Sterile Processing

This course (HLTH 1250) teaches students to handle medical equipment and surgical instrumentation in a safe and sanitary manner in order to begin to prepare them for work within a sterile processing department.

Do you need help paying for this course? You may be eligible for GAP Assistance. Contact Heather Bloomquist at to find out more and apply.

  • Set aside at least 5 hours per week to study and read the material in the textbook
  • Be on time and prepared for class and lab
  • Be an active part of classroom and lab activities
  • Get plenty of rest and strive for a healthy diet
  • Develop study groups or an accountability partner outside of class
  • Complete and submit assignments and exams on dates due
  • Be willing to critique other classmates and accept their comments to improve your performance
  • Be willing to accept constructive criticism within the lab setting
  • Develop a method of retaining information (notes, flashcards, etc.)

This course will:

  1. Define Roles and Responsibilities to include the history of SPD, the agencies that regulate it and the functions of the sterile processor and the sterile processing department.
  2. Discuss basic sciences of Anatomy, Physiology and Microbiology to include body systems and microorganisms. To include how they work, their need to survive and the diseases that plague healthcare facilities.
  3. Address Infection Control in relation to the principles, concepts and the best way to protect yourself.
  4. Explain Decontamination and the basics of cleaning, selection and use of detergents, various types of mechanical cleaning equipment, manual cleaning, processing of specialty devices.
  5. Discuss Chemical Disinfection - types of disinfectants (environmental and high level), their uses and best practices.
  6. Identify Patient Care Equipment - the various types of equipment, their uses and how to best process them.
  7. Identify Preparation and Packaging - types of packaging materials and systems, wrapping methods, care and handling of rigid container systems.
  8. Identify Surgical Instruments - basic instrument anatomy and uses, care, handling and testing of instruments, classifications of instruments and preparation of various devices.
  9. Define Sterilization - the requirements for sterilization for steam, (pre-vac and gravity displacement), ethylene oxide gas, low temperature gas plasma, dry heat, ozone and peracetic acid sterilization. Use of chemical indicators, their classifications; use of biological testing and frequency. The new formulation of ozone sterilization has been included.
  10. Discuss Sterile Storage - proper environmental conditions for sterile storage, transportation of sterile product. How to best protect stored items.
  11. Discuss Inventory Control and Distribution - the various methods for supply distribution and inventory management concepts.
  12. Provide basic Medical Terminology needed to better understand the course content.

Students must be 16 years of age to take this course.