Core Performance Standards

The Surgical Processing Technician program at Berkeley College prepares students to become surgical processing technicians in healthcare settings. Students are provided with the knowledge and skills needed to receive and process supplies and equipment from operating rooms and nursing units throughout the hospital. The role of the surgical processing technician is demanding. Indicated below are several examples of the scope of practice, roles, and competencies that surgical processing technicians may encounter.

The School of Health Studies is committed to providing reasonable accommodation in its academic programs to qualified individuals with disabilities, including but not limited to learning disabilities. A reasonable accommodation is one that does not require a fundamental alteration to the nature of the program or lower academic and/or clinical standards.

Throughout the program, students must be able to perform in a reasonably independent and timely manner that does not affect the quality of care, the safety of patients or other individuals, and in a way that does not adversely affect the School of Health Studies, clinical affiliates, or any member of the healthcare team.

Students must be able to meet all of the performance standards outlined below, with or without reasonable accommodation, in order to be admitted and progress in the program. Individuals requiring accommodations while enrolled in the program are encouraged to speak with a representative of the College’s Office of Accessibility Services before enrolling in clinical and/or laboratory courses. These core performance standards are required skills in order to render safe care while in the clinical setting.

Some chronic or recurrent illnesses and problems could interfere with safety, and may be incompatible with surgical processing technician education and practice, since they may lead to a higher chance of absences. Surgical processing technician students are not required to disclose any chronic or recurrent illness and/or disability; however, students with concerns about meeting these technical standards are strongly encouraged to discuss the issues with the Department Chair and/or the Office of Accessibility Services. Deficiencies in knowledge, skills, judgments, integrity, or professional attitude may jeopardize patient safety and, as a result, may be grounds for course failure and possible dismissal from the Surgical Processing Technician program.

Students must have the aptitude and abilities in six areas: sensory ability and skills; fine and gross motor skills; strength, mobility, and physical endurance; the ability to communicate, comprehend, read, and write in English; behavioral stability; and cognitive ability and critical thinking skills. Possessing proficient communicative, auditory, and visual skills are required.

It is the student’s responsibility to understand the duties, responsibilities, skills, and abilities required to be a surgical processing technician. In addition to the technical standards described above, students are encouraged to review the information regarding medical equipment preparers at the O*NET website.

The following list is not meant to be all-inclusive, but instead it offers examples of required activities. Students are encouraged to review the standards carefully; if there are any questions or concerns, they should be discussed with the Chair of the Allied Health – Surgical Department and/or the Office of Accessibility Services.

Core Performance Standards

  • Visual abilities, correctable to normal ranges, including close vision, distance vision, depth perception, and color perception sufficient to reliably distinguish color-coded instruments and supplies
  • Stand and/or walk for extended periods of time
  • Continuously bend, squat, and stoop to process instruments, supplies, and equipment
  • Lift instrument sets weighing up to 20 pounds
  • Demonstrate manual dexterity to process microsurgical instruments
  • Push and/or pull carts weighing up to 100 pounds
  • Withstand continuous, controlled exposure to contaminants including blood and body fluids
  • Withstand continuous, controlled exposure to hazardous supplies such as cleaning and disinfecting solutions and sterilization agents
  • Hear activation/warning signals on equipment
  • Detect odors sufficient to maintain environmental safety and patient needs
  • Ambulate/move around without assistive devices
  • Communicate effectively, both verbally and nonverbally, with other medical staff personnel
  • Follow oral and written instructions and procedures
  • Use independent judgment
  • Maintain accurate records and prepare detailed reports
  • Perform all laboratory and clinical skills within a pre-established timeframe that ensures safe patient care