Date of Award


Degree Name

PhD Nursing

Dissertation Committee

Joseph F. Burkard, DNSc, CRNA, Chairperson; Jane M. Georges, PhD, RN, Committee Member; Evangeline Howard, PhD, RN, Committee Member


sterile processing; reusable medical devices, surgical instruments, surgical instrumentations, knowledge, attitude, practice


Background: Decontamination of reusable medical instruments (RMDs) is today’s top eight patient safety concern (ECRI, 2018). Many healthcare organizations continue to be non-compliant on decontamination of RMD standards.

Purpose and Aims: The purpose of this study is to explore the issue consistent to the improper and inadequate decontamination of reusable medical devices. There are two aims of this study: 1) explore the knowledge, attitude, and practice of sterile processing technicians (SPT) and end-users, OR RNs and STs, on the decontaminating reusable medical devices and 2) if present, identify the barriers or facilitators in decontaminating reusable medical devices as perceived by SPTs and end-users.

Methods: The study design is a descriptive qualitative study using Charmaz (2014) grounded theory method. Sample size is SPTs (n=13) and end-users (n=13). Participants were recruited locally and via the internet. Theoretical and purposive sampling were done. Semi-structured interviews were conducted and qualitative Reflection Note were completed by participants

Results: Three facilitators were found to influence the domains: knowledge, attitude, and practice: (a) availability of resources, (b) role awareness towards patient care, and (c) team cohesiveness.

Implications: OR RNs to improve their knowledge so that they can become better liaisons and facilitators to a better relationship between Operating Room staff and Sterile Processing staff. Healthcare leaders to improve workplace environment for SPTs and end-users to increase team cohesiveness. To promote more research on this topic as research is scarce on this topic.

Document Type

Dissertation: USD Users Only