3 2 S U P P L E M E N T T O O U T P A T I E N T S U R G E R Y M A G A Z I N E M A Y 2 0 1 6
terilization is an automated routine. After surgical instruments
are cleaned and decontaminated, after assembled trays are blue-
wrapped or dropped in rigid containers and placed in the auto-
clave, the steam does all the work. Or does it? To the next user,
a sterile instrument may look just like a non-sterile one. How
can they be sure that the sterilizer has done its job? Physical, chemical and bio-
logical monitoring methods go a long way toward answering that question.
When they're used correctly, sterilization assurance indicators can verify the
integrity of your sterilizer. They provide an accurate account of what has
occurred during the steam sterilization process and a confirmation that the
items in the autoclave have been exposed to conditions that effectively termi-
Making Sure It's Sterile
• SURE THING The Type 1 chemical indicator tape that seals blue-wrapped packages differentiates processed from unprocessed instruments.
Sterilization assurance shows you what you can't see.
Sharon A. Van Wicklin, MSN, RN, CNOR, CRNFA, CPSN, PLNC | Denver, Colo.