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Can’t Touch This: Sterile Processing


While many others are thankfully able to stay safe and work from home, we in the Sterile Processing profession continue working in facilities and clinics.

According to the CDC, Social Distancing means keeping space between yourself and other people outside of your home. While many others are thankfully able to stay safe and work from home, we in the Sterile Processing profession continue working in facilities and clinics. The decontamination, assembly, sterilization, storage and transportation in some cases of surgical instruments is an essential business. We must take every precaution to protect ourselves while working in the field.

  • Wash your hands regularly for 20 seconds, with soap and water or use alcohol-based hand sanitizers that contain at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid close contact (6 feet separation) with team members
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or flexed elbow when you cough or sneeze
  • Do not come into work if you feel unwell or are exhibiting symptoms of the virus. Follow your facility guidelines for testing.
  • Remember to not touch your eyes, nose, or mouth.
  • Clean high traffic surfaces throughout the day. Doing so makes a huge difference in preventing the spread of infection. High-traffic surfaces at work includes light switches, door handles, microwave and refrigerator doors, assembly workstations, toilet handles, and faucet handles. Always clean bathroom surfaces last.
  • When donning PPE, wash your hands first. Wash your hands after doffing PPE.

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Natoria Pettyjohn, A.A.S., CRCST, CIS, CHL, CFER
ORC Staff Development Specialist II

From starting as a unit secretary to assisting surgeons as a surgical technician, Natoria Pettyjohn has over ten years of healthcare experience. Natoria’s healthcare experience includes formally serving as the Surgical Instrument Specialist representative for the Certification Board for Sterile Processing and Distribution (CBSPD). She currently represents off-site reprocessing centers on achieving and maintaining sterile processing best practices. Natoria has acquired all certifications from the CBSPD and the International Association of Healthcare Central Service Material Management (IAHCSMM).