Supporting Sterile Processing Professionals During COVID-19: See Our Resources

CIS 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 more focused aspects of surgical instrumentation within Sterile Processing, with topics ranging from urology, instrument marking/tracking systems, and suture issues to TASS, robotic instrumentation and proper decontamination. These CIS lesson plans offer continuing education for CRCST and CIS renewals.


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

To familiarize yourself with our library, please review the CIS 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.

285-Biological Macromolecules and Enzymatic Detergents
Introduction: Healthcare surgical instrument inventory consists of a variety of tools, each accompanied with its own complexity and delicateness. Even instrumentation that appears simplistic can provide reprocessing challenges. Examples of common problematic areas of instrumentation include (and are not limited to) grooves, teeth, channels, hidden gaps, and lumens.
284-The Importance of Instrument/Equipment Lubrication
Introduction: Proper lubrication of surgical instrumentation and equipment is critical for effective operation and it helps prolong the lifespan of the devices; however, there are several factors healthcare organizations and Sterile Processing (SP) professionals need to consider to ensure they are selecting the appropriate type of lubricant and using it properly.
283-Making the Most of Tracking Software
Introduction: The success of any Sterile Processing (SP) professional starts with having the proper tools and effective processes to complete their responsibilities safely and efficiently. Utilizing information technology to create reports and deliver critical information can contribute to better outcomes within the SP department (SPD).
282-Strategies for Optimizing Compliance with Manufacturers' Instructions for Use
Introduction: When surveyors visit Sterile Processing departments (SPDs), they inspect the processes to ensure team members are following manufacturers' instructions for use (IFU). Often, when team members are decontaminating instruments, the surveyor will quiz the technician on their knowledge.
281-Eliminating Missing Instruments
Introduction: Missing instruments are a common challenge for Sterile Processing departments (SPDs). This lesson will address the importance of minimizing the occurrence of missing instruments and developing and maintaining an organized storage and reorder system.
280-Eliminating Corrosion on Surgical Instruments
Introduction: Sterile Processing departments (SPDs) frequently find rust, pitting or other corrosion on surgical instruments. Instrument specialists inspect thousands of these instruments daily and when corrosion is found, technicians are forced to remove the instruments from service, event when a replacement may not be available.
279-Environmental Responsibility: Keeping Sterile Processing Departments Clean and Functional
Introduction: Often, a Sterile Processing department (SPD) is so busy processing medical devices that some of the environmental cleaning and routine maintenance tasks are left undone. The environment in which medical devices are processed is very important. For example, if the processing area has dust and lint contamination, those particles could be deposited onto the instrumentation.
278-Operating Room Set Up and Breakdown: How Instrumentation Errors Impact Surgical Cases
Introduction: A case-ready Operating Room (OR) is one that is properly cleaned and staged with case-specific instrumentation. A case-ready OR helps ensure OR providers have everything they need to deliver exceptional care and positively influences the surgical team, patient and surgical outcome.
277-Instrument Assembly, Inspection & Protection
Introduction: The success of any surgical procedure largely depends on Sterile Processing (SP) professionals' ability to clean, disinfect, sterilize and inspect instrumentation to keep the devices functioning properly and reduce infection risks to patients.
276-Instrument Staining: What Causes It and How to Prevent It
Introduction: Surgical instrument spotting, staining and corrosion are serious problems in many healthcare facilities. These problems can be avoided if careful attention is given to the method of instrument processing and possible causes of staining are understood. This lesson will explore the most common stains, as well as what to look for and possible causes and cures.
275-Laparoscopic Appendectomy Instrumentation
Introduction: A patient walks into the Emergency Department with dull pain around the belly btn btn-lg btn--orange-outline that radiates and becomes sharper as it moves to the lower right abdomen. The patient reports a loss of appetite and is experiencing some nausea and vomiting. The vital signs show a low-grade fever and the physical exam reveals abdominal swelling and pain upon touching the right lower abdomen.
274-Infection Prevention for Central Service Technicians
Introduction: Central Service/Sterile Processing (CS/SP) technicians prepare hundreds and, perhaps, even thousands of medical devices for use each shift; however, they rarely get to see the patients who are treated with those devices. Despite their reprocessing and delivery of those devices, CS/SP technicians may not always recognize the critical role they play in infection prevention.
273-Transitioning from High-Level Disinfection to Sterilization for Semi-Critical Devices
Introduction: Implementing the transition from high-level disinfection (HLD) to sterilization for semi-critical devices is a movement that is intended to improve patient care because sterilization kills all bacteria, including spores; provides a higher reduction in microbial contamination; and has a sterility assurance level (SAL).
272-Ophthalmic Surgical Instruments
Introduction: The success of every CS/SP department and, ultimately, the success of every procedure performed in surgery, depends on the quality of the instruments provided. Ensuring each surgical procedure has functional instruments available and instrument sets that are correct, complete and ready for use when needed is an essential, yet challenging responsibility.
271-Tonsillectomy & Adenoidectomy Instrumentation
Introduction: Instrument inspection and testing is one of the core responsibilities of the CS/SP technician. Producing patient-ready instrumentation is significant to any successful surgical procedure. It is essential for an instrument specialist to have the knowledge and skills to identify commonly-used instrumentation, recognize important inspection areas and understand the functionality of each instrument.
270-Teamwork in the Central Service Department
Introduction: The CS/SP department plays a vital role in the delivery of quality healthcare services to the surgical team; therefore, it is essential for every CS/SP technician to understand not only his or her specific role within the process, but also the importance of working together as a team to achieve high standards in patient care and promote patient safety. Certified Instrument Specialists can play a key leadership role in this process.
269-Transitioning into a Leadership Role
Introduction: Leadership is defined as “the ability of an individual or organization to lead or guide other individuals, teams or entire organizations.” Opportunities abound for those who wish to assume a leadership role; however, it should be noted that a specific position does not need to be attained in order to become a leader.
268-General Instrumentation
Introduction: In the healthcare setting, “General Instruments” refer to surgical instruments that are generally used in most surgical instrument sets/ trays; these instruments may also be found in complex trays. This lesson will provide an overview of instruments commonly categorized as general instrumentation.
267-Total Joint Arthroplasty of the Hip and Knee
Introduction: Total joint arthroplasty, or total joint replacement, is a surgical procedure to repair the functionality of a joint. The most commonly-replaced joints are the hip, knee and shoulder. In total joint arthroplasty, the joint may be resurfaced, an artificial joint may be implanted, or both. Damaged joints are replaced with artificial implants that mimic the action of the joint.
266-CIS Prioritization in Central Service
Introduction: There may be times when it seems the CS department is out of control. Perhaps the Operating Room (OR) keeps calling, asking for instrumentation that is not in the department. Perhaps loaned instrumentation arrives and no one knows which case the instruments are intended for or what time the instrumentation is needed.

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).