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Tips for Gaining an Internship in Sterile Processing

Logan Consultants LLC

Committed to Excellence

Logan Consultants LLC has been on the forefront of assisting its students as well, other students from various Sterile Processing Training Programs gain access for IAHCSMM's required 400 hours of hands-on training to validate CRCST certification. We are proud of having developed relationships, affiliation agreements and contracts with hospitals in the tri-state area assisting in students gaining the access needed for the hands-on training in Sterile Processing.

At Logan Consultants LLC we have "seen it all" regarding this turbulent process and as an industry leader and expert in my craft, I would like to review best practices as well bring light to numerous challenging scenarios in order to assist you in understanding how to proceed when approaching hospitals, dental facilities, ambulatory care facilities, etc. Historically, there are only two portions of this process which are seamless, in this this three step progress towards certification:

  1. The first step is taking the Central Service training class which should be easily accessible through Google search, going to the website, and calling IAHCSMM for insight on quality programs such as Logan Consultants LLC.
  2. The second step after completing your internship which should be relatively easy "IF" you have been properly trained by an IAHCSMM Approved Instructor or a Quality program that has a proven track record of success in assisting its students gaining CRCST Certification through IAHCSMM. 
  3. The third step is why I wrote the short detailed article, to help navigate either a student who has successfully completed a verifiable program looking to gain hospital access for internship or for new instructors looking to teach the IAHCSMM CRCST course to their potential students. Both parties will benefit from this information and help begin to create a more formal process. So highlight or take notes as I offer detailed results through trial and error to meet this critical need in moving towards a career in Sterile Processing!

Finding a Quality Central Service Training Program and Internship

When looking for a quality program you should search for a program supported by IAHCSMM therefore calling their headquarters {main number 312-440-0078, the toll free number is 1-800-962-8274} as they may shed light upon the approved programs. Also, using Google search can provide helpful leads for Sterile Processing programs in your area. Further investigation should be done through checking the credentialing of the instructor. For example you have Ace IAHCSMM Instructors, PDRC IAHCSMM Approved Instructors and you have those who are "self proclaimed instructors." Simply because someone is certified through IAHCSMM does not give them the credentialing and support of IAHCSMM to teach nor does it mean they do not have the capabilities. It is up to the students to ask these questions prior to making an investment so they know of other qualifications such as experience in education or degree(s) associated with teaching.

  1. Is the instructor IAHCSMM certified; Yes, unfortunately you may have a professional teacher or educators take the position to begin classes with no real experience or IAHCSMM membership. Logan Consultants LLC does not recognize these classes as we firmly believe all instructors for this craft should have a healthcare awareness with their experiences, serving in a healthcare professional role.
  2. Ask if the instructor has successfully processed any former students and how many are certified after being directly trained by them. This helps you verify if taking their brand of course is worth your investment financially. Reference list of former students helps solidify the program.
  3. There is an explosion of new instructors that work within Sterile Processing, however many do not have the formal training nor the vetting of their Sterile Processing programs. Hence questioning—do these individuals have the CRCST Instructor Training to qualify them, to be the best conduit’s for training potential students of the CRCST course? Logan Consultants LLC is now training instructors due to IAHCSMM's decision to no longer have an approval process for instructors. We have championed this call of Training the Trainer program in order that our students receive quality instruction and have the confidence coupled with results from their investment.
  4. Internship opportunities should be at the forefront of every instructor’s mind. How can we teach CRCST classes without providing the link that binds class with potential internship opportunities that is required to validate the passing of the IAHCSMM CRCST exam. The internship access is the key and will be detailed in this article.

There is a matrix of people who would have made stellar Sterile Processing professionals but until lately had no real chance of getting into the industry without proper guidance. Our company's goal even with having major success in getting quality students interned or them finding their own internship is to have a facility that will be a one stop shop that includes an IAHCSMM approved mock SPD and Pro-metric learning center for all IAHCSMM certification exams. This will allow us to revisit those who may have been great students but were unable to find or qualify for internship in the past.

Finding an Internship

Here we go! Now finding an institution to invest in your career development without the benefit of immediate employment, has its challenges. For instance, completing a 400-hour unpaid internship for most students , being working professionals at present, is a hardship to say the least; but do it nonetheless! This time is a sacred bond that introduces you to the craft you have trained and invested in, therefore you should go into this agreement with the "full over standing" that this facility and staff are investing in your future career, which is the long term benefit. As the facility receives the short-term benefit of 400 hours of unpaid labor.

Why is this such a difficult and unstable process? Because it is not regulated, for example teaching hospitals ensure programs for hands on training with physicians, nurses and other healthcare providers because various agencies require these clinicals be conducted. I firmly believe IAHCSMM should be looking to partner with an agency to push protocol that demands all hospitals have an internship program for the sterile processing students who successfully pass an IAHCSMM approved program. On the opposite end, for the hospitals not participating in having an internship program, should be restricted in some way from retaining the students they wouldn’t help but jump to hire; the irony of it all!

So here is Logan Consultants LLCs recommendation to finding an internship:

  1. Prepare mentally for the word, "no" and how to strategically respond to it. Many institutions middle managers struggle getting this process down to a science which yields a seamless transition from student to intern. Well, whatever the influence for not having a solid internship program here are the benefits:

a. Free labor from students always in the mood to impress.

b. Employment opportunities by choosing from the best students should positions become available.

c. Not being subject to contract agencies that charge a premium for temporary and short staffing issues.

d. Hiring interns has proven stronger tenure and commitment to the facilities that employ them.

e. Lastly, interns can prove to have huge value in call out situations and for any reason the department may be short staffed, once trained they can provide needed coverage to keep the process moving forward.

2. When attempting to approach any hospital to inquire of any Internship opportunities you should be do the following:

a. Initially direct your focus to the hospitals volunteer services office as you would need a support contact and hospital representative to assist in placement for internship.

b. Calling the CS Manager is not my first recommendation however should you call follow this script: 

Hello my Name is ________ and I have successfully completed the CRCST Training Course with (school name) _________ and I come recommended by (your instructor's name). I realize your busy and I won't keep you; I am looking to secure an opportunity to intern for IAHCSMMs required 400 hours, in order that I may validate my certification exam. May I forward my resume, certificate of course completion and reference letter to you via email or fax. End Script: now depending on the Manager you will know if your call works in your favor or not, however Always be polite and Thank them for taking your call.

c. Going to a hospital is risky but you should remember hospitals are community based organizations so…dress in a power suit [or dress with blazer and/or pant suit for the ladies as well] (black, grey, dark blue, crisp shirt and tie or pretty blouse for the ladies) your resume, certificate and reference letter to give to the Sterile Processing Manager or hospital personnel to ensure it rests in the correct persons hands. When you come to the hospital lobby let the security or desk clerk know you don’t have an appointment but would like to drop off your resume to the Sterile Processing Manager or designee. If the manager wont see you then be prepared to leave it at the desk. Most hospitals have interdepartmental mail service which should ensure delivery of your resume, etc. Place all of your documents in the interdepartmental mail envelope. Address to the Sterile Processing Department Manager or SPD Designee with that persons name underneath their title. Should you be honored with an opportunity to meet the manger or designee for that area, follow the script above but lead with a firm hand shake and smile! And maintain eye contact—always keep the interaction professional!

d. Do not make contacting the Sterile Processing manager or director your first point of contact unless directed by your school or a source you trust that suggests you do so. When approaching a manager be polite, dressed professionally, armed with your resume and school reference letter. Make eye contact let them know you understand they are busy and that you successfully completed an IAHCSMM approved program and are looking to begin an internship program most immediately ; if there is an opportunity to complete your 400 hours you would definitely like to be considered for that internship opportunity.

e. Check with your instructor and see if the school has any contracts, affiliation agreements and relationships with any hospital that they can refer you to. This should be a question you validate before investing with the school you've chosen because if they do not have that option you know you’re on your own in securing an internship.

f. Should your school have an agreement with a variety of hospitals you may be subject to a variety of tasks prior to starting an internship and may not qualify based on criteria requirements. Be aware that no one can guarantee you an internship it is primarily up to a collective panel of hospital professionals before you are brought in for an internship, so please be aware that securing your clinical experience is like landing a job! Put your best foot forward at all times !

Q&A

Q) Why a career in Sterile processing? Recession Proof Career, always a demand for certified staff and great initial salary; see Indeed.com for opportunities and salary.

Q) Why IAHCSMM certifications? IAHCSMM is the largest certification board globally and most recognized by employers.

Q) Why Logan Consultants? We are one of the Best Sterile Processing Training groups that have hospital contracts, affiliation agreements and professional relationships with numerous hospitals in the tri-state and surrounding areas. Our Student base totals in the hundreds that we have certified through IAHCSMM in the United States. Our company has a diverse group of IAHCSMM approved instructors working in leadership roles that provide their expertise collectively to & for our students. 


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