Surgical Technologists

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Also known as:  Certified Surgical Technologist, Operating Room Technician, OR Tech, Surgical First Assistant, Surgical Scrub Technologist, Surgical Technologist

ABOUT SURGICAL TECHNOLOGIST CAREERS

VIDEO TRANSCRIPT Expand
Surgical technologists and technicians are indispensable members of the modern medical community. They are needed to help set up the operating room - sterilizing and setting out the necessary surgical instruments, making sure the equipment is working properly. They may also prepare patients for a pr ...
ocedure, by shaving and cleaning incision sites. The job also can involve transporting patients to the operating room and covering them with sterile drapes.

Surgical technologists and technicians work in hospitals, outpatient clinics, and in private doctors' and dentists' offices where surgical procedures are performed. Sometimes they're hired by a specialized surgeon to be what's called "private scrubs," joining a team trained for complex procedures, such as transplants.

This career requires the ability to handle blood, laboratory samples, communicable diseases, strong odors, and surgical procedures without flinching. Night and weekend work is common. Training for a surgical technician's certificate lasts 9 months to 2 years, is available at community and junior colleges, vocational schools, universities, hospitals, and in the military.

High-school graduation is usually required for admission to these programs. Once you're certified, you are required to re-certify periodically through continuing education or examinations. You have to demonstrate you are reliable, orderly, capable with your hands, and emotionally stable. Someone's life might well depend on it.
SNAPSHOT Expand
Assist in operations, under the supervision of surgeons, registered nurses, or other surgical personnel. May help set up operating room, prepare and transport patients for surgery, adjust lights and equipment, pass instruments and other supplies to surgeons and surgeon's assistants, hold retractors, cut sutures, and help count sponges, needles, supplies, and instruments.
Leadership
HIGH
Critical decision making
HIGH
Level of responsibilities
HIGH
Job challenge and pressure to meet deadlines
HIGH
Dealing and handling conflict
LOW
Competition for this position
MED
Communication with others
LOW
Work closely with team members, clients etc.
HIGH
Comfort of the work setting
HIGH
Exposure to extreme environmental conditions
LOW
Exposure to job hazards
HIGH
Physical demands
LOW
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DAILY TASKS Expand
Monitor and continually assess operating room conditions, including patient and surgical team needs.
Operate, assemble, adjust, or monitor sterilizers, lights, suction machines, or diagnostic equipment to ensure proper operation.
Maintain a proper sterile field during surgical procedures.
Prepare patients for surgery, including positioning patients on the operating table and covering them with sterile surgical drapes to prevent exposure.
Clean and restock operating room, gathering and placing equipment and supplies and arranging instruments according to instructions, such as a preference card.
Prepare dressings or bandages and apply or assist with their application following surgery.
Wash and sterilize equipment, using germicides and sterilizers.
Count sponges, needles, and instruments before and after operation.
Hand instruments and supplies to surgeons and surgeons' assistants, hold retractors and cut sutures, and perform other tasks as directed by surgeon during operation.
Scrub arms and hands and assist the surgical team to scrub and put on gloves, masks, and surgical clothing.
Provide technical assistance to surgeons, surgical nurses, or anesthesiologists.
MAIN ACTIVITIES Expand
Assisting and Caring for Others Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.
Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
Training and Teaching Others Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
AREAS OF KNOWLEDGE Expand
Medicine and Dentistry Knowledge of the information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.
Customer and Personal Service Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
English Language Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Education and Training Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
Psychology Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
Public Safety and Security Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
Biology Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.
Administration and Management Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
KEY ABILITIES Expand
Problem Sensitivity The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
Oral Comprehension The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
Speech Recognition The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
Near Vision The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
Information Ordering The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
Manual Dexterity The ability to quickly move your hand, your hand together with your arm, or your two hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.
Arm-Hand Steadiness The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.
Oral Expression The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
TOP SKILLS Expand
Monitoring Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
Coordination Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
Operation Monitoring Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
Active Listening Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Active Learning Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
Speaking Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Time Management Managing one's own time and the time of others.
Critical Thinking Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
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