Bay Pines VA Healthcare System Recognized for Excellence in Sterile Processing

Bay Pines VA Healthcare System announced they are the latest recipient of the Ron Hesch Mission First Award. This honor was presented by Censis, at the organization’s conference in Nashville, Tenn. It recognizes U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs or Department of Defense sterile processing services who embody a patient-centered focus, serving as a benchmark of excellence in providing exceptional “Mission First” health care to our nation’s Veterans.

“This recognition from Censis is a tremendous honor because it validates the hard work done by so many,” said Bay Pines VA Associate Director for Patient Care Services Carrie Hawkins. “This team remained resolute during some challenging times and never lost sight of their commitment to one another and their goal of providing the highest level of service to those we serve.”

Following assessments of the service, which reflected low morale due to vacancies in manning and infrastructure issues that resulted in loss of product and impact to instrument quality, SPS leaders at C.W. Bill Young VA Medical Center and Lee County Healthcare Center implemented a refined leadership approach, targeting improvements in job satisfaction and overall performance.

“We made a commitment to elevate who we are as a service by reinvesting in every person on our team,” added Bay Pines VA Acting Chief of Sterile Processing Service (SPS) Sheryl Eder.

Leaders increased rounds for more one-on-one engagement with staff, coordinated team huddles specifically designed to share performance metrics, and advanced awareness through advocacy with other chiefs to improve SPS interoperability throughout the healthcare system.

 “The results were overwhelmingly successful,” continued Eder. “We feel confident that the positive changes made have laid a foundation for continued success for our personnel and our service line.”

Eder stated that, among the multiple notable service line accomplishments, there was an 85.7 percent improvement in sterilization cycles from 20 to eight, and an evolution in competency assessment convergence that drove improvements from 60 percent to 100 percent. The service line also reinforced the importance of individual accreditation to pave the way for a new talent management strategy.

“Certification is highly valued throughout sterile processing, and several of our staff earned Gold Crown recognition by obtaining certifications for registered central service technician (CRCST), endoscope reprocessor (CER), health care leader (CHL) and instrument specialist (CIS),” continued Eder. “As a result, these leaders were successful in earning promotions into leadership, and quality and training positions.”

Ron Hesch was a former director of government services and a Veteran who was passionate about Veteran health care. Following his passing in 2021, Censis created the award in his honor to celebrate the work by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Defense sterile processing service teams who build confidence, demonstrate resilience, and/or use exceptional skills to ensure the mission of great patient care.

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