Surgical processors typically work in acute care settings (e.g. hospitals). These settings are fast-paced, noisy and stressful. They can also work in dental and eye clinics and any related field where instruments or supplies must be cleaned and sterilized.
Most central supply (also known as medical device reprocessing) departments are set up like an assembly line. They have various stations and processes. These differ from one facility to the next. However, most include areas for:
Staff members often rotate through different stations. They must learn the processes and techniques for each area. The tasks they perform at any one station can be repetitive.
Surgical processors work with chemicals and must follow safety procedures. These procedures reduce risk of exposure to biohazard materials. They also reduce risk of injury from hot surfaces and sharp instruments.
Surgical processors stand for most of their shift. They routinely handle items that weigh up to 10 kilograms and sometimes up to 18 kilograms. They also move loaded carts that weigh up to 110 kilograms. They wear uniforms and personal protective equipment during their shift. They must be able to tolerate:
- continuous noise
- latex disinfection and sterilization chemicals
- the smell and sight of human blood and tissue.
Hospital central supply and sterile processing departments may operate 24 hours a day. Surgical processors work shifts that may include evenings, nights, weekends and holidays. Most staffing is required during hours when surgeries are performed (Monday to Friday during the day). A small number of staff is kept for after hours and weekends.