For more than 30 years, the Association of Surgical Technologists Board of Directors has earmarked the third week of September to recognize surgical technologists for the work they do. As we mark National Surgical Technologists Week (September 17-23), this is a good time to review how much these professionals mean to healthcare.
Nowhere is being part of a smoothly operating team more important than in an operating room. As the surgeon’s so-called “right-hand person,” the surgical technologist plays a critical role in the team’s success. He or she is responsible for facilitating the safe and effective conduct of surgical procedures, including operating room safety, ensuring equipment functions properly, and maximum patient safety is observed at all times.
What Does a Surgical Technologist Do?
Surgical technologists prep patients for surgery, assemble and help sterilize instruments, scrub in during surgery, hand instruments to the surgeon, and assist with suctioning and dressing incisions. Many times, they also operate microscopes, robotic surgical instruments, lasers and video equipment.
A key difference between a surgical technologist and an OR nurse is the tech is more hands-on, working in partnership with the surgeon. Trained in anatomy, biology, medical terminology and more, they must know what the surgeon is doing and anticipate her/his needs. The more the surg tech can anticipate needs, the less the surgeon has to request instruments and the quicker procedures can be completed and patients brought out from under anesthesia.
Besides top-notch surgery skills, surgical technologists should have an outgoing personality, excellent hand-eye coordination and be adaptable, since very few surgeries are ever exactly the same. They need to be able to recognize emergency situations when they arise and be ready to act quickly on the patient’s behalf. As you can see, surgical technologists are integral members of surgery teams and worthy of our admiration every day of the year…not just during Surgical Technologists Week.
A Rise in Demand for Surgical Technologists
As advances in medical technology make surgeries safer and our population continues to age, the number of surgical procedures being performed is expected to rise. As a result, demand for surgical technologists is projected to increase by 30 percent through 2022. As an instrumental member of the OR team, becoming a surgical technologist may be your path to a challenging…but rewarding…career.
The Surgical Technology program at Fortis prepares students to join the operating room team that provides critical care to patients before, during and after surgeries. Courses are offered at select campuses in Florida, Louisiana, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia. To learn more about the profession, check out programs details and find the one nearest to you!