Aseptic Technique vs. Sterile Technique

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  • 0:02 Cleanliness in a…
  • 0:28 Aseptic Technique
  • 1:14 Sterile Technique
  • 2:35 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Ian Lord

Ian has an MBA and is a real estate investor, former health professions educator, and Air Force veteran.

In this lesson, we will briefly review the differences between aseptic technique and sterile technique. We will also focus on distinguishing the level of cleanliness required in each method.

Cleanliness in a Hospital Setting

Stacy often assists and performs duties before, during, and after surgical procedures in her job as a nurse. In this role she must be careful to observe the principles of aseptic and sterile techniques. While both of these principles are critical to ensuring patient safety, it is important that Stacy understands the subtle differences between the techniques and use the proper method for the given task.

Aseptic Technique

Many common nursing tasks that Stacy performs are completed using aseptic technique, which minimizes contamination by pathogens during medical procedures. The goal is to remove or kill microorganisms that can cause disease, but microorganisms that are beneficial or harmless are not as significant a consideration. Stacy regularly checks and changes patient bandages to ensure that potentially pathogenic body fluids don't accumulate. Services of medical equipment and the patient's body are kept clean enough to reduce the risk of disease-causing germs, but not so clean that any all foreign matter is completely absent. Blood draws and applying bandages to minor cuts require cleanliness but not a completely sterile approach.

Sterile Technique

Under certain circumstances, Stacy has to remind herself of the differences involved in using sterile technique. Sterile technique requires the removal of as many microorganisms as possible, not just the pathogenic ones. For example, any time a patient has a procedure performed in an operating room, there is a higher demand for sanitation compared to a simple office procedure such as a blood draw. Sterile technique also tries to prevent the transfer of any microorganisms that remain on equipment or surfaces.

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