A surgical technician is also known with many other terms like ‘Scrub’, ‘Surgical Tech’, ‘Surgical Technologist’ and ‘Operating Room Technician’. Working in several environments, these professionals are in a major demand in all health care organizations that involve in surgeries and foremost operations. The job is a highly paid one and requires a lot of dedication and focus. If you are planning to pursue a career in this field, you have come to the right place where we will walk you through the various questions running in your mind. Read further to get a clear understanding on surgical technicians.
What are the Duties and Responsibilities of a Surgical Technician ?
A surgical tech is a professional who assists surgeons in the operation theatres during surgeries. In a nutshell, their responsibility for a surgery starts with preparing the operation room for the surgery and ends with post operation care of the patients. Let us have a better insight on the duties they have to perform before, during and after any operation.
- Getting the operation room ready – Before the operation begins, a surgical technician has to ensure that the equipments required for the surgery are readily available in the operation room. This includes arrangement of surgical items, sterilizing required tools and ensuring adequate supply of all necessary tools and proper functioning of these tools during the operation. They are also required to disinfect the incision areas of the patient in order to make the patient ready for the operation. Once the patient is ready for the operation, the scrubs place the patient on the operating table and cover them with a sterile cloth.
- Helping the surgeons during the operation – Surgical techs are required to help the surgeons by passing the required supplies of tools at various times that will be used during the process of the operation. Certain operations require holding of reactors or even the organs of the body in place while the surgeons are operating. The surgical techs come handy while they help the surgeons to perform the operation flawlessly by taking care of these tasks. A responsibility that every scrub should naturally possess is to constantly monitor the position and the signs from the patient while the surgeons are busy performing the operation.
- Post operation handling – After the surgery is completed, the surgical techs count the number of tools before and after the operation to ensure that there was no accidental misplacement of any of the tools. They are also responsible for applying bandages and dressings near the incision areas. In some cases, the operating assistants may also be required to shift the patients from the operation theatre to their respective rooms after the surgery and post surgery tasks are completed.
Educational requirements for starting a career as a Surgical Technician
Certain educational requirement is mandatory for applying for the post of a surgical technician. There are some courses or certifications which you may opt to take up to stand out from the other candidates.
- Mandatory educational requirements – The minimum educational requirement for starting a career in this field is to complete the high school diploma or a pass a test from the General Educational Development (GED).
- Higher education applicable for surgical technologists– Students interested in higher education to pursue a career in the surgical tech field may consider completing a postsecondary education. There are several universities and colleges that educate the students in various related subjects like biology, anatomy, pharmacology, medical terminology and insight on the operation tools. Postsecondary education in this aspect does not limit itself to theoretical knowledge enhancement. The studies include educating the students with a practical exposure to sterilization techniques, handling patients with care, on hands experience in using the technical instruments and setting up the robotic equipments. Postsecondary education for surgical tech last from several months to two years.
- Certifications – Possessing a certificate in the field of surgical technology is not a mandatory requirement for applying to a scrub’s post. It will definitely act as an added advantage as your knowledge and on-hands exposure is going to be superior and elevated when compared to those possessing only a postsecondary completion. The certifications discussed below, however, can be taken up by students who have completed their continued education. There are two major organizations that credit students with certifications in this field.
- Get titled as a ‘Certified Surgical Technologist’ by completing an accredited formal education or a military training and passing the examination held by National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting. Readers are requested to visit the link for more details on the certification.
- Get titled as a ‘Tech in Surgery Certified (NCCT)’ by either completing an accredited formal education, completing a military training or by gaining work experience. The title is offered for passing the certification examination by National Center for Competency Testing. Readers are requested to visit the link for more details on the certification.
Behavioural and Additional Qualities that is vital
To have a successful career as a surgical tech, one must grasp and practice many behavioural qualities because the profession necessitates continuous interaction with surgeons and patients.
- Being polite and caring is of utmost importance when conversing and handling patients.
- Attention to detail and being focussed all the time helps the surgeons and the fellow scrubs to perform their responsibilities impeccably.
- Physically fit and adequate stamina to be able to stand in the operation theatres for prolonged durations.
- Efficiently manage stress as working in an operation theatre requires a lot of attention over an assortment of tasks.
- Presence of mind to perform all the tasks without a fault.
How to become a Surgical Technician
There are potential job opportunities for both novices and experienced surgical techs. The healthcare industry is one area that never runs out of job opportunities. Having chosen a career in the medical field is worth the efforts and your career as a surgical technician is sure to grow leaps and bounds if you are focussed. Surgical techs work in hospitals, clinics, ambulatory surgical centres and physicians’ offices. Neurosurgery and cardio surgery are challenging and assisting surgeons in these surgeries will boost your experience levels. After gaining sufficient experience as a surgical technician, one can progress to becoming a ‘surgical first assistant’ who plays the lead role in the operating team. A surgical tech may also advance to become a circulator who interviews the patients before and after surgery and also assists with anaesthesia.
Salary of a Surgical Technician
The average surgical tech’s salary is around $41,000 annually. Statistics have shown that the average annual salary of a surgical tech has been constantly increasing over the last ten years which is certainly a sign of a good career opportunity that is growing with time.
Surgical techs work in shift basis and have a full time work around the week. These professionals may be required to work during holidays, weekends and odd hours and must be prepared to be present at the work place during emergencies. The career of a surgical techn shows a smooth upward line in the career graph and one can shift to other related fields like circulator, surgical nurse or a surgical first assistant. With the technology rising in the medical field, use of robotic instruments during the surgeries is proportionately increasing which facilitates more surgical techns on board in all hospitals and healthcare organizations. Start your career as a surgical tech today and watch success come your way!