If you’ve ever had surgery, you might know how it feels to be put under with anesthesia and wheeled into the operating room. You may have met the surgeon in advance, but you might not realize the surgical technologist at the surgeon’s side is a key part of your surgery team. Amy Blackmon is in her last year of her surgical technologist program at Fortis in Nashville. She graduates in September 2022, and she shared what a surgical technologist does and why she loves the career.
As a surgical tech, Blackmon’s job is to stand next the surgeon through the entire procedure, passing different instruments and sutures as needed, helping with irrigation, and handling any other little task the surgeon needs during the surgery. At the end, she helps get the room ready for the next patient and ensures that proper “aseptic technique”—making sure nothing is contaminated—is maintained throughout.
She is completing her externship at Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, Tennessee, where she works with pediatric patients. Because children aren’t sedated before they enter the operating room, part of her job is to help the young patients get comfortable with the setting. Usually, they’re scared, she says, so part of the job is helping them adjust. The staff introduces themselves, shows them around the operating room, and spends a little time putting them at ease.
“I love being an integral part of a surgical team and helping people feel better,” Blackmon says. “People usually feel their worst before a surgery, and I love being able to help put them back together.”
Blackmon offers the following tips for students interested in becoming a surgical technologist.
Do your research. It’s an amazing career, she says, but it’s not for everyone. It requires a lot of studying to learn the instruments, and often requires being on your feet for up to 12 hours per day. “Surgery isn’t like what is shown on TV,” Blackmon says. “You need to be to be able to handle blood, smells, and possibly even the slight chance of someone dying.”
Tour a program if you can. Before you take the leap, try to tour a school with a surgical technology program. Check out the types of instruments used and talk to an instructor about how the program works before you commit.
Blackmon loves working with patients and helping surgeons and nurses perform successful surgeries. She also appreciates the career possibilities in the growing field and the opportunities for expanding into another position with more training.
Are you interested in learning more about this career? Fortis offers surg tech programs on select campuses in Florida, Louisiana, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia. Click here for more information or call us today at (855) 436-7847 and speak to one of our career counselors.