Chapter 1: Infection Prevention and Control

1.7 Surgical Hand Scrub, Applying Sterile Gloves, and Preparing a Sterile Field

Critical Thinking Exercises: Questions, Answers, and Sources / References

Critical thinking questions are in bold type, and the answers are italicized. Additional resources or references are provided below.

  1. When preparing a sterile field, is the first flap opened toward or away from the healthcare provider?

The first flap of a sterile field is opened away from the healthcare provider (HCP) to reduce the amount of time the HCP works over top of the field, which reduces risk of contamination.


2. Name two reasons for performing hand hygiene before and after applying sterile gloves.

Hand hygiene is performed before applying sterile gloves to reduce risk of micro-organisms. Sterile gloves are not 100% impermeable, and as such there is risk that micro-organisms can transfer from the HCP’s hands to the patient even when sterile gloves are used.

Hand hygiene after removal of sterile gloves removes the powder (if used in the sterile gloves) and reduces any micro-organisms on the hands that may have resulted from contamination from the patient or left over from before the sterile gloves were applied.


Perry, A. G., Potter, P. A., & Ostendorf, W. R. (2017). Clinical nursing skills and techniques (9th ed.). Elsevier; Mosby.