The Role of a Scrub Tech

HealthcareDecember 16, 2013

A surgical technician or technologist is often called a scrub tech because of the work he or she does in an operating room, an outpatient facility or even an ambulatory surgery center. Some of these responsibilities might include:

  • Prepare all tools and equipment needed prior to a procedure
  • Make sure all equipment used is sterile
  • Help the physician "scrub" prior to an operation
  • Make sure the patient is properly positioned and comfortable during the procedure
  • Assist the surgeon during an operation
  • Disinfect all the equipment and tools used after the surgery
  • Clean the operating room after the procedure.

Scrub techs or more accurately surgical technicians are often the right hand to a surgeon during an operation. This means that they hand instruments and other supplies to the physician during surgical procedures. This is an extremely important part of this job because surgical technicians need to be able to have all the proper instruments at their fingertips as well as anticipate any other tools or supplies a surgeon might require during a procedure. The supplies needed are often not only essential in helping to heal a person, but ultimately can play an important role in saving a life.

"Scrubbing" Keeps Infection Down

Let's not forget that it's also the scrub tech's job to make sure the physician and all the other attending hospital personnel have adequately "scrubbed" before entering a disinfected area. Those scenes we normally see on television of people literally scrubbing their hands and arms before they put on clean hospital gowns, masks, and latex gloves are real! The garments that surgical technicians wear are also referred to as scrubs. They are usually a simple top you can pull over your head with pants that have either a drawstring or elastic waist. These scrubs typically don't have pockets because they're designed so there is no place for possible "contaminants" to hide. They're also easy to wash and cheap enough to throw out if they become stained.

Additional Responsibilities

In addition to making sure anyone entering the surgical area has "scrubbed," surgical technologists or scrub techs must make sure that all the instruments they will be using are, too. Scrub techs also have the responsibility to make sure that all the equipment and tools the surgical staff are using are clean and safe, so that there's no harm to the patient. Surgical technologists must confirm that all the instruments are collected and sterilized after surgery, and that the operating room is cleaned and totally disinfected for the next procedure.

 Photo Source: Flickr


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