When should we wash our hands in the perioperative setting?
Your hands should be washed:
- Upon entering the perioperative setting
- Before and after every patient contact (contact in this situation is interpreted as an exposure to a patient and not each time you touch a patient)
- Before putting on or after removing gloves or other personal protective equipment
- Any time there has been contact with blood or other potentially infectious materials
- Before and after eating
- Before and after using the restroom
- Before leaving the health care facility
- When hands are visibly soiled
- Recommended practices for hand hygiene in the perioperative setting. In: Perioperative Standards and Recommended Practices. Denver, CO: AORN, Inc; 2013:63-74.
Updated January 28, 2013.
Can nail polish be worn by personnel in the operating room?
Nail polish that is unchipped may be worn by staff in the operating room. Studies have demonstrated that nail polish begins to harbor microorganisms when it is chipped or worn more than four days. In the event of a glove tear or perforation, the health care practitioner's chipped nail polish could potentially go into the surgical wound. Chipped nail polish should be removed to prevent contamination of the environment or the patient.
Recommended practices for hand hygiene in the perioperative setting. In: Perioperative Standards and Recommended Practices. Denver, CO: AORN, Inc; 2013:63-74.
Updated January 28, 2013
Can healthcare personnel wear gel or shellac nail polish in the perioperative setting?
Gel and shellac nail polish should not be worn in the perioperative setting. Due to the lack of evidence on these types of nail polish, and their chemical similarities to artificial nail compounds, an abundance of caution should be taken until research evidence on gel and shellac nail polish is available and demonstrates their safety.
Wood, A, & Van Wicklin, S. Ultraviolet (UV)-cured nail polish. [Clinical Issues]. AORN Journal. 2015;101(6):701-708.
Updated July 10, 2015
Can artificial nails be worn by personnel in the operating room?
Artificial nails should not be worn in the perioperative environment. Any nail other than a natural nail is considered artificial. Artificial nails are defined as any fingernail enhancement, resin bonding, extensions, tips, gels, or acrylics. Studies have shown higher microbial counts under artificial nails than under natural nails before and after hand washing.
Updated June 12, 2015
Does the first surgical hand scrub of the day have to be soap and water before using surgical hand rub products?
A standardized surgical hand scrub with a soap (antimicrobial agent), nonabrasive sponge, and water does not have to be the first surgical hand scrub of the day before an alcohol-based surgical hand rub product is used, unless it is recommended in the manufacturer's instructions for use. The surgical hand scrub reduces the transient and resident flora of the hands, which also may reduce health care-associated infections. A standardized surgical hand scrub using an alcohol-based hand rub product will decrease transient and resident flora on the hands. Hand washing does however need to be performed before the first surgical hand scrub of the day.
Ogg, MJ. First surgical hand scrub of the day. [Clinical Issues]. AORN Journal. 2011;93(3):397-398.
Updated June 12, 2015