Plan ahead for your best CS Week celebration

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International Central Service (CS) Week is rapidly approaching (October 7-13, 2018), and now’s the time begin planning to honor the profession and make the very most of those dedicated seven days.

Unfortunately, some CS departments let CS Week come and go with minimal fanfare and celebration; it’s a missed opportunity and a shame considering the critical role CS professionals play in the delivery of safe, high-quality patient care every day. Not only do they work diligently to provide clean, sterile and well-functioning instruments to their healthcare customers and patients, they carefully and consistently adhere to the latest industry standards, best practices and policies and procedures — and just like other healthcare professionals, they deserve to be honored and appreciated for their many efforts. This is why CS professionals should take the initiative now to ensure their department and profession are properly recognized during each of those seven days.

Celebrate on even a shoestring budget

Limited budgets are common, but CS professionals can still celebrate CS Week in a meaningful way with the help of some creativity, brainstorming and group participation — and even some assistance from other departments, such as the Operating Room (OR), Endoscopy, Infection Prevention, and beyond.

What follows are some tried-and-true trips for creating a memorable, exciting and educational CS Week, without breaking the bank:

Honor the team

CS Week affords a golden opportunity to reflect on professional development. Contact a local vendor to provide an educational inservice and consider inviting members from other departments, such as the OR, to participate, as well. Create a poster for your department depicting a success story or departmental initiative that occurred in the past year, or a bulletin board with staff pictures and employment and certification history. Managers may also ask C-level executives if they will be willing to fund a certification scholarship for staff to become certified or help distribute certificates to employees who helped achieve departmental goals. Managers can send a personal note or card to each member of their team to thank them for their contributions toward better patient safety and care. These types of personalized tokens of appreciation cost virtually nothing but can go a long way toward improving employee satisfaction and morale.

Drum up interest early

CS Week events shouldn’t be limited to just to those within the department. Let other healthcare professionals in the facility and members of the general community know about CS Week well in advance and share with them why celebrating the profession is so important.

Consider placing CS Week-inspired ads in facility newsletters, post flyers in common areas and perhaps even write an article or press release for local newspapers that outlines the facility’s CS Week plans/events. The more aware others are of the event, the more likely they will be to participate and lend support.

Plan for daily events

Create a different educational/celebratory opportunity for each day of CS Week. Consider an open house for one day, for example, and recruit vendors to provide educational inservices on another one or two days. Host a lunch, dinner or dessert social, and invite team members from the OR, Infection Prevention and Endoscopy, for example, as well as C-level executives, elected officials and others to participate. While these individuals are there, keep them engaged with educational offerings, such as process demonstrations, videos or standards-based trivia games. Light snacks and refreshments also serve to draw (and keep) receptive crowds.

Collaborate for success

In these days and weeks leading up to CS Week, work with healthcare customers and create poster presentations, bulletin boards or hands-on demonstrations of how each department can assist CS (and vice versa) in doing their job more effectively and efficiently. Spraying or wetting soiled instruments after a procedure and before they make their way back to decontamination and keeping instruments sharp and well-maintained are just two examples that could be shared to promote quality and teamwork.

CS professionals can drive more support for CS Week (and their profession, in general), if they take time to honor and recognize their healthcare customers/partners for their efforts and contributions throughout the year. Infection Prevention Week also falls in October and it’s is a perfect time for CS professionals and IPs to partner and create a unified front during each profession’s dedicated week. The same is true of Perioperative Nurse Week, which takes place in November. Consider writing notes of gratitude and delivering dessert as a heartfelt thank you, and asking how members of the CS team can help honor their profession. Reciprocation is invaluable for driving support and keeping appreciation going long after each department’s designated week of celebration concludes. hpn

For more CS Week ideas and planning inspiration, visit www.iahcsmm.org/events/cs-week.html. To purchase 2018 CS Week merchandise, visit www.jimcolemanstore.com/csweek/.

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Julie E. Williamson
Julie Williamson is a journalist with more than 20 years of experience writing on topics related to Central Service, surgical services, infection prevention, long-term care/senior living, materials management and healthcare technology. She served as features editor for Healthcare Purchasing News from 1996 to 2012 and currently serves as Communications Director and Senior Editor for the International Association of Healthcare Central Service Materiel Management (IAHCSMM).

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