Welcome to the new Outpatient Surgery website! Check out our login FAQs.
Infection Prevention
Can You Spot the Error of Their Ways?
Susan McCann
Publish Date: June 10, 2008   |  Tags:   Infection Prevention

Like most bad habits, infection control errors are easy to commit, hard to correct and sometimes difficult to detect. Little breaches can have disastrous consequences, such as not wearing personal protective equipment or not securing the tips of sharps when laying them out on a tray.

See if your eye is trained and vigilant enough to spot the poor infection control practices in the following 10 pictures, as staged by our staff at the Gainesville Surgery Center.

Contaminated Gown

DID YOU NOTICE? Her dangling mask tie is contaminating the front of her gown.
AORN SAYS: Scrubbed persons should function within a sterile field. The front of the gown is considered sterile from chest to the level of the sterile field.

Unsecured Patient

DID YOU NOTICE? The patient's safety strap is not secured.
AORN SAYS: Identify potential hazards associated with patient transport or transfer activities and establish safe practices. Protective devices such as safety straps should promote safety and help prevent injury to patients.

Needlestick Injury

DID YOU NOTICE? The staff member's hand is inside a sharps disposal box.
AORN SAYS: Staff should never place their hands or fingers into a sharps container to dispose of or retrieve a device.

No Drinking in the OR

DID YOU NOTICE? The staff member's dangling jewelry, no gloves and the soda can.
AORN SAYS: All personnel entering the semi-restricted and restricted areas of the surgical suite should confine or remove all jewelry and watches. Rings can harbor organisms that cannot be removed during hand washing. Other jewelry, such as bracelets and earrings, should be removed or totally confined within the scrub attire. Work practices must be designed to minimize risk of exposure to pathogens. Food and drink should not be present in the restricted and semi-restricted areas of the surgical suite.

Too Close to the Sterile Field

DID YOU NOTICE? The RN circulator's jacket is touching the sterile field.
AORN SAYS: All items introduced to a sterile field should be opened, dispensed and transferred by methods that maintain the item's sterility and integrity. Present sterile items to the scrubbed person in a manner that prevents non-sterile objects or people from extending over the sterile field.


DID YOU NOTICE? The staff member is facing you.
AORN SAYS: All personnel moving within or around a sterile field should do so in a manner that maintains the field's integrity. Therefore, scrubbed personnel should always be facing the sterile field.

Tray of Exposed Sharps

DID YOU NOTICE? The sharp and unprotected points.
AORN SAYS: Personnel must take precautions to prevent injuries caused by needles, scalpels and other sharp instruments.

Where's the Protective Equipment?

DID YOU NOTICE? The staff member isn't wearing gloves or other protective equipment — no impervious apron, gloves or protective eyewear.
AORN SAYS: Personnel should wear personal protective equipment when decontaminating instruments.

Use One Hand

DID YOU NOTICE? The nurse is recapping an unlabeled syringe.
AORN SAYS: To avoid sharps injuries, use a one-handed technique when recapping. Also, managing medications on the sterile field means labeling all delivery devices with the names of their agents as well as their strengths and concentrations.


DID YOU NOTICE? The staff member has bare hands.
AORN SAYS: Protective barriers must be used to reduce the risk of skin and mucous membrane exposure. In this situation, gloves would be effective barriers against infectious materials.