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CHL Online Lesson Plans

This series of self-study lessons on Sterile Processing topics was developed by the International Association of Healthcare Central Service Materiel Management (IAHCSMM). The lessons concentrate on the information and advancements of Sterile Processing from a managerial and supervisory role, with topics ranging from leadership and work performance to coaching and training evaluations. These CHL lesson plans offer continuing education for CHL renewals.


IAHCSMM Members receive access to lesson plans at a discounted rate.

To familiarize yourself with our library, please review the CHL lesson plan descriptions below. Once you’re ready to access the lesson plans, simply sign in to the store, add the lesson plans to your cart and proceed to checkout. Member discounts will reflect as you add lesson plans to your cart and complete the check-out process.

Upon successful check-out, you will have immediate access to view the content through your IAHCSMM Account. Following each reading, there will be a quiz to take in order to receive credit toward your renewals. Please Note: IAHCSMM does not manually grade any paper quiz submissions, and to achieve credit, all quizzes must be completed online.

Available Lesson Plans

385-Keeping Air Pressure in Control
Introduction: Anyone downwind from a skunk can appreciate the importance of air flow. Avoiding the unique stench of North America’s favorite black-andwhite critter means knowing where the skunk is and the direction of the wind. Healthcare facilities do not have to worry about skunks, but they do need to worry about other hazardous airborne elements.
384-Risk Assessments: Their Important Role in Promoting Quality in Sterile Processing
Introduction: Risk assessments help to set polices, implement necessary quality assurance (QA) tests, and ensure practices promote the best performance of staff and facility processes. Still, few Sterile Processing (SP) standards, guidelines or recommended practices provide details on how to perform a risk assessment, and fewer explain what do to with the results.
383-How to Create Sustainable Change in Sterile Processing
Introduction: How many times have you made changes in your Sterile Processing department (SPD), only to return a week later and find nothing has happened? Were you able to determine why or did you just get frustrated and give up? It seems that just the word “change” can make staff roll their eyes, tense their shoulders and let out deep sighs. What if you were able to switch the negative connotation of the word “change” to a positive, moving phrase embraced by staff?
382-Process Waste Reduction Improves Efficiency in Sterile Processing
Introduction: Sterile Processing (SP) customers require sterile items for the procedure at the procedure's start. Any activities and items that do not directly provide sterile items to the customer is "waste." For example, cleaning instruments before sterilization is necessary to achieve sterilization.
381-Identifying Common Cleaning Challenges Associated with Washer-Disinfectors and Loaned Instrument Sets
Introduction: More than ever, Sterile Processing (SP) professionals are having to work faster, turn instruments around quicker, and complete sterilization sooner to support the Surgical Services schedule. Instrument cleaning is at the core of this process. Clean devices are critical to patient safety.
380-Biofilm: Where Is It Hiding in the Sterile Processing Department?
Introduction: Biofilm is everywhere - from bumps on the outside of seashells to slime in the bottom of a bird bath, it takes advantage of any surface in the presence of water. Biofilm may take many years to grow, or it can form within hours. Healthcare facilities are certainly no exception to biofilm development.
379-Using Social Media Content for Professional Education: Benefits and Cautions
Introduction: For many staff members, their smart phones control much of their lives. It can manage their schedule, allow them to communicate with friends, family and co-workers, and deliver updates on events happening around the world. Many employers consider smart phones distractions that can contribute to poor employee performance and, in the realm of healthcare, they can also contribute to health and safety risks.
378-Infection Prevention for Staff When Managing Manually Cleaned Items
Introduction: What do Ebola, bubonic plague, bacterial meningitis and hepatitis C infection all have in common? They are diseases that may be spread to healthcare workers through contact with blood or body fluids. Although these serious diseases are caused by infectious agents carried in blood and body fluids, they are not the only infectious materials that can come into the decontamination area.
377-Developing Policies & Procedures to Effectively Manage High-Risk Endoscopy Procedures
Introduction: When a patient undergoes an endoscopy procedure, the threat of infection transmission from the reusable endoscope to the patient should be minimal; however, over the last few years, documented outbreaks originating from contaminated endoscopes have focused the attention of regulatory bodies and healthcare leaders on the design and processing of these complex tools.
376-How to Prepare for a Steam Sterilization Load Recall
Introduction: Sterilization is a complex process that requires extensive monitoring. The sterilization process most commonly used in healthcare is steam. Steam sterilization processes use chemical indicators (CIs), biological indicators (BIs) and physical monitors to determine if the parameters for sterilization have been met, loads can be released, and items are ready for use on patients. Even the best processes sometimes fail, however.
375-Understanding the CS/SP Auditing Process: Leadership Fundamentals, Process and Competency
Introduction: Effective leadership shares similarities to successful gardening. Gardeners painstakingly prepare soil and plant seedlings to ensure a bountiful harvest. The gardener could walk away until fall, allowing the plants to grow as they will; however, every good gardener knows they must continually check on their garden to ensure nothing goes wrong.
374-Selecting Biological Indicators to Balance Productivity and Risk
Introduction: Biological indicators (BIs) are the crosswalk signals of sterilization. They guard against the unseen and unexpected events that may result in serious harm to a patient. Often, they are seen as unnecessary and redundant, or as roadblocks that delay the completion of work; however, newer technologies are offering the opportunity to change these perceptions.
373-Benefits of Departmental Connectivity
Introduction: Work smarter, not harder should be a mantra for all Central Service/Sterile Processing (CS/SP) departments as they strive for continuous operational readiness. In some cases, following that mantra is easier said than done; however, it is certainly achievable given today’s advancements with departmental connectivity.
372-The Importance of Delegation for the CS/SP Leader
Introduction: Delegation is one of the most important management skills. Effective delegation saves time, helps develop individuals, motivates staff and can help groom a successor. Poor delegation causes frustration, confuses and demotivates others and often leads to the failed completion of tasks. Delegation is a management skill that is worthy of greater understanding and improvement.
371-Periodic Product Quality Assurance Testing as Part of a Quality Management System
Introduction: Periodic product quality assurance (PQA) testing is an important, yet underused part of a healthcare CS/SP department’s quality management system. The process is sometimes referred to as product evaluation testing. PQA testing is the primary process used by CS/SP departments to verify that written instructions of use (IFU) that have been validated by device manufacturers.
370-Mitigating Risk by Establishing a Risk Management Process
Introduction: Current standards from the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI) identify device processing areas throughout the healthcare organization that have a responsibility for establishing a risk management process and performing risk assessments on an established schedule, based on the risk level identified.
369-Communication Skills: Having Difficult Conversations
Introduction: All CS/SP Managers will have difficult conversations over the course of their careers. Some conversations are labeled as “difficult” because the CS/SP manager may feel intimidated, misunderstood or angry. Difficult conversations often arise from conflict, and conflict can cause emotions to rise and our bodies to react physically (e.g., the presence of anxiety).
368-Establishing a CS/SP Department Public Relation Plan
Introduction: CS/SP leaders should ask how they would characterize their department’s reputation among its stakeholders. “Stakeholder,” in this case, is synonymous with “customer.” A stakeholder represents all individuals affected by device processing and other services performed by the CS/SP department.
367-Ethics for the Central Service Leader
Introduction: Ethics is a rule of behavior based on ideas about what is morally good and bad; they are a set of moral principles that guide a person’s actions and are an essential and integral part of healthcare. Healthcare facilities have a code of ethics that outlines the mission and values of the organization, and establishes how employees are expected to approach problems in accordance with the facility’s professional standard.
366-Implementing a Departmental Education, Training and Competency Program
Introduction: All CS/SP technicians should practice and maintain the highest professional integrity when it comes to device processing, and this is especially true of CS/SP department trainers. The trainer requires effective interpersonal skills and a respect for all individuals and the diverse workplace within which they train.

IAHCSMM offers only online grading for the lesson plans. Mailed submissions to IAHCSMM will not be graded and will not be granted a point value. Quizzes may be graded by a manager/supervisor as an in-service worth 1 CE per quiz passed with a 70% or higher (proper documentation of the in-service is required for re-certification, and IAHCSMM does not provide answer keys for any of the lesson plans). Purdue University offers a subscription series for the CRCST and CIS Lesson Plans (available online or through correspondence paper/pencil grading).