Sterile Processing in the Frozen North
At the end of September of 2023, Sam Harrison, Clinical Educator at Censis, visited Bassett Army Community Hospital to provide assessment based ServicePlus on-site training. Bassett Army Community Hospital is located on Fort Wainwright military base in Fairbanks, Alaska. Under the leadership of Major Millie Knox, the professionals who ran sterile processing at Bassett were welcoming, friendly, knowledgeable, and efficient with their duties. In addition to running sterile processing, the staff also work as Surgical Technicians in the OR. Sam was thankful to have had the opportunity to work with such competent staff in a clean and organized department.
During the on-site visit, Sam trained the staff on different areas of CensiTrac to expand the usage in a way that provided value to the department. For example, a clinic instrument exchange process was digitalized and automated using CensiTrac. The original process consisted of clinics dropping off instruments to be sterilized, at which point an SPD staff member would double-check a sheet of paper that was brought with the instruments to verify accuracy of what was being dropped off. Leadership wanted a better way to track which instruments arrived from each clinic, and which instruments were subsequently sent to each clinic after sterilization.
A process was set up where staff would quickly scan the barcode of any item arriving from a specific clinic into a “clinic received” location. After the clinic items were sterilized, they would then be scanned to a “sent to clinic” location. This process would allow leadership to generate reports showing which items had arrived from a specific clinic, as well as which items were sent back to a specific clinic on a chosen date or date range.
Changing Seasons and Northern Lights
While in Fairbanks, the change of season was transpiring. The air had a chill and the leaves on the aspen, poplar, and birch trees were in various stages of fall foliage. Outside of work, Sam explored the area. The Fairbanks area is known for its phenomenal northern lights. A well-known and optimal place to view the aurora lights is a place called Murphy Dome. Being away from the city, there is less light pollution, which makes the lights even more vibrant and bright. On the night Sam attempted to view the lights, however, they decided not to make an appearance.
Sam noticed others at Murphy’s Dome who were taking pictures of the sky but when he looked up, he couldn’t understand why since there were no lights visible and wondered if the people had gone a little crazy. Later in the week, he discovered that sometimes even if the lights aren’t visible to the eye, they can still show up on a lens. He was relieved at the sanity of the people he saw who, to his untrained eye, were seemingly taking pictures of the dark night sky in vain. Although he did not get to see the lights, he submitted a pretty picture of them:
The Graceful and Natural Beauty of Alaska
Sam noticed that the beauty of Fairbanks is a vast but modest beauty. The woods exude a special calming and peaceful presence. One evening, when Sam visited a river, he learned that many of the rivers in Alaska are unique because they are sourced from glaciers, and they contain glacier silt which gives them their unique color and riverbed patterns.
On a walk on another evening, there happened to be a beautiful amanita muscaria mushroom on the path. The conditions in Alaska are ideal for this type of mushroom. This is an interesting mushroom as in its early stages it can resemble a commonly sought after and edible “puffball”. However, the amanita muscaria mushroom can be toxic if not prepared correctly.
Happy to Return Home
Although Sam loves to travel to different facilities around the world to help improve CensiTrac processes and spend time with clients, he always looks forward to the return home trip to spend time with his dog Willow.
Are you curious about working at Censis and traveling around the world? Head over to our Careers Page and see what opportunities await you!