Login Join/Renew

Hand Hygiene in the Perioperative Setting


Hand hygiene, including hand washing and surgical hand scrubs, is the most effective way to prevent and control infections and represent the least expensive means of achieving both. Prevention of health care-associated infections is a priority of all health care personnel. Health care-associated infections can result in untoward outcomes such as escalating cost of care, increased morbidity and mortality, longer length of stay, as well as the pain and suffering a patient may experience.

The term hand hygiene is used to describe all measures related to hand condition and decontamination. Decontamination of hands can be done by one or more methods:

  • hand washing using:

    • soap and water,
    • antiseptic and water, or
    • antiseptic hand rub if visible soil is not present; or
  • surgical hand scrub using:

    • water-aided brushless surgical antiseptics;
    • waterless, brushless surgical antiseptics; or
    • traditional surgical hand scrub using a sponge.


This activity will teach perioperative nurses to optimize patient care practices through proper hand hygiene to help prevent and control infections.


  • Describe the most effective hand hygiene methods to prevent infections during surgery.

  • Describe competency assessment for effective hand hygiene in the perioperative setting.

  • Describe policy development for effective hand hygiene in the perioperative setting.

Course Requirements

To receive 1 contact hour for this course, you must achieve mastery of the content and submit an evaluation as instructed at the end of the course. This course contains 34 questions.

Contact Hours

The 1 contact hour for this course expires June 30, 2016.


AORN is accredited as a provider of continuing nursing education by the American Nurses Credentialing Center's Commission on Accreditation.

AORN is Provider approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing, Provider Number CEP 13019.


This program is approved for 1 hour of AEU credit by BASC provider #0102


AORN recognizes these activities as continuing education for registered nurses. This recognition does not imply that AORN or the American Nurses Credentialing Center approves or endorses products mentioned in the activity.

Guidelines for Perioperative Practice


News & Events