The nurse assists the client to the operating room table and supervises the operating room technician preparing the sterile field. Which action, completed by the surgical technician, indicates to the nurse that a sterile field has been contaminated?

Select all that apply.
  1. A sterile object is held below the table surface and returned to the sterile field.
  2. The outer inch of the sterile towel hangs over the side of the table.
  3. A partially emptied container of sterile betadine is replaced within the sterile field.
  4. Sterile packages are opened with the first edge away from the technician.
Numbers 1 and 3 are correct.
Rationale: Anything below the level of the table surface is considered unsterile. After opening a bottle of sterile solution (betadine), the contents must be used or discarded but not returned to the sterile field. The edges and sides of the towel extending below the side of the table are routinely considered unsterile. Sterile packages are routinely opened with the first edge away while the last flap is pulled toward the person opening the package.