Foleys: Silly Question


As a CNA I probably placed close to a hundred foleys and hardly ever had any trouble.

As a Student though... :uhoh3:

The foleys I placed during clinicals in front my Med-Surg instructor were torture. During the first one I placed in her presence I dropped a used betadine swab onto the drape below the patient's thighs and my instructor flipped out on me BIG TIME. (The used swab was the only thing that ever touched the drape, I didn't touch it after it fell, the catheter and my "clean" hand remained sterile) She ended up sending another student for a second kit, since the whole procedure was "contaminated".

Every foley placement after that she would give me the third degree about my "mistake" from the first incident and I ended up getting extremely anxious about something I used to feel pretty comfortable and confident about. Overall she was a great instructor- but she made me quake in my boots about the swab incident!!

So my stupid question is as follows:

I understand that the drape is sterile initially, but why would we consider it sterile after it has touched the bed/patient/etc.?! (Second to used betadine swabs I would consider the drape one of the most contaminated...)


69 Posts

Specializes in ICU, Psych.

the topside of the drape stays sterile until it becomes creates the sterile field. the BOTTOM, "shiny" side, of the drape is not sterile, but the top "matte" side is. mostly the drape itself creates the sterile field.


18 Posts

I guess it depends on the school. We were instucted that the drape can be used as a sterile field or a clean field. Since it was much easier to treat if is a clean field, that is what I do. We keep all contents inside the foley kit, so that is the sterile enviornment. Curious how other school teach it now.

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