Has anyone ever seen this done before?

  1. So last week I was assisting one of the providers at my employment and witnessed something I have never seen before. The patient we were caring for had a large leg wound. The provider wanted to culture the wound. So I prepared the patient and the room. The provider comes in and takes the swab of the culture and runs in under water from the faucet. She stated "I always get a better sample if the swab is wet first". Is this an accepted practice? Seems to me the culture swab would be contaminated from the tap water, and therefore the culture would not only be from the wound, but whatever else was lurking in the spigot, and the city water.Has anyone else witnessed this?
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    About NCRN2010, BSN

    Joined: Aug '10; Posts: 24; Likes: 41
    Specialty: 16 year(s) of experience in Ambulatory Care, LTC


  3. by   John SPN
    I really don't see how that is supposed to produce more accurate results.
  4. by   FLArn
    No, never and you are 100% correct that culture is worthless! One can only wonder how many people were given antibiotics that were not appropriate for the infections they really had or that they never had at all!
  5. by   merlee
    NO NO NO NO Swabs are supposed to be sterile. And who knows what is being introduced INTO the wound???

    OY VEY !!!!
    Last edit by merlee on May 21, '11 : Reason: spacing
  6. by   AgentBeast
    Apparently somebody was trying to kill this patient.
  7. by   casi
    It may work better when wet, but umm maybe try sterile saline instead.
  8. by   I<3H2O
    Oh wow! I would write that incident up in a heart beat. That is WRONG!
  9. by   nursetiffany.
    whoa. what?!
  10. by   ExpatHopeful
    I second Casi. I have seen swabs dampened with sterile saline before collection, for instance when the area being swabbed was quite dry (like an armpit or nose for MRSA), but it was sterile!You should inform the lab or your nurse manager about this so they can do some reeducation.
  11. by   NurseKatie08
    Gross! Who knows what junk they were introducing into the wound!
  12. by   diva rn
    ABSOLUTELY NOT....broke sterility. I agree with everyone else. I wonder what the Lab would say about that if they knew? or the Infectious Disease specialist (assuming that isn't who did this)....!!!!
    What poor practice!
    Was this guy out of the dark ages?
  13. by   suanna
    Are we assuming this patient dosen't take a bath/shower with the same water that was used to dampen the swab? Any bug in the water supply would be present on his skin and presumably in the wound. Pathogens that are capable of infecting a wound shouldn't be present in tap water. Any bug that cultures out would most likely be identified as normal flora- present on anyones skin(or perhaps in tap water), or pathogenic/infectious. I would expect the swab would be better off moistened with sterile water or saline, but I am more concerned that the chlorine in treated (city) tap water would inhibit the growth of any pathogens present in the wound.
  14. by   tokmom