Name: Kathy Kurtz
Role: Central Service Supervisor
Facility Name: Parkview Surgery ONE
How many years you’ve been in Sterile Processing? 20
What’s your story of how you got into Sterile Processing?
I was working in the Worker’s Compensation Ortho North East (ONE) and there was a position that became available. I had always wanted to work in surgery, but did not have the opportunity to go to school. An RN friend of mine suggested that I apply for the position. It was for a Central Service Technician. I did not think that I would be considered, as the only experience I had was 2 years of working with “table top” autoclaves. Nothing to the magnitude of what they have for a central service department. However, they were looking for someone with an eye for detail and someone who had just enough experience to understand the process. That was me to a “T”. To my surprise, they hired me. I could not wait to start my new position. That was 20 Years ago in March. I have evolved as a person, I have evolved professionally, and now I am the leader of the department. This is my passion, and I love what I do.
What is your favorite part of the job?
My favorite part of my job is knowing that I am making a HUGE difference in the life of so many patients. I always say that anonymity is a good thing in our profession. Most people do not know that we even exist. But we do so much for the patients, that is not even a thought in their heads. I love knowing that I am making a difference, whether the patients know or not. It gives me great satisfaction.
What is something you would like people outside of this field to understand about what you do every day?
I do not just “wash dishes”. I hear that all the time, and it is WAY more than that. There is microbiology involved, regulations that have to be followed, and regulations that must be memorized in order to make certain that we are doing what we are supposed to. Here at Parkview Surgery ONE we do not have the need for immediate use steam sterilization (IUSS). We take great pride in that too. We are always using the gold standard, every patient, every day, every time. I literally treat each case as if it were my own relative on the table.
What is the most meaningful part of your job?
The most meaningful part of my job is at the end of every day, I know that we have done the best we could and that we have prepared for the next day as best we could. That the best we can do will make a difference to a great deal of people. We have internal customers that we help, such as Nurses, Doctors and Surgical Techs that depend on us every day to make their day run as smoothly as possible. When no one needs or wants for anything because we have already provided it, that is meaningful. We also have our external customers, the patients. It is very satisfying knowing that we are protecting them in ways they don’t even know they need protected. We are following all of the rules necessary to help prevent them from getting infection. That is very meaningful.
If you could be a superhero, what would your power be and why?
If I could be a superhero, I would love to have the power to, with the blink of an eye or a flick of a finger, have my household chores all done in an instant. I would never have to vacuum again!