A nurse is preparing a sterile field for a client who is having a central venous catheter placed for IV therapy. Which action reflects a break in the sterile field?

  1. The nurse uses sterile gloves to place objects on the sterile field.
  2. The nurse stays near the sterile field at all times without turning away from it.
  3. The nurse removes a sterile syringe from the sterile field using clean gloves but does not touch the sterile field itself.
  4. The nurse opens a syringe, carefully peeling the wrapper away from the syringe without touching it so that it can be removed by a clinician wearing sterile gloves.
Number 3 is correct.
Rationale: Although the nurse does not touch the sterile field with the clean gloves, there is still contamination because clean gloves were used to remove a sterile object. The syringe is now contaminated, and the close proximity of the clean gloves to the sterile field poses a transmission risk. Any time there is even a suspicion of contamination, the sterile field must be reestablished. Options 1, 2, and 4 reflect safe practice for sterile technique.