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Surgery results in a disruption of the skin, which is the body's principal barrier against the introduction of microorganisms. Thus, the potential for infection is a major concern in the operating room as well as during preoperative and postoperative care. The sterile field is an essential protective measure as it creates a wide area of sterility between the operative site and the surrounding, unsterile environment.

This program explains the types of materials used to create the sterile field, techniques of surgical draping, and principles for maintaining the integrity of the sterile field during the operative procedure.

To complete this course, you must do the following:

  • Read the Overview and Course Objectives.
  • Study the Terminology.
  • Read the course material.
  • Complete the Learning Activity.
  • Complete the Post Test with a score of 80% or more.

    The material is organized around the following categories:

  • Introduction
  • Materials Used to Prepare the Sterile Field
  • Preparing the Sterile Field
  • Draping the Patient
  • Plastic Incisional Drapes
  • The Four-towel Method
  • Maintaining the Integrity of the Sterile Field
  • Documentation
  • Conclusion

    The purpose of this program is to provide nurses an understanding of the principles of establishing and maintaining a sterile field between an operative site and the surrounding unsterile environment.

    After completing this course, the learner should be able to:

  • Discuss the principles for effectively preparing a sterile field, and explain what to do if sterility is questionable.
  • Demonstrate how to protect your sterile hands while draping tables and stands, and identify when to drape the patient.
  • Discuss the basic principles for maintaining surgical asepsis.
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    Preparing and Maintaining the Surgical Field Online course
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