Sterile processing personnel use sterilization packaging systems to sterilize reusable medical devices and protect them from contamination until perioperative nurses deliver the items to the sterile field. The AORN “Guideline for sterilization packaging systems” provides guidance for evaluating and selecting appropriate packaging systems based on compatibility with the items to be sterilized and the sterilization method, preparing items for sterilization, and verifying achievement of sterilization parameters. This article discusses the guideline recommendations for selecting and using packaging systems and educating personnel about their use. A scenario provides an example in which a perioperative educator uses an audit tool to determine sterile processing and perioperative team members’ educational needs related to packaging systems and to evaluate the outcomes after an education session and competency verification activities. Perioperative RNs should review the entire guideline for additional information and guidance when creating and updating policies and procedures on use of sterilization packaging systems.
Key words: sterilization packaging, rigid containers, sterilization wrap, peel pouches, chemical indicators.