problem never gets solved. When you take ownership of the problem, you have the power to impact change. This is the perfect opportunity to showcase your expertise and lead a collaborative effort to adopt and enforce best practices. Placing blame on another department will not clean the instruments any faster. We cannot let our frustration interfere with our ability to perform the task at hand; to effectively decontaminate surgical instrumentation. Frustration may lead to skipping critical steps in the manual cleaning process and manual cleaning is not just a process in our department, it is a core competency! The perioperative staff and patients rely on you for safe surgical instruments. I challenge you not to act on emotions, take ownership of the task at hand and be the change that your facility needs.