Interview with Damien Berg – Sterile Processing Expert, Candidate for IAHCSMM President
I recently had a chance to sit down with Damien Berg. Damien is the Manager of Sterile Processing at St. Anthony Hospital in Colorado, and he is running for IAHCSMM President-Elect in this year’s election. As the election is already underway, I wanted to sit down with Damien to understand his platform and interest in sterile processing. Following are some key points from the discussion.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your background in sterile processing?
I have extensive experience in the sterile processing field from being a combat medic for 21 years, scrub technician, sterile processing technician, lean processing improvement coach and Sterile Processing Manager. I live in Colorado with my wife, step son and my fuzzy son Finnegan (Puggle). I processed my first instrument at the age of 18 and truly caught the “Sterile Processing Bug” more than 11 years ago when I helped open a new hospital and new sterile processing department. It was then that I found my passion for sterile processing.
What drew you to sterile processing, and why have you spent your entire career in the industry?
I was drawn to the Sterile Processing profession because of the impact we have on keeping patients safe. We are the gatekeepers of protecting our patients from infections. Additionally, watching our profession grow over the years and seeing the level of the complexity and change in surgical instruments is another reason I have stayed in the profession. I truly believe this is a calling and want to work to make this profession better for all sterile processing technicians.
What are some of the bigger improvements you have seen in sterile processing over the last few years?
Sterile processing has become more recognized in the last few years; however, we still have a long way to go. We need to have our profession better understood by others in the healthcare world along with the general public. This can be accomplished by having better training programs and a seat at the table when decisions are made that impact our departments. We are now being seen as the “tip of the spear” when it comes to infection control and patient outcomes. This is a never-ending journey but we are making great strides and I am excited for our future.
What are some of the biggest challenges you see for your peers in the next few years?
Traveling and meeting my peers across the country has been invaluable with providing me feedback on the real world day-to-day challenges that face our profession. Of course, managing a large department, I too experience and see the challenges we must address in the next few years.
The overall theme is staffing, education / training, certification and the ability to understand the changing healthcare model. While these are not universal or all-encompassing, they are having a huge impact on the profession. I want to help our profession overcome these challenges.
Why did you decide to run for IAHCSMM President-Elect in 2017?
I served my country for 21 years in the military. I did that to be part of something bigger than myself. I am running for the President-Elect of IAHCSMM for the same reasons. I believe what our profession does is honorable and to serve as President-Elect would be a part of something bigger than myself. It is for our technicians and our future that I want to give my passion and my dedication to as your next President-Elect.
What would you make sure to accomplish with IAHCSMM during your term in office?
My goals for IAHCSMM will continue to be based off of 4 main pillars which will continue to set up our profession for success long after my term is up.
- Promoting educational excellence
- Promoting excellence within our profession and IAHCSMM chapters
- Partnering for success with other professional organizations
- Becoming the leader and voice for Central Service / Sterile Processing worldwide
Any last words for IAHCSMM members who may not have cast their ballot yet?
Now is the time to VOTE, we all have a voice and we must vote for our professional future.
“Power of a Voice”