Sterilization Assistant, no experience necessary will train!
Hiring a person with no dental background to work in sterilization is an increasing trend. Employment ads for “Sterilization Assistant, no experience necessary will train”, are popping up everywhere.
The concern is the training, the skills the training produces and the timeline which the new employee can become proficient at their job as to not risk patients, staff and themselves.
There is something to keep in mind, Sterilization Assistant, Sterilization Tech, Sterilization Lead, etc., no matter what fancy title is given, the Dental Board will look at the employee as a “Dental Assistant” whether or not they chair side assist.
So here are a few things the new employee must meet,
1. Have a BLS CPR Card (Healthcare Provider level issued by the American Heart Association or American Red Cross)
2. Be familiar with and adhere to the DA/RDA Table of Permitted Duties.
3. Be familiar with and adhere to the Dental Board Infection Control Regulations Title 16, Section 1005
4. Be trained and supervised until he/she demonstrates proficiency to work solo. (Training and supervision can be done by a qualified employee)
5. Be familiar with and adhere to the office policies and procedures regarding patient safety and employee safety.
6. Be familiar with and adhere to the office protocols for instrument processing and disinfection of surfaces.
7. Be orientated to the office Compliance Manual.
8. Before the 12 months employment date, he/she will need to take 4 hours of the Dental Practice Act and 8 hours of the Dental Board Infection Control Regulations training.
Depending on the dental background of the new employee, if any, will determine what they will need to supplement from the above list. I need to mention that the above is a minimum standard.
There is a lot of concerns regarding non-licensed employees performing clinical duties. I predict there will be new regulations relating to knowledge and skills requirements, maybe even a certification requirement. I also predict new standards will be handed down by malpractice insurance carriers as well as in network insurance providers, ie Delta Dental, MetLife, etc.
Bottom Line – Any liability to patients, staff or to the new employee themselves because of incompetence will be 100% the responsibility of the practice owner.
Patient Safety is the elimination of unnecessary risks to the patient!