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Tips to Boost Sterile Processing Technician Training & Outcomes

Sterile processing (SP) professionals are in high demand these days due to a mix of retirement, transitioning to other career fields and the so called “Great Resignation” that was largely spurred by the pandemic. It’s an eye-opening development and one that should make every health care organization take notice because of an essential fact: the critically important work that takes place in the sterile processing department (SPD) remains and must be performed by well-trained, qualified and dedicated professionals. 

What’s on the Horizon for HDO Sterilization Guidance?

This increased transport distance brings up new concerns and issues that are not already addressed in the transport section of ST79. The goal of this new TIR is to introduce best practice guidance for transporting clean, disinfected, sterilized, and soiled devices across longer distances, including addressing requirements for the transport vehicles used to transport the devices. For regular updates about this developing technical information report, check aami.org.

ASCA Recognizes Physicians for Outstanding Service

During ASCA’s annual conference in Dallas this year, the association recognized two physicians with its 2022 Nap Gary Award for Lifetime Achievement in the ASC Community: Thomas M. Deas Jr., MD, and Peter Daly, MD. Both men exemplify the long-standing dedication to the ASC community, leadership qualities and high moral and ethical standards the award was created to recognize. Each also contributed in unique ways to advancing the ASC care model.

Take Steps Toward a Healthier Lifestyle

Improving your diet, exercising regularly, taking a daily supplement and getting enough restorative sleep are all important steps to overall wellness. Work to incorporate each step into your daily routine until you reach your goal of good health, and find more health-conscious tips at eLivingToday.com. 

Spotlight On: Jana Mazzo, RN, RDMS

Spotlight On: Jana Mazzo, RN, RDMS

By Matt Skoufalos

Ask registered nurse Jana Mazzo why she’s in the health care field, and the answer is a simple one: she wanted to make helping people her life’s work. From that basic principle, however, she’s developed a career that’s as varied and interesting as the nursing field itself.

Mazzo’s started off in the neonatal intensive care unit at Cooper University Hospital in Camden City, New Jersey, where she supported premature and micro preemie babies – those born weighing less than one pound, eight ounces, or before 26 weeks of gestation. When Mazzo herself became pregnant with her first daughter, she left the NICU to work in outpatient nursing for Weisman Children’s, a pediatric specialty organization in Marlton, New Jersey; today, she is a nurse esthetician in Newtown Square, Pennsylvania.

Before Mazzo entered the field of nursing, however, she worked as a registered diagnostic medical sonographer (RDMS) for MobilexUSA of Pennsauken, New Jersey, a subsidiary of TridentUSA Health Services, which provides advanced mobile diagnostic services across the country. She traveled across Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland performing diagnostic ultrasound services in remote facilities, including nursing homes, rehabilitation homes and jails. When Mazzo had the opportunity to perform fetal ultrasounds, however, she knew she’d found her niche.

“When you’re doing medical ultrasounds, you know what you’re going to expect; it’s static,” she said. “With fetal ultrasound, it’s a dynamic thing. You’re chasing around a baby who’s face-planted in the placenta, or sucking on the umbilical cord; you see them yawn, or swallow the amniotic fluid. It’s priceless seeing people’s faces. You’ll never see the same thing twice.”

Because she so delighted in sharing the moments of discovery that sonography offers expectant parents, Mazzo decided to open her own ultrasound clinic, Womb Service, in Audubon, New Jersey. Womb Service offers elective 2D, 3D, 4D and HD ultrasounds to parents who want to leverage contemporary medical imaging technology to take a look at their children in utero. She likens the service to a family portrait studio, where parents-to-be can get images of their babies before they’re born.

“My goal working in health care was to make everything more accessible, because pregnancy is a time when people have a lot of questions,” Mazzo said. “We want to help. Since we are medical professionals, we point out everything [during the scan], and answer any questions that they have.”

Customers are required to have had a medical ultrasound prior to their session, and studies are performed only by RDMS-credentialed sonographers; Mazzo or her partner. The only difference between the elective ultrasounds she offers and the medical ultrasounds that are a component of routine prenatal care is that no radiologist interprets the images she captures.

“They’re doing this for fun,” Mazzo said. “On the off-chance we see something [of concern], we have all their doctor’s information, and we report it.”

Elective ultrasound, while not intended to provide diagnostic medical information, does offer developmental details that parents want, she said. These include “early gender reveals, peace-of-mind scans,” and, in the third trimester, “really clear, distinct facial shots, where you see exactly what the baby looks like.”

HD ultrasound yields high-resolution images, but the GE Ultrasound Voluson scanner that is the backbone of Mazzo’s studio also features post-processing capabilities that can offer a strikingly clear portrait of a child at various stages of gestation. When parents see those photos, their faces communicate “instant relief,” Mazzo said. For families awaiting a first child, those who’ve had difficulty trying to conceive, or even women who know they are pregnant but whose babies aren’t big enough to perceive physically, the process can be transformative, she said.

“I love all my people; I did have one person who I got to really know [because] this was her rainbow baby,” Mazzo said. “She came in, so nervous, once every three or four weeks, just to check on him. Just seeing the heartbeat, she would audibly exhale. He was born perfect.”

Unlike in her other health care roles, where patients receive care, and then move along, Mazzo said she enjoys the opportunity elective ultrasound offers her to circle back with families after their babies are born. She often has the opportunity to compare their baby photos with the ultrasound images she’s captured in her studio, and many of her customers return during subsequent pregnancies.

“I get to see a lot of people afterwards and follow their journeys,” Mazzo said. “It’s very rewarding. I feel like it goes back to wanting to help, and to bring everything together.”

Mazzo also uses the opportunity of capturing ultrasound images to have broader conversations about perinatal health with her customers, offering resources for lactation consultancy, midwifery and CPR. In the future, she hopes to develop a “daddy boot camp” to help educate new fathers, and she’s been certified to teach parenting classes, for which she’s writing a curriculum.

“I give them information that they can read at their leisure,” Mazzo said. “I want them to know that the resources are definitely there. I want to be a one-stop shop for perinatal health.”

When she’s not working in nursing or running her ultrasound business, Mazzo enjoys spending time with her extended family, who live just seven houses down from hers. Her husband and daughters all enjoy visiting their relatives and grandparents, and Mazzo considers herself fortunate to be able to raise them in the town of her youth. She’s also pursuing her real estate license, the better to support her family’s realty business.

More than anything, however, Mazzo said the opportunity of operating her own business has yielded the chance to show her own babies the work that goes along with welcoming a new family member into the world.

“It’s great that I get to bring my girls here, and they can see what I’m doing,” she said. “I’m glad they can experience that.”

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