Teaching aseptic technique – applying the basics

Mandy Davidson 1

Clinical Nurse Consultant, Townsville Hospital And Health Service, Douglas, QLD, Australia


Although health professionals have learnt the theory and skills associated with aseptic technique, the application of these principles in the real world becomes blurred with the introduction of assistive technologies in time poor environments. This project aimed to develop and pilot a program whereby aseptic technique was applied in the context of vascular access.

Nurses across a regional Australian health service were invited to attend aseptic technique training. The one-hour sessions, held in the tertiary hospital’s skills centre, incorporated an explanation of the framework supporting aseptic technique, a demonstration of the technique, and practice of the skill by the attendees. The use of fluorescent powder and black light provided an immediate feedback loop.

Eighteen sessions were held; 78 staff attended. Feedback was voluntary and provided by over half of the participants. The feedback was very positive, with 83% of attendees rating the content as being excellent, and another 15% rating it as good. One participant identified the skill as being outside his scope of practice.

The National Healthcare Standards and Infection Prevention and Control Guidelines provided the foundation to create a sustainable practical education session. It was possible to incorporate vascular device access as the skill, as this is of most relevance to participants. This pilot program is now being extended to include health professionals other than nurses. The flexibility within the program will enable the transferability of aseptic technique knowledge to other aspects of patient care.

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