PRINCIPLES OF STERILE TECHNIQUE
The principles of Sterile Technique are applied in various ways. If the principle itself is
understood the applications of it become obvious. Strict aseptic technique is needed at all times
in the Operating Room.
1. All articles used in an operation have been sterilized previously.
2. Persons who are sterile touch only sterile articles; persons who are not sterile touch only
3. Sterile persons avoid leaning over an unsterile area; non-sterile persons avoid reaching
over a sterile field. Unsterile persons do not get closer than 12 inches from a sterile field.
4. If in doubt about the sterility of anything consider it not sterile. If a non-sterile person
brushes close consider yourself contaminated.
5. Gowns are considered sterile only from the waist to shoulder level in front and the
sleeves to 2 inches above the elbows.
a. Keep hands in sight or above waist level away from the face.
b. Arms should never be folded.
c. Articles dropped below waist level are discarded.
6. Sterile persons keep well within the sterile area and follow those rules from passing:
a. Face to face or back to back.
b. Turn back to a non-sterile person or when passing.
c. Face a sterile area when passing the area.
d. Ask a non-sterile person to step aside rather than trying to crowd past him.
e. Step back away from the sterile field to sneeze or cough.
f. Turn head away from sterile field to have perspiration mopped from brow.
g. Stand back at a safe distance from the operating table when draping the patient.
h. Members of the sterile team remain in the operating room if waiting for the case.
DO NOT wander around the room or go out in the corridors.
7. Sterile persons keep contact with sterile areas to a minimum.
a. Do not lean on the sterile tables or on the draped patient.
b. Do not lean on the nurse's mayo tray.
8. Non-sterile persons -- when you are observing a case, please stay in the room until the
case is completed. Do not wander from room to room as traffic in the operating room
should be kept as a minimum. ** Patient privacy needs to be respected.
9. Keep non-essential conversation to a minimum.
10. The circulating nurse is in charge of the room -- if you have any questions, please refer
them to her, the supervisor or your instructor. Ask circulator when it is an appropriate
time to ask questions so that explanations/rationale can be given