CAREER ADVANCEMENT: NETWORKING & EDUCATION AT THE REGIONAL LEVEL

As more and more hospitals recognize that the key to successful patient outcomes rely on the ‘behind the scenes’ aspects of healthcare service delivery, new emphasis is being placed on the sterile processing and supply chain functions.  In order to advance, people in these functions need to be better prepared than ever and stay up to date on changes in their field.

One way to continue career growth is to get involved with the established associations dedicated to healthcare experts. IAHCSMM (the International Association of Healthcare Central Service Material Management) and AHRMM (the Association for Healthcare Resource & Materials Management) are two such organizations that offer resources, education and networking opportunities for advancement-minded healthcare professionals.

While these organizations host large annual expos and conferences, they also provide opportunities for career building closer to home.  Both IAHCSMM and AHRMM have robust chapter programs that provide leadership opportunities, education and networking at the regional level.  While the big national conferences are popular, local chapter meetings (which typically occur monthly or quarterly) are often an easier way to stay current in the industry.

Getting involved in chapter activities is a great way to share best practices and associate with like-minded professionals.  One SPD manager stated that, “At my hospital, I always feel like it’s us against the world.  My local IAHCSMM chapter gives me access to people who are living through the same issues as me—and we all help each other.”

Most chapter meetings begin with a networking period, where people can informally meet up and chat.  Most meetings also have an educational component, with an informed speaker sharing information on trends, technologies or techniques.  As an additional benefit, many of these sessions provide continuing education credits towards professional certifications.

Besides the benefits of networking and education, local chapter events often provide the ability to talk to various vendors in a more relaxed setting—away from the always hectic demands of the hospital.  Vendors who support local chapters are demonstrating their support for the advancement of the profession and can take the time to get to know you and your hospital’s specific needs.  Often, this leads to mutually beneficial business relationships.

Supply chain and sterile processing managers and technicians need to have a way to stay current on the latest trends and advancements in healthcare.  Getting involved at the local level with a professional association is a great way to achieve this goal and continue your personal career development.

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