Do you let sales reps open items in your OR?

Specialties Operating Room


Specializes in Trauma, Education.

Hi everyone-

I am wondering if you could share whether or not you allow sales reps to open implants, instruments, etc in the OR? Or do you have a policy that requires them handing it to the circulator to open it? Does anyone know if there is anything in AORN about this? I don't recall seeing anything in Recommended Standards and Practices. Let me know. Thank you!


Specializes in Perioperative; Cardiovascular.

Absolutely not. It is the Circulator's job to check the integrity of the package and the expiration date. Every Sale Rep knows this and should respect this "unspoken" rule. Normally, it's hospital policy. I had a rep that kept ignoring the policy and the OR Director banned him from our facility.

They are not allowed to where I work.

Specializes in Peri-op/Sub-Acute ANP.

The rep knows better than that - they are just trying it on. I've worked at a lot of placed and not one of them allowed reps to open sterile packages onto the field. The reps that tried that stuff in my room were invited to a personal "beating meeting". You run the room, not them! Don't get me wrong, I do acknowledge that they have a vital and valid role in the OR but the sterile field is not their territory.

Absolutely not! We also have an implant "time-out" to verify the correct implant is handed in, but not by the sales reps.

Specializes in Only the O.R. and proud of it!.

Hospital policy prevents reps from opening. RepTrax, I believe, discourages it as well. I wish that I invented RepTrax, but that's a whole other thread.

Sent from my iPad (so excuse any typos and autocorrects!!) using

In our ORs, reps are not allowed to open implants or instruments; however, some reps continue to open things when permission is granted by the circulator.

Specializes in Pediatric and Adult OR.

Okay....maybe I am the bad egg here, but for the reps I am very familiar with and whom I trust, if I am slammed in the room and they are standing there, I will let them open. But typically not. I've noticed that they always give it to me to open and figured they were just covering their own butts. I don't actually know if it's a policy or not. I should look into that...

Specializes in Peri-op/Sub-Acute ANP.
Specializes in Trauma Surgery, Nursing Management.

I have never let a rep introduce anything into the sterile field. AORN doesn't specifically state that reps CAN'T open sterile items, but does state that reps can't be in the sterile field:

POSITION STATEMENT AORN supports the education of perioperative team members on new procedures, techniques, technology, and equipment with which personnel are not familiar before their use in a surgical procedure. AORN believes the following.

 The RN is accountable for the patient's nursing care during the procedure and advocates for the patient's safety, privacy, dignity, and confidentiality.

 Health care industry representatives may be permitted in the perioperative setting to provide technical support in accordance with facility policies, local, state, and federal regulations.

 Health care industry representatives should not provide direct patient care or be allowed in the sterile field. However, AORN believes the health care industry representative with specialized training and facility approval may perform calibration/synchronization to adjust/ program devices (such as but not limited to implanted electronic devices, radio frequency devices and lasers) under the supervision of the physician.

I wish I could quote the "Guidance Statement Regarding Health Care Industry Representatives, but I refuse to pay $110 for the book. My Nurse Educator has several copies, so perhaps you can ask if your NE has one.

At the end of the day, YOU are the one responsible for the safe care of your patient. What are your thoughts on this issue?

Specializes in EMT, ER, Homehealth, OR.

Another reason not to let reps open items on the field is that they make money for every item they sell. I have had reps try to sneek items onto the field so we would have to pay for them.

Specializes in Operating Room.

Absolutely NOT!!! I walked out of my room to get a tray once and one of the 5 reps opened an implant without telling me nor did he leave the implant sticker. That basically ended up being a whole mess as far as him not getting paid for 2 months for an item he said was placed and me saying it was not because it was not on my record. A big giant mess because he decided to go against the rules and me not bending because I did not give it nor will I record it.

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