Certification can propel one’s career, which is why AHE is announcing a new certification program: the Certified Healthcare Environmental Services Technician (CHEST). The program is being created for environmental services technicians, with an overarching goal to improve outcomes for the patient, department, facility and community.

Value in health care delivery

Very few would deny the positive impact skilled front-line staff have on the patient’s experience, satisfaction and, potentially, clinical outcomes. However, they also can have an impact on a facility’s bottom line. A well-trained and skilled environmental services team can positively affect a patient’s perception of care and how they might rate their satisfaction on a survey — elements that can influence an organization’s reimbursement. Certification could help to lower staff turnover, as well. By encouraging engagement, organizations can increase retention levels, directly affecting labor costs.

CHEST curriculum development

The CHEST certification program is being structured around infection prevention, emotional intelligence, effective communication, value-driven care and evidence-based cleaning protocols.

AHE is working with subject matter experts (SMEs) and environmental services leaders from across the country and all care settings to be key contributors in the development of the program.

Over the coming months, AHE will develop a top-rated certification program, complete with job aides, participant guidebooks, multimedia, case studies and authentic assessments. The program is based on the train-the-trainer model, in which AHE will leverage the expertise of environmental services leaders and SMEs.

The first session will be held in September in Grapevine, Texas, as a pre-conference workshop during AHE's EXCHANGE event. AHE will offer two additional workshops — one on the East Coast and one on the West Coast — later in the fall. The cost to register for a workshop is $950 per health care trainer. There is an additional cost for certification materials.

Certified technicians who have their technical knowledge and skills affirmed, validated and accepted will be viewed as a vital part of the health care delivery team. On a broader level, the hope is that CHEST certification will be the impetus for creating well-defined career paths for environmental services technicians.

Join us at EXCHANGE 2015, where we will officially unveil this exciting new program. For more information, visit www.ahe.org/ahe/lead/CHEST/chest_home.shtml.

Sandra Rials is the director of education for the Association for the Healthcare Environment. She has more than 15 years of experience in training and education.

Valuable resources available from AHE

AHE represents, defines and advances the professionals responsible for care of the health care environment to ensure high-quality outcomes and healthy communities. The following resources can be found at www.ahe.org/ahe/learn/tools_and_resources/publications.shtml.

Recommended Practice Series: Environmental Services Equipment and Supplies. The equipment and supplies covered in this booklet are essential, discrete components of safe, efficient and productive environmental services operations.

• Practice Guidance for Healthcare Environmental Cleaning, second edition. This manual provides evidence-based research, guidance and recommended practices that should be considered for inclusion in health care environmental services departments. Because each health care facility has its own needs, this resource has been designed to enhance an existing program.

Environmental Sustainability Certificate Program

AHE has launched a new certificate program to acknowledge the ongoing and outstanding environmental and ecological sustainability efforts of environmental services departments. For more on the Environmental Sustainability Certificate Program, go to www.ahe.org/ahe/lead/environmental_sustainability_certificate_program.shtml.