Berkeley Today Stories
Surgical Processing Technician Alumna Finds Work at Transplant Foundation Rewarding
Walking through the hallways of the Musculoskeletal Transplant Foundation (MTF) building in Edison, NJ, Najiba Bahary is reminded of the important role her company plays in changing lives. Photos displayed along the walls feature transplant recipients as well as those who selflessly donated bone and tissue.
“It is so rewarding to work for this company. Everyone here understands that what they do is very important,” said Ms. Bahary, a Sterile Technician in the Central Services Department at MTF and a 2015 graduate of the Surgical Processing Technician program at Berkeley College.
The MTF is a nonprofit service organization dedicated to providing quality tissue through a commitment to excellence in education, research, recovery, and care for recipients, donors, and their families. Since its inception in 1987, MTF has recovered tissue from more than 115,000 donors and distributed more than seven million grafts for transplantation.
Katherine Centanni, Manager of Central Services at MTF, refers to her department as the “heart of operations.” The Central Services team provides continuous support to processing departments by ensuring that instrumentation and supplies are properly processed and safe for use.
Many Berkeley Graduates on the MTF Central Services Team
Ms. Bahary, who is a Certified Registered Central Service Technician (CRCST), is one of more than a dozen Berkeley graduates in the last four-plus years to have been placed into positions in the Central Services Department at MTF by the Berkeley College Career Services Department.
Ms. Centanni said that Berkeley graduates make a good fit for her team because most obtain CRCST certification along with their diplomas and they are passionate about their chosen field.
“Berkeley graduates have completed an internship in a hospital setting that provides valuable hands-on experience; they understand the fundamentals of instrument decontamination, including preparation, packing, and sterilization,” Ms. Centanni added.
Internship Helped Student Decide on Career Path
After serving her internship at University Hospital in Newark, Ms. Bahary knew that she would prefer to work in a more intimate setting.
“Interning in a hospital was a great experience and it made me realize that I would prefer to work as part of a smaller team with more responsibility,” Ms. Bahary said.
She turned down a few job offers from hospitals following graduation, choosing instead to work for MTF. She has never regretted her decision.
“It’s a challenging job with a lot of responsibility,” Ms. Bahary said. “We are in charge of very different aspects within the company – working in decontamination, operating the autoclave, and removal of biowaste.”
Her advice to new students thinking about enrolling in the Surgical Processing Technician program is to “go for it.” She describes it as an “awesome program that helps you get a foot in the door of the medical profession.”
“You can always move up from there,” Ms. Bahary said. “Sterile technicians at my company can advance to the position of supervisor, and after one year the company offers the opportunity to continue your education. That’s definitely something I am looking to do.”