Surgical Technologist

Pros


  • The work that is performed in this field helps people who are ill or hurt as surgical procedures work to repair damages.
  • There is a lot of variety involved in this job on a day-to-day basis; this is great work who likes different challenges everyday.
  • This is good work for those who like to work with their hands or solve problems.

Cons

  • This can be a very fast-paced job, as there may be emergency or stressful situations. You must be able to think quickly.
  • This type of work will require you to stand for the majority of the day in an operating room environment.
  • You will be exposed to unpleasant things in this job. This could include uncomfortable sights and sounds.

Overview

Surgical technologists, also known as operating room technicians work in operating rooms under the guidance of surgeons and registered nurses. They perform their duties as a part of an operating room team that often is a mix of medical personnel who have a goal of completing a surgical procedure. While many of these procedures are planned, there are times when surgery needs to be done in an emergency situation.

By setting up surgical instruments and equipment, surgical technologists play a crucial role prior to surgery to make sure that the environment is sterile and properly prepared for other medical personnel. This may include calibrating and testing equipment as well. Surgical technologists will also prepare patients for procedures by sterilizing incision sites. During a procedure, it is the surgical technologists’ role to pass instruments to surgeons and surgical assistants. Many times they also have a responsibility to monitor a patient’s vital signs. They will also assist in surgical work by cutting sutures, holding retractors and applying dressings.

Surgical technologists may also operate lights or suction equipment to give the other medical personnel the best working environment possible to perform procedures in.
Once surgery is completed, surgical technologists may be charged with taking patients via gurney back to a recovery area. They will then spend their time restocking an operating room and preparing for the next patient. The majority of surgical technologists work in hospitals, but they may also be found working in private clinics as well.

Education

Prospective surgical technologists much complete a training program lasting up to 24 months. Entry into this type of program usually requires a high school diploma. Surgical technology programs can be found in the military, community colleges or vocational centers. Because of this, program length may vary. Courses in these programs are a mix of classroom work and hands-on instruction in technique and sterilization procedures. While it is not required, many employers prefer to hire in this field those who have passed a certification examination.

Job Prospects

There is expected to be excellent growth in this field. There is a growing aging population that needs surgical procedures in order to help certain health problems. The amount of surgical procedures continues to go up year over year and because of this the demand for surgical technologists continues to increase. Because of the desire of large health organizations to reduce costs, replacing nurses with surgical technologists is also a trend that is benefitting those who have a desire to find employment in this field.

Advancement Opportunities

Surgical technologists who gain work experience and wish to move up can obtain additional training that allow them to work on very specialized surgical procedures such as neurosurgery or open-heart surgery. Some also take their leadership skills into other parts of a health organization, leading supply departments or running hospital training programs.