Taking SP Leadership Journey Offers Big Gains

March 26, 2024
SPD professional development is a journey that requires commitment

Sterile Processing (SP) professionals dedicated to advocating for and providing safe, efficient, high-quality customer service that promotes better patient outcomes have a great deal to offer—to their teammates, facilities, professional peers, and others within their communities and professional organizations. Opportunities to contribute to standards development, knowledge sharing, committee involvement, and greater participation within the Healthcare Sterile Processing Association (HSPA) or other professional associations are numerous.

Whether it comes in the form of networking to develop lasting personal and professional relationships, volunteering or being part of other efforts to enhance knowledge, competencies and work quality, active participation, and a commitment to service excellence not only can advance one’s career but also boost accountability and outcomes. Professional development requires a commitment to lifelong learning, inquiry, reflection, and response to new ideas and process changes. Rarely is the path to professional growth easy or clear. Still, if one’s goal is to become part of something bigger, leave a positive impression, and steer effective change, taking time to participate in professional organizations can make the journey less daunting and more fulfilling. It can also encourage new and upcoming generations of SP professionals to follow a similar path toward personal growth and professional excellence.

Serving a higher calling

Professional healthcare organizations and associations are important not only for industry professionals but also the patients they serve. Their missions and work can also help generate ideas, steer improvements, and contribute to standard and health policy development. There is significant research and data demonstrating the benefits of not only joining a professional organization but serving in a deeper capacity. Local HSPA chapter membership and active participation is just one way SP professionals can make meaningful strides through networking and knowledge-sharing. Networking is vital for building professional connections, and peer-to-peer interactions allow for direct collaboration, real-time feedback, and reflection. Additionally, networking is integral to professional development, helping participants explore new jobs or knowledge-sharing opportunities to take their career to the next level.

Chapter membership provides an opportunity to lead at the local level, and those opportunities can be further developed by volunteering in the local community to support the chapter (and profession) and spread the message about its purpose, mission, task forces, and committee work. Gaining membership, leadership, and other professional expertise within a chapter can help prepare SP employees for more roles and responsibilities within HSPA (and other associations), such as national committee involvement or perhaps even elected positions on the Board of Directors. Further, that experience can lead to greater leadership opportunities within SPDs and perhaps even other organizations within the community. 

Researching new ideas and creating content is another valuable facet of leadership. Submitting articles for HSPA’s publications or participating in podcasts or educational poster presentations, for example, are great ways to share knowledge, engage in scientific discovery, and share industry trends, successes, challenges, and more. Presenting at conferences can also have a profound effect on one’s career. There are local, national, and international speaking opportunities for skilled SP professionals; those with no or limited experience will benefit from starting public speaking on smaller stages, such as those at chapter meetings or events, or even at training events or other meetings within one’s own healthcare facility. 

Committing to lifelong learning and knowledge sharing through association, committee, and membership involvement not only helps SP professionals gain a better understanding of the complexities and importance of their various roles and responsibilities, but also boosts confidence and career satisfaction. As importantly, building on one’s expertise has deep and positive effects on customer service, patient outcomes, and the organization’s success.   

For more information about HSPA, its chapters, publications and other support offerings, and to learn how to get started, visit www.myhspa.org.