c. Infection is spread from patient to patient, from hospital personnel to patient
and, from unsterile equipment to patient. An effective infection control program aims to
reduce the number of infections and to control sources of infection. Many sources
contaminate. They include the skin of patients, hospital personnel or visitors; hair; nose
and mouth (talking, coughing, or sneezing); fomites (contaminated particles on
inanimate objects such as furniture, walls, equipments, instruments); and air. Unsterile
equipment given to a patient is most likely to originate in CMS. Infection control is
taking the knowledge of where the sources of infection are and doing whatever is
necessary to prevent the spread of infection.
1-19. PRINCIPLES OF STERILE TECHNIQUE
Subcourse MD0935, Routine Procedures for an Operation, focuses on the
principles of sterile technique. A review of these principles will be useful for a good
understanding of the procedures you need to know in CMS to produce sterile supplies
and equipment. Sterile, as used here, is defined as "free of organisms."
a. Only sterile items are used within a sterile field.
b. Gowns are sterile only from the waist to shoulder level in front, and the
c. Tables are sterile only at tabletop level.
d. Unsterile persons avoid reaching over a sterile field; sterile persons avoid
leaning over an unsterile area.
e. The edges of anything that encloses sterile contents are considered unsterile.
f. A sterile field is created as close as possible to the time of use.
g. Sterile areas are continuously kept in view.
h. Sterile persons keep well within the sterile area.
Unsterile persons avoid sterile areas.
j. The integrity (sterility) of an item can be destroyed by puncture, moisture, or
k. The number of microorganisms must be kept to the smallest amount possible.