A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” A good leader has a futuristic vision and knows how to turn ideas into reality.
The Central Sterile Services Department (CSSD) is considered as the heart of the hospital, as the heart takes impure blood, purifies the same and supplies it to all the organs of the body to function well. CSSD too takes all used material of the patients, sterilises the same, and supply it back to use on another patient. Hence, CSSD is of utmost importance in the hospital set up in controlling Hospital-Acquired Infection (HAI).
The staff working in CSS needs to have a science background that will allow them to understand the principles of killing mechanisms of microbes, the relation between time and temperate that helps sterilise the goods, importance of humidity and many other basic criteria of sterilisation techniques. Only when a staff understands these sciences and its implications then only can they be performing their job well. A job well done can lead to success that is indicative of no or minimum rates of HAI’s. Therefore, to achieve the best results, CSSD must be led by an efficient leader.
A leader can be efficient only when they possess thorough technical knowledge. As the education qualification of the staff ideally has to be with a science background, it is important that the person leading the department should too possess a degree in science. The leader should have at least 10 to 15 years of experience in the field, as experience is the best teacher.
There are many challenges in the field of sterilisation that have to be handled by the leader. The first and foremost challenge is to handle the manpower. Manpower is the biggest source that needs to be handled appropriately, as if not handled well it could cause a lot of problems. No one person can do the job well, it is a team that has to work not just the individual. Therefore, the leader has to keep the team spirit high at all times. This will be done by developing trust amongst teammates. Never compromise your team’s trust in you by assigning a job that is well beyond their capability level. If the job is not done well then you will lose trust with the staff and with customers too, which is very difficult to gain.
Communication is another important aspect of leadership, as one can’t expect the team to understand and execute a task without clear communication. To have clear communication, the leader must have a clear vision or goal. That is why it is stated that before you initiate any action you should plan and re-plan. For example, with a surgeon, it is important as a leader to train and educate the staff well to address the request with due dignity to the position.
A leader should constantly upgrade their skills but also train and retrain the staff working in their units. If the employee is deemed to be incompetent, then the manager must work with the employee until they can complete the proper steps.
The leader should ensure the staff’s cross-functional training that will help them gain the necessary knowledge on operating procedures with importance on having the right instrument for right procedures. Such training not only improves knowledge but also boosts the confidence of the CSS staff to enhance productivity.
It is equally important to provide sufficient resources to cope with the workload. In case of insufficient resources, there could be challenges in providing the right set of instruments at the right time and that could lead to the use of improper/additional instruments, ending up increasing the workload of the department.
The general tendency of the staff working in CSS is that they feel that they are packers. However, the leader should enforce the importance of cleaning, packing, and labelling, as that involves a lot of quality control measures and this is the job of the CSS personnel.
Another important criterion is that the staff should be given freedom of speech, as only then the manager gets to understand the ground-level situation that further helps to improve the protocols.
Leaders need to generate loyal employees and promote trust throughout with open communication with the team. Leaders should not view themselves as better than or above the rest of the team. Employees appreciate if their opinion is valued and respected by the leader. The same helps in achieving employee satisfaction that aids efficiency and enhances productivity.