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How to become a Sterile Services Technician

sterile services technician careers

What does a Sterile Services Technician do?

Sterile services technicians provide hospital wards and departments with the equipment and materials required for clean, hygienic procedures. Re-useable instruments from wards, clinics and operating theatres are collected, disinfected and checked to make sure they are clean and working properly. Sterile supplies are delivered by trolley, to wards and departments.

Technicians assemble instruments and supply items such as dressings, needles and syringes in packs or on trays, following standardised procedures. They seal and label the packs or trays, which are then sterilised in steam using machines called autoclaves.

Specialised equipment is used to decontaminate or disinfect large items of medical equipment.

What's the working environment like working as a Sterile Services Technician?

Sterile services technicians usually work days with early starts. Shifts and on-call duties may be required.

The work can be fairly strenuous, involving standing, some lifting, and pushing trolleys. Sterile services technicians work in a clean hospital environment and protective clothing is worn. Gloves and face visors are needed for some work. Working conditions can be humid.

What does it take to become a Sterile Services Technician?

To be a sterile services technician, you should:

  • have high standards of hygiene - those with skin conditions may find this work unsuitable
  • have strong literacy and numeracy skills
  • be discrete and respect patients' privacy
  • have a good level of personal health and fitness
  • be interested in science
  • have the ability to follow detailed instructions and work quickly and precisely
  • be flexible in your approach to work.

Sterile Services Technician Career Opportunities

Sterile services technicians work in NHS hospitals, private hospitals or military hospitals. There can be opportunities to work abroad.

Technicians can progress in to assistant management and then service management posts. Supervisors need an S/NVQ Level 3 in Supervisory Management or an Institute of Leadership Management (ILM) qualification. The Institute of Decontamination Sciences hold information about professional membership of the Institute of Sterile Services Management; see Further Information. Experienced managers who become head of department may move into general health service management.

Further information

If you would like to know anything about Sterile Services Technician that does not appear on Hotcourses, further information can be found below.

NHS Learning and Development Service
Tel: 08000 150 850
Email: learning@nhscareers.nhs.uk

NHS Careers
PO Box 376
Bristol
BS99 3EY
Tel: 0845 606 0655
www.nhscareers.nhs.uk

The Institute of Decontamination Sciences
www.idsc-uk.org

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