A nurse is changing the dressing for a patient who has a central venous catheter. During the dressing change, the nurse accidentally drops the sterile dressing on the floor. Which of the following actions should the nurse perform next?


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- Open a new package of a sterile dressing

- Withhold the dressing change

- Ensure there is no visible dirt on the dressing and use it to conserve resources

- Contact the physician


"Open a new package of a sterile dressing" is correct. When a nurse is performing an intervention that requires sterile products, the nurse should replace any of the items that have become contaminated. If the nurse drops a sterile item on the floor, it cannot be used. A new sterile dressing should be used.
"Withhold the dressing change" is incorrect. Proceed as normal with a new sterile dressing.
"Ensure there is no visible dirt on the dressing and use it to conserve resources" is correct. If a contaminated dressing is used, the patient is at risk for central line infection. If the patient gets a central line infection, it is infinitely more expensive than a new package of sterile dressing.
"Contact the physician" is incorrect because this situation is easily remedied by the nurse.

Best practices: Evidence-based nursing procedures (2nd ed.). (2007). Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

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