Education Logo

CHL Online Lesson Plans

Sponsored By: STERISLogoForLessonPlanPage

Complete IAHCSMM's CHL Online Lesson Plans Today

Once you've purchased a lesson plan, 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.

This series of self-study lessons on Central Service topics was developed by the International Association of Healthcare Central Service Materiel Management (IAHCSMM). The lessons concentrate on the information and advancements of Central Service 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.


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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
Introduction: Safe patient care is the most important issue to healthcare professionals. Technology is ever-changing in the healthcare field and is often an important part of decreasing the risk of infection transmission, improving efficiency and reducing the cost of care; however, despite the benefits of new technical advancements, healthcare facilities are often slow to adopt new technology if published national standards and guidelines do not yet address them.
Introduction: Whether a CS/SP professional is new to the leadership role or is a veteran manager, it is important to take a self-imposed “time out” to reflect, review and confirm that the department’s direction remains within the scope of the facility’s and department’s mission. More importantly, this time out allows a leader to review their own conduct and how they engage with their team.
Introduction: One of the greatest responsibilities of a Central Service/Sterile Processing department leader is the growth and development of departmental employees. From the moment a new member is welcomed into the department, it is necessary for the manager to help navigate that individual through the challenges of professional growth and professional maturity.
Introduction: In 2011, the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) held a meeting to discuss issues, concerns and next steps related to improving medical device reprocessing practices in the industry. This meeting also initiated the quality improvement effort by focusing on the importance of patient safety.
Introduction: Today’s CS/SP leaders wear many hats; in some cases, before assuming the leadership role, they may previously have never worked in the CS department or had responsibility for device processing. As a result, education, training and competency have become even more critical to support departmental employees.
Introduction: Having the correct knowledge to ask the right questions – and also having the right equipment and test methods in place – is somewhat akin to having the strength and training to swim in the deep end of a pool or ocean. Without proper education and resources, one can only tread water for so long.
Introduction: Without argument, the patient is at the center of everything healthcare professionals do; every action may, in some way, affect the patient’s outcome. Just as patients have a right to safe, high quality care, healthcare professionals have the right to work in a safe environment. Certified healthcare leaders are ethically responsible for ensuring that right is protected.
Introduction: Increasingly, healthcare facilities across the country are finding themselves in the news media. Thanks to the speed of information that can be disseminated across social media and the Internet, the public is learning with greater frequency about the unforgiving truths and challenges of medical and surgical device reprocessing.
Introduction: Healthcare facilities across the country are processing millions of surgical instruments and medical devices daily. As a result, CS/SP leaders are responsible for a number of processes or steps that go into processing these devices. CS/SP leaders must ask whether their department’s processes support next steps, or whether their processes are fragmented and do not meet next step specifications.


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).

International Association of
Healthcare Central Service Materiel 
Management (IAHCSMM)

55 West Wacker Drive
Suite 501
Chicago, IL 60601
Contact Us
Toll Free: 800.962.8274
Direct: 312.440.0078
Fax: 312.440.9474