The surgical technologist is known to many as a scrub or operating room technician. These professionals work very closely with the surgeon in the operating room. The surgical technologist is an important part of the operating room team. This team is typically composed of a surgeon, surgical nurse, anesthesiologist, and surgical technologist. The job of the surgical technician is critical to the success of the operation. This professional helps set up the operating room before surgery. They make sure that the room is sterile and they prepare the sterile field. It is their job to make sure all equipment is working properly. This includes sterile and non sterile operating equipment. It is this professionals job to make sure that everything is in place and is organized. This professional is expected to provide the exact tool that is needed in an efficient manner. Failure to perform these duties correctly could be devastating.
Surgical Technologist Job Responsibilities
This technician gets the patient prepared for surgery by shaving, disinfecting and cleaning the surgery site. Many scrubs also assist in transporting the patient to the operating room. They assist with moving the patient to the surgery table and positioning the sterile drape. In addition, the scrub will check the patient’s vital signs and assist staff with their sterile uniform.
Furthermore, the surgical technologist is responsible for making sure the surgeon has the right tools. This position is critical and requires acute accuracy. Surgery is a time sensitive process, and the skill of a knowledgeable scrub is important. This helps the surgery proceed smoothly. Another important task is counting sponges and other equipment. This helps to ensure that all equipment is accounted for after the procedure.
Surgical Technologist Training and Education Requirements
The average time for surgical technician training is between 9 and 24 months. Most community colleges and universities have a certificate, diploma, and associate level program. In 2008, one organization, Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education, acknowledged over 450 programs. A high school diploma or equivalent is required for admission into a surgical technician program.
An accredited program combines classroom instruction with supervised experience in a clinical setting. Students focus on sterilizing procedure; they also learn ways to prevent infection and ways to control the spread of infection. Additionally, the successful surgical technician must have a strong tolerance for strong odors and sights. The operating room requires a person that is emotionally stable, and someone that is physically able to stand for long periods of time.
Surgical Technologist Salary and Wages
Studies in 2008 revealed that the median annual salary for a surgical technologist is approximately $38,000. The middle group of surgical technicians earn between $32,000 and $46,000 per year. Those that earn the lowest salaries earn $26,000 or less. In contrast, the highest paid earn more than $54,000. The salary of a surgical technician vary greatly according to the education level and years of experience. The area of the country, working hours, and exact responsibilities also directly affect the wages of the surgical technologist.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
The human resource professionals predict that positions in surgical technology will increase by 25% in the next decade. The increase of older citizens will place a large demand on the medical system, and there is already a shortage in health care professionals.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
Surgical Technologist Certifications
Employers have a preference for certified surgical technologists. Scrubs may earn a voluntary certification by completing a CAAHEP-accredited surgical technologist program. This qualifies the scrub to use the Certified Surgical Technologist designation. Continuing education is necessary in order to maintain the certification. The requirements consist of 60 hours of training hours in a 4 year period.
A certification can also be earned by testing at the National Center for Competency Testing. There are three ways to qualify for this certification. First, a person can graduate from an accredited surgical technician program. Second, a person can complete a 2 year on the job training program at the hospital; third, a scrub can obtain 7 years of experience working in the field of surgical technology. After finishing the program, the scrub will be able to use the title Tech-in-Surgery Certified.
Additionally, certified surgical technologists can advance to the position of first assistant or circulator. This position is a critical one in the operating room. This professional is able to assist with more challenging tasks that involve direct patient contact. For example, the first assistant can help control blood flow and loss of blood. This person also keeps a written record of the surgery occurrences during the procedure.
Surgical Technologist Professional Associations
The Association for Surgical Technologists is the largest association for this profession. This group seeks to educate and uphold high standards of excellence for the profession. It is also a voice for the scrub or technicians in the field. It is a good idea for surgical technologists to join this organization. Strong connections and relationships are built. This will help the scrub in their career in this health care field.
Also, joining a professional association is healthy for a scrub’s career. Contacts are made in the meetings and seminars that can prove vital to the surgical technologist.