Recently the President of SEIU-West, Barbara Cape and SEIU-West staff were invited to tour the Sterile Processing Department at Royal University Hospital. This is a fascinating, and mostly unseen, part of the healthcare team with all the complex requirements and steps involved. We are in awe of our members who provide this service every day.

Medical Device Reprocessors (formerly known as Sterile Processing Technicians) have a responsibility and focus on every step involved to ensure that the right products are sterilized in the right way, packaged appropriately and sent to the right place.  They are key to making sure that the surgeries are successful.

We saw the room full of dirty items, and this included anything you might imagine from bed pans to surgical scissors. They are placed on racks to go through the industrial washing machines before being sorted, gathered and transported to the next level of sanitation.

There are multiple levels of sterilization and confirmation of that sterilization. They are dated and signed so there can be confidence in the process for patient safety.

Then they have an area dedicated to assembling surgical kits and we got lost in the assortment of scissors, the drawers of screws and we were truly humbled at the level of responsibility this crew holds. We only began to grasp the amount of items that need to be ready for surgeries. 

The phone rings constantly to order supplies, and there are two people on computers imputing data and keeping track of supplies, what needs to be ordered, where supplies need to be delivered, etc.

Often, society thinks of the nurses and doctors involved in surgery, but they don’t think of the whole team behind them. We met Nic, who explained it perfectly to us. He’s the ‘Batman’ of the Operating Room. He delivers equipment necessary for the surgeries, on call to the Operating Team. No one ever sees him, because they are under anesthetic at that point, but there’s evidence that he has clearly been there, because the instruments to operate were provided with caring hands.  

This made us contemplate the Batmans all over the hospital. They truly have the education, experience and expertise required to perform unimaginable feats every single day, done in a dedicated, and compassionate way. 

Are you an SEIU-West member who is/are the 'Batman/Batperson/Batpeople' in your workplace and feels like they need some light shone on the good work they do every day? Fill out our member profile form or request a visit from our Member Engagement Field Worker so we can recognize you and/or your team.

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