“So, what do you do?”
No matter what job you hold, it happens to all of us at some point. The age old question about where you spend 8+ hours, 5 days a week. It’s a talking point at social gatherings and it’s a question that some dread and others wait for. For those that work in Sterile Processing, you probably know what it is like to work in a field area where the average person may not understand what it is you really do all day. I imagine that sometimes when CSP professionals try describing what they do, they are likely to either sell themselves short or make the listener squirm.
So you probably won’t go into details about how you clean off all of the blood and guts that end up on instruments after a surgery. You certainly won’t mention the smell that you’ve gotten used to or the flattering full body suit you wear every day. That just doesn’t emanate a cool factor. You could tell them that you make sure the surgeons have the instruments they need for each surgery, but you don’t. Because that could come across as a little boring when you’re first meeting somebody.
However, what you should mention is something about how you are a patient advocate. You ensure each and every item that comes out of that room is cleaned, sterilized and disinfected. You make sure that when a patient enters the hospital for an ailment that he isn’t going to wind up with other deadly infections because there was bioburden left on the instrument giving him MRSA or C. diff. You are the one that ensures his safety from infection so he can worry about things like how many days he has to eat that hospital food and how to get the nurses to stop waking you up for testing so you can get some sleep.
Show him this video so he knows just how important your job is, because the more people that realize the value of what you do, the more attention will spread towards the importance of infection prevention.