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A survey exploring the ET nursing art of wound care: Factors associated with clean versus sterile technique

Nancy Ann Faller, University of Massachusetts Amherst


Purpose. This study explored the ET nursing art of wound care focusing on factors associated with clean versus sterile technique. Wound care technique (WCT) was conceptualized as both supplies and terms used in a dressing plan. Supplies included dressing field, gloves, irrigant, irrigator, scissors, and dressings. Terms included clean (and/or no-touch) and sterile (and/or aseptic). Procedure. The Faller Wound Care Technique Survey Tool ($\sp\copyright$1996) designed and tested for this study, was employed. Participants were queried on a case study patient with a pressure ulcer from the perspective of four care settings, acute, extended, home, and outpatient. The survey was mailed to 2215 board certified ET nurses. Findings. There were 1460 responses, a return of 68.4%. While there were variations across settings, the majority (72 $\pm$ 18%) would use a sterile irrigant, irrigator, and dressings. Half (50 $\pm$ 9%) would use sterile gloves with sterile technique but only a quarter (25 $\pm$ 9%) would use sterile dressings with sterile technique. Three quarters (74 $\pm$ 16%) would save the unused irrigant and reuse the scissors. Half (54 $\pm$ 8%) would use the term clean WCT and only a tenth (7 $\pm$ 4%) would use the term sterile WCT. The terms clean and sterile were negatively associated (p = $<$0.01). The supplies used and the terms clean, sterile, and were significantly associated (p = $<$0.01). There were no associations between supplies used and the term no-touch. There were significant relationships (p = $<$0.01) between use of supplies and use of terms across care settings. The weakest relationships (r = $<$.70) were in paired care settings which included home care where participants' technique would be more lenient. WCT was not consistent with the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research Guideline's recommendation to use (only) one pair of clean gloves per patient. Greater than 86% would change gloves (or not use gloves) to apply the new dressing. Conclusions. The findings can be used as a framework for conducting experimental ET nursing research, shaping relevant ET nursing education, and evaluating everyday ET nursing practice. In addition there is the significance of cost savings for the health care system with clean WCT.

Subject Area


Recommended Citation

Faller, Nancy Ann, "A survey exploring the ET nursing art of wound care: Factors associated with clean versus sterile technique" (1998). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI9823734.