Today we had the pleasure of talking with Gareth Chaplin who is a Decontamination Technician within Endoscopy Decontamination. He talked us through a day in the life of his job. Gareth deals with making sure all kinds of Endoscopes are cleaned and safe to use for scoping procedures.
We asked Gareth what his regular day looked like and he said:
“The first thing I do is wash my hands as it is important to always be clean and safe to protect our patients, staff and work environment. We start in the washroom turn on all the machines we need for the day and make sure they are all up and running and ready to be used, this includes running a thermal cycle on the washers prior to use. We receive our checklist of tasks for the day which tells us what scopes we need, where they’re needed and for what time. We then prepare these scopes by taking them from where they are stored securely and place them into trays covered with a green lid. These are then taken to where the scope will be needed. Once used we will collect and cover these trays in a red lid to show that they are contaminated. Once a scope is placed in a tray and it has to be used within a small frame of time, if unused with the specified period of time it has to be reprocessed. This is where the cleaning process begins.
We first wash the scopes in the two-part sink with a ‘clean’ and ‘dirty’ sink. Any removable parts are removed from the scope and the scope is then tested to make sure there are no faults such as checking the pressure. These are then placed in the sink which is full of warm water with washing detergent and the scopes channels are cleaned with long flossing brushes. This dislodges any contamination remaining in the channel. These channels are then pumped full of water to verify the dislodging process. The scope can then be moved into the ‘clean’ sink where the same water flushing process is carried out.
Once complete the scope is placed into the AER (washer) and then connected up to ensure every inch of the scope is cleaned. 30 minutes later the wash is complete, and the scope is taken out of the opposite side of the washing machine in the clean room. The scopes are then dried and stored in the drying cabinets until required, scopes can be stored for up to 30 days. This process is then repeated for every scope used ensuring there are always clean scopes for the benefit of the patient.”
We then asked Gareth about the best parts of his job and he told us,
“I’ve been working here for two years now and I like knowing that I have been helping out patients by contributing to their patient experience especially as I have been in their position before. I enjoy working in my team of six decontamination technicians as we all know our roles and help each other when we’re stuck. Our activities also vary we are able to be contracted to work in an off-site facility. There is also space to grow within the company as it takes time to learn about the role starting with 6 months of training and can end up as a supervisor. My first week I had no idea how things worked but now I have learned all about the job and its processes. As a result, I have grown my confidence massively both as a person and in my job and now understand more about the inner workings of a hospital which I originally never knew. It’s a great job to get into and isn’t as scary as people might think.”