Guideline Implementation: Sterilization

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Volume 109, Issue 6 - June 2019
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Guideline Implementation: Sterilization

Ensuring that reusable surgical instruments and medical devices have been sterilized is an important factor in preventing surgical site infections. The sterilization method for a particular device is based on the device design, material, packaging, compatibility with the sterilant, load limitations, and safety requirements. Perioperative team members must review the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning, packaging, and sterilizing the device to determine the correct sterilization process. The AORN “Guideline for sterilization” provides guidance for processing reusable medical devices for use in perioperative and procedural settings. This article elaborates on key takeaways from the guideline, including processing a device based on the intended use of the item, protecting sterile items during transport, reprocessing by immediate-use steam sterilization when certain conditions can be met, and educating personnel who perform sterile processing activities. Perioperative RNs should review the complete guideline for additional information and for guidance when writing and updating policies and procedures.

Key words:sterilization, ​point-of-use ​treatment, ​decontamination, ​transport, ​sterile ​processing​ department.