By Damien Berg , BA , BS , CRCST , AAMIF
Resolve of Sterile Processing Professionals , HSPA Stronger Than Ever
With 2022 now in full swing , this year is bringing some exciting changes and opportunities — not only for the Healthcare Sterile Processing Association ( HSPA ) but also for our members , certification holders and other sterile processing ( SP ) professionals across the globe .
The state of the profession remains strong despite some new and lingering challenges that were underpinned by more than two years of the pandemic . Some of those challenges include staffing issues ( layoffs , resignations and new hires looking to break into the demanding discipline ) coupled with surges in procedural volume and SP professionals having to step up and assume even more vital roles to assist their healthcare organizations and patients . Many SP professionals who remain in the trenches to serve their many healthcare customers are seeing their discipline ’ s vital contributions garner greater recognition . This presents an exciting opportunity for broader understanding and appreciation that , if properly leveraged , can lead to more positive changes for the profession in the months and years ahead .
HSPA is working harder than ever to help meet the challenges and opportunities head on and help our membership do the same . With fervor and renewed commitment , we are working to serve our membership and the collective profession in new and innovative ways . The fires of positive change have been ignited , and we are in a unique position to keep them stoked and burning for years to come .
On January 1 , our association said goodbye to its longstanding “ International Association of Healthcare Central Service Materials Management ” ( IAHCSMM ) identity and re-branded as HSPA — a name that better aligns with the roles and titles of those working in the SP discipline . This re-branding was a critical part of our association ’ s strategic plan and has been overwhelmingly supported by our membership , others within the profession , allied associations and others outside our discipline . It is important to note that our new name has in no way changed our association ’ s direction , mission or vision , all of which aim to promote professional excellence , advocacy and patient safety worldwide , and help boost recognition for those in the SP discipline . HSPA will continue supporting its mission and vision by focusing on these three critical tenets :
● Providing educational , professional development , certification , communication , and representation opportunities for SP professionals ;
● Collaborating with allied partners , members and associates ; and
● Engaging in advocacy initiatives for public policy changes .
With these key tenets serving as our foundation , HSPA developed a strong strategic plan that will ensure our future remains strong and able to continue meeting the needs of our members , certification holders and other SP professionals . I am happy to report that after two years of pandemic-related restrictions , HSPA is again hosting its in-person annual conference ( taking place April 23-27 , 2022 , in San Antonio , Texas ) and also developing new education and professional resources to help SP professionals thrive and grow within the discipline .
With all these changes and opportunities , HSPA ’ s board of directors and staff members are committed to several other essential goals and focus areas for the years ahead , including : enhancing HSPA ’ s role as a leader in education by building and publishing new and innovative recourses ( both digital and traditional formats ); increasing visibility of the SP profession and HSPA by working to boost the recognition among other healthcare disciplines and sectors ( including facility administrators , allied healthcare associations , regulatory bodies , and others ) about the valuable role SP professionals play in the delivery of safe , high-quality patient care ; and optimizing HSPA ’ s organizational programs and governance structure to attract diverse and inclusive engagement and participation .
Our association ’ s mission is strong , the strategic plan is set , and the path is clear . I call on everyone within the discipline to continue serving as a positive warrior for our vital profession and continue meeting challenges and opportunities head on . To me , a positive SP warrior is one who not only sees a situation or circumstance as it is , but also has the vision to see how things could be ( in the name of quality and safety ). These warriors honor their inner connection to our broader profession — on local , national and even international levels . Positive warriors recognize the negative , focus on the positive , and find a way forward . What ’ s more , they are consistent and steadfast in their efforts , and they build their peers and colleagues up and bring them along on the journey to long-term growth and success .
This is also the HSPA spirit . Our members define who we are as a profession and represent the very best in us . Stories abound about everyday SP professionals doing their best and giving their all to learn , advance and elevate themselves , so they ( and their teammates ) can provide the best in reprocessing for our departmental customers , and patients . The profession and our association remain united in the shared goal of delivering the best and accepting and embracing challenges and changes for the advancement of professionalism and the quest of doing what ’ s right .
I thank every individual standing on the “ frontlines behind the red line ,” and staying dedicated to giving their best every day , even when it isn ’ t easy . I also would like to express my sincere gratitude to HSPA ’ s staff and board members who work tirelessly to serve and advocate for our members , certification holders and others within this dynamic , challenging and rewarding profession .
I am proud to state , “ We are sterile processing , and we are HSPA !” Together , we will continue moving the profession ’ s needle in a positive direction and ensuring that quality , safety and professionalism always remain the utmost priorities .
Damien Berg , BA , BS , AAMIF , serves as HSPA ’ s vice president of strategic initiatives .