Opening a Sterile Pack (Nursing)

by Samantha Rhea, MSN, RN

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    00:04 Let's talk about opening a sterile pack.

    00:07 This is typically going to look at something like opening a sterile gauze, for example, or opening a sterile instrument.

    00:14 Now first of all, we're going to perform hand hygiene first and foremost.

    00:18 Then we're going to take our item.

    00:20 Typically there on the top are little unsealed edges, we're going to grasp the package and pull those apart.

    00:27 Now once we do that, we're going to hold that pack open and we're going to expose that sterile item.

    00:33 So the exposed sterile item is meant to be handed over to the surgical team or maybe someone performing a sterile procedure or gently dropped onto the sterile field.

    00:50 Let's take a look at opening a sterile item.

    00:53 So typically, when we open a sterile item, we're doing this because we're going to either have to open and hand over that sterilize them to maybe someone doing a procedure or a nurse during procedure or we may have to take that sterile item and drop it onto a sterile field to add to the equipment.

    01:11 Now, before we get started, let's do our hand hygiene.

    01:14 And while I do this, I want to make sure I maintain eye contact and not leave my sterile field so I can make sure no one's came in bothered it and nothing's falling on that sterile field.

    01:26 Now that I've done my hand hygiene, I'm going to show you how to take a sterile item, open that and drop it on my field.

    01:34 So now I've got my gauze sponge, for example, and it's sterile because it's enclosed in a package.

    01:40 Now one thing to know about a lot of sterile items, it's really nice because it may have a little arrow up here like on the top that shows you where you can peel.

    01:51 So one other thing to note is notice that I don't have any gloves on.

    01:54 This may make you a little nervous.

    01:56 But because we are not touching anything inside this sterile item, we can do this, this is acceptable.

    02:04 So when we are taking our sterile item.

    02:07 There's the unsealed edges, I'm going to take my thumbs and kind of align it on that and open that up and kind of peel it like a banana if you would.

    02:17 So now this is open.

    02:18 And for this, I can drop this on my sterile field.

    02:21 So I'm going to take this item, turn this over and drop it on my sterile field.

    02:28 So I want you to note a few things.

    02:31 I did not drop it way up here, right? That's important because I don't want the sterile item to bounce out of my sterile field.

    02:40 The other thing to note is that once I dropped it in, I was really mindful of my 1-inch border that it did not hit that because remember, the one inch border is not sterile.

    02:52 So where I've placed this, this is inside my sterile field and ready to use.

    02:58 So I just showed you how to open a sterile item onto a sterile field.

    03:03 Now you may be in a situation where you just need to hand that item over and I'm going to show you how to do that.

    03:09 So we're going to take our gauze.

    03:11 And remember the outside of this is not sterile, so I can use no gloves at this point.

    03:16 We're just not touching what's inside.

    03:19 Alright, so I'm going to take these unsealed edges, I kind of like to align my thumb's with the flaps, we're going to peel back like a banana and be really conscious of not touching our skin.

    03:30 Then we're allowed to hand this over to another nurse or a physician, for example, performing a sterile procedure.

    03:37 So one thing to keep a note, when I open this, remember sterile to sterile, so when I hand this over to someone, they will be wearing sterile gloves to use this item.

    About the Lecture

    The lecture Opening a Sterile Pack (Nursing) by Samantha Rhea, MSN, RN is from the course Sterile Field and Sterile Gloving (Nursing).

    Included Quiz Questions

    1. The student performs hand hygiene before opening the package.
    2. The student peels the package open using the unsealed edges.
    3. The student drops the gauze from the package onto the sterile field.
    4. The student rips the package open from the bottom.
    5. The student uses clean gloves to remove the gauze from the package and places it on the sterile field.
    1. The nurse can ask a colleague to get a sterile abdominal pad and open the package so that the nurse can grab the pad with their sterile gloves.
    2. The nurse can ask a colleague to hand them an abdominal pad with clean gloves.
    3. The nurse can leave the client temporarily to go and get an abdominal pad.
    4. The nurse can ask a colleague to go and get an abdominal pad. Then the nurse can open the package with their sterile gloves.

    Author of lecture Opening a Sterile Pack (Nursing)

     Samantha Rhea, MSN, RN

    Samantha Rhea, MSN, RN

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