sterile field

Sterile Fields

by dewi susanti

preparing a sterile field

preparing a sterile field

A sterile field is described as an area free of microorganisms. The primary function is to keep the patient healthy and safe from infections. Common places include surgery and isolation rooms. The area is considered fully aseptic if the items and attending personnel are sterilized and free of microorganisms

Sterile Sites

The sterile field is quite definite. It covers the physical surfaces, equipment used and the attending personnel. The primary consideration is the room itself. It should be kept in very clean condition. Before a scheduled operation, especially a scheduled surgery, the attending nurses scrub the site with strong medical grade antiseptic. Additionally, when the patient is brought, there are a number of sterilized drapes set up to cordon the area. The instruments on the other hand, already sterilized, are laid down on another drape.

Sterilization Pouch

This is a specially designed pouch that can be safely run through an autoclave. The autoclave is a primary sterilization tool for killing microorganisms. The main principle used is high temperature and pressure. Rather than purchase new equipment every time for a procedure, the equipment is reused after the sterilization. The pouches are available in different sizes and designs to hold the different equipment. The tools, and drapes, are sealed in the special pouches and put in the autoclave. From hence, they are safe to use on new patients.


After sterilizing the site and the instruments, the attending personnel are required to be microorganism free. With this in mind, the personnel are supposed to scrub their hands, and then ensure that they do not touch anything else before the procedure. They are not supposed to collect any dropped surgical tools. Additional measures include specially sterilized clothing, and gloves when necessary.


A circulator is specially designated nurses who monitor the condition of the sterile field. They are normally present to monitor all the safety and health concerns in the room. This includes the state of the room, the conduct of the personnel. If they recognize possible dangerous scenarios, such as when a surgeon attempt to reuse a dropped scalpel, they classify the areas as contaminated, and ensure the room is re-sterilized. Their main additional task is to ensure that unsterilized personnel, including visitors and students keep away from the room till the procedures are over.


The benefits of a sterile field cannot be overemphasized. The primary benefit is the reduction of surgical site infections. Most procedures are invasive, and any permeation of microorganisms is very dangerous. Secondly, it ensures that the hospitals and attendants are at par with the national health policies. This reduces on chances of litigation and suing due to emanating infections that mostly lead to death. Lastly, the sterile field allows for cost effective procedures. Rather than utilize new equipment, the equipment is sterilized for reuse. Take note that surgical equipment tends to be expensive and take a large part of the allocated hospital budget.

A sterile field is only possible through co-operation between the various members of the team. As highlighted above; the benefits are far reaching and can result to detrimental results if caution is not exercised. This requires that all members play their part. However, there should be a monitoring authority to ensure adherence. This ensures that both the attendants and patients remain safe and healthy.

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