Life as a Surgical Assistant: What's it Like?

It's important to find a school that will thoroughly prepare you to be a surgical technologist, particularly if your ambition is to be an operating room surgical assistant. Some of the skills you might need to learn include the following:

  • An understanding of the tools and equipment needed to assist a surgeon in the operating room
  • How to properly care for the tools (including sterilization)
  • Why certain equipment might be better to use than others, depending on the procedure performed.

If you are looking to prepare yourself for a career in a hospital or outpatient facility, you'll need to be able to assist the surgeon with any procedure. That means that not only do you have to understand the procedure (including the medical terms that are being used), but the type of tools you will need to help the doctor, as well.

Classroom and Practical Experience

If you are going to be working in the field as a surgical assistant, choose courses that teach you as much as possible about helping a physician during a procedure. You'll need to learn how to use the tools and equipment properly and even how to properly care for a patient. After all, your goal is not only to assist a surgeon but to help the patient, too! That's why it's vital that, during your surgical technology training, that you get hands-on practical experience. This way, when you graduate, you will be able to use the skills you learned and hopefully gain immediate employment.

It's particularly important to be trained on equipment that's being used in a hospital operating room or medical outpatient facility. This might include equipment that has sophisticated computer programs, as well as technology that is increasingly laser-driven. It's in your best interest to excel in learning how to use all of these devices since, ultimately, what you know will enable you to beat out other candidates who might be competing for the same job.

Calm Nerves and Strong Stomach

Additionally, while classroom courses can give you the basics, it's often the field work, whether it's through an internship or mentoring, that will show you how things are really done. After all, once you graduate, your day-to-day work life will revolve around being in an operating room. You will need to have a calm disposition, as well as equally steady hands. Your ability to handle the equipment the surgeon needs and safely pass along the tools is crucial. Also, having a really strong stomach helps, too. You don't want to be in a position in which you're witnessing an operation and begin to feel lightheaded.

Tags: healthcare, medical technology, Surgical Tech

Julie McCoy

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