August 15, 2013


Clean as a Result, Not a Process

I hate making my bed. I’m not a morning person, so adding a chore before 8 a.m. just starts my day off on the wrong foot. And I’ve always considered bed making kind of pointless. I’m going to sleep in my bed the next night anyways and mess it all up again, so isn’t it a waste of time and energy? Shouldn’t I be focusing my limited time each day on more important things?

When I was little, however, this well thought out argument and brilliant logic did not sway my mom in the slightest. The bed was to be made every morning, like it or not.

So (almost) every morning, I’d grumble my way over to my twin bed, pick up my sheet from where I had kicked it onto the floor in my sleep, and spread the sheet over the bed. Next I’d add my checkered pink comforter on top of the sheet, then my matching pink blanket at the foot of the bed, and finally I’d finish with my pillow like a cherry on top.

Check, check, check, and check. I followed the technical process of bed making to a tee.

But if you looked at the results of my bed making, you’d find a different story altogether. The sheets I had spread across my bed were wrinkled and coming untucked, the comforter was lopsided, the blanket was folded unevenly, and the pillow was tossed haphazardly on top of it all.

Bed making process: perfection

Bed making result: disaster

That’s why it’s a little ridiculous that something as important as cleaning surgical instruments can ever be judged based on the process used. As we just saw with my bed making anecdote, following the correct process does not in any way ensure the correct results. Just because a Central Sterile Process Department (CSPD) Technician follows every single step in a manufacturer’s Instructions for Use (IFUs) down to the letter does not mean that instrument is going to come out clean.

What we need, then, is a more objective way of judging. Let’s not assume the bed is made right just because I followed my mom’s instructions. Let’s not assume a cannulated instrument is free of harmful bacteria just because the IFUs were followed.

Let’s start looking at the idea of “clean” as a noun, not a verb.

Let’s look at “clean” as a result, not a process.

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Filed under Daily Blog Posts, Surgical Instrument Cleaning, Thursday Thought of the Day

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