Surgical site infections (SSIs) are some of the most common and costly health care–associated infections. Although the rate of SSIs has declined significantly in the past decade, patient safety remains at risk. Perioperative nurses employ a variety of evidence- based best practices to prevent SSIs and facilitate a safe surgical experience for their patients, including hand hygiene, preoperative patient skin antisepsis, and antimicrobial irrigation. This article explores the causes of SSIs, such as modifiable and nonmodifiable patient factors and preoperative, intraoperative, and postoperative procedural factors, and discusses some of the specific recommended strategies related to the prevention of SSIs that perioperative nurses can initiate in their workplace.
Key words: surgical site infection, health care–associated infection, surgical skin antisepsis, procedural factors, contamination.