Aseptic technique


Aseptic technique is the procedure performed by healthcare clinicians to reduce the risk of transmission of microorganisms from hands, surfaces, or equipment, to a susceptible site on a patient. It is an essential clinical skill to prevent the spread of infection.

This module provides a detailed guide on how to perform aseptic technique in any healthcare setting. It is based on the Australian Guidelines for Prevention and Control of Infection in Healthcare, released by the National Health and Medical Research Council in May 2019.

The updated guidelines include:

  • A clear distinction between ‘sterile technique’ and ‘aseptic technique’
  • Removal of ‘Aseptic Non-Touch Technique’ registered trademark terminology and transition to ‘aseptic technique’ (non-touch technique remains an integral part of aseptic technique)
  • A recommendation to wear sterile gloves during aseptic procedures when ‘key parts’ will be touched
  • A distinction between the three types of aseptic fields: general aseptic fields, critical micro aseptic fields, and critical aseptic fields
  • Updated guidelines on indications for standard versus surgical asepsis, including length and complexity of procedure and practitioner expertise
  • Updated information on cleaning and reprocessing of reusable medical equipment, including recommendations for cleaning non-critical reusable items between patient use
Learning Objectives

At the end of this module participants will be able to:

  • Understand the difference between healthcare environments based on exposure to microorganisms.
  • Define aseptic technique.
  • Identify the key features of the two types of aseptic technique: standard and surgical aseptic technique.
  • Describe the five components of aseptic technique including: hand hygiene, non-touch technique and the use of sterile and non-sterile gloves, maintaining an aseptic field, use of single use sterilised equipment, cleaning and reprocessing of reusable equipment to meet aseptic standards.

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