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Defending against infection: The critical work of an MDRT

Posted on October 26, 2020


 VCC MDRT alumnus Brandon Jhong

Think of how many times you’ve washed or sanitized your hands this year. How about phones, doorknobs, and shopping cart handles? While we do our best in everyday life to keep COVID-19 from spreading, inside a hospital, disinfection is literally a full-time job. 

Medical Device Reprocessing Technicians (MDRT) have always played a crucial, behind-the-scenes role in surgical centres, but the profession has gained more attention recently due to the demands of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sandra Swanson is the Manager of the Medical Device Reprocessing (MDR) Department for Providence Health Care and a graduate of Vancouver Community College’s (VCC) Medical Device Reprocessing Technician program. Sandra views her department as the “first line of defence” when it comes to infection control.

In order to prepare for unknown numbers of COVID-19 cases, this year, the MDRT department at Providence Health Care has taken on many tasks including purchasing additional airway instrumentation, setting up setting up “grab and go” intubation kits, establishing disinfection processes, and facilitating the development of personal protective equipment (PPE) carts.

“As demand for PPE became competitive, the reprocessing role of the MDR department was considered a strength,” says Sandra. “Demand for competent MDR technicians is really high right now.”

Additionally, as the BC Government proceeds with its plan to clear the backlog of an estimated 30,000 non-urgent surgeries from earlier this year, 59 new MDRT’s have been hired in the province since April 2020, with more recruitment expected.

A bright future 

Brandon Jhong first learned about medical device reprocessing when trying to decide on a career in health sciences. After graduating form VCC’s four-month program in 2019, Brandon started working as an MDRT at Surrey Memorial Hospital.

For Brandon, the best part of VCC’s MDRT program was the hands-on learning and supportive environment. “Through clinical practice, I saw exactly what the work environment is like,” he says.

As a new team member at Surrey Memorial, Brandon has enjoyed learning from his colleagues as well as mentoring clinical students from VCC. “Everyone is willing to share a helping hand,” he says.

Brandon is also excited about the future of his MDRT career, as more complex equipment and stricter standards are developed. “This field is constantly growing and expanding,” he says.

Learn how you can join health care’s first line of defence through VCC’s four-month Medical Device Reprocessing Technician program. 

Interested students are strongly encouraged attend a VCC information session including a working MDR department tour. To join a session, email