TAFE NSW is continuing to build a pipeline of skilled workers to meet the demand for sterilisation services across the country as COVID-19 continues to impact healthcare services and an Ulladulla resident taking part in the program.
Elizabeth Grist is a shining example of putting theory into practice, since completing a Certificate III in Sterilisation Services online with TAFE NSW.
"My employer at Ulladulla Endoscopy and Medical Centre was keen for me do this course so that I had the practical skills and experience to ramp up our sterilisation services to protect ourselves, patients and communities from viral and infectious cross-contamination,: she said.
"While studying online with TAFE Digital, I was quickly able to take on more responsibilities and with the reprocessing of instruments and chemically disinfecting reusable endoscopes and other medical devices in the Central Supply Department."
Vice President of the Sterilising Research and Advisory Council of Australia NSW branch and Sterilising Services Manager at St George Hospital, David Bellamy, is employed by TAFE NSW to ensure that sterilisation students, like Ms Gist, have access to training in current industry practices to provide the critical services that the healthcare sector requires.
To date Australia has recorded over 7,834 COVID-19 infections, with NSW reporting more than 3,189.
Australia has taken the lead in many instances to quarantine the spread of the pandemic, with over 2,455,982 tests carried out.
Mr Bellamy said that hospitals rely on sterilisation services to protect staff and patients and the importance of these critical services has been highlighted now, more than ever before.
"TAFE NSW is ensuring that technicians can pivot from providing a typical service to patients requiring surgery and procedures, to protecting themselves, front-line staff and the entire facility to mitigate the risks of spreading the virus through different modes of transmission and cross-contamination," Mr Bellamy said.
Mr Bellamy has been broadcasting live demonstrations from the state-of-the-art sterilisation facilities at TAFE NSW Kingswood and from the Sterilising Services Department at St George Hospital.
The online classes demonstrate the inner workings of a sterilisation unit and provide students with real-time interactions with technicians with over 20 years' experience.
He is also a committee member of the Federal SRACA and Hospital Associated Infection (HAI) Reprocessing Advisory Committee, part of the Clinical Excellence Commission.