Surgical Technologists Career

Surgical technologists have to deal with various tasks. They are also called surgical, operating room technicians, and scrubs. Their work is to assist in surgical operations under the close supervision of registered nurses, surgeons, and other surgical personnel.

Job Description

Surgical technologists carry out various tasks. They are members of operating room teams, which consist of circulating nurses, anesthesiologists, and surgeons. The work of surgical technologists is to prepare the operating room by means of setting up surgical equipment and instruments, sterile solutions, and sterile drapes. They bring together sterile and non-sterile equipment and check it to make sure it is function properly.

The job of a technologist is to get patient ready for surgery by shaving, washing, and disinfecting incision sites. These technologists move patients to the operating room, help them to place on the operating table, and cover sterile surgical drapes on them. Other duties of technologists may include check chart, observe patient's vital charts, and help the surgical personnel to wear sterile gloves and gowns.

Surgical technologists play an important role during surgery. During surgery, they pass sterile supplies and other instruments to surgeons. Technologists may need to cut sutures, hold retractors, and count needles, sponges, instruments, and supplies. Surgical technologists dispose, care, and prepare specimens taken for laboratory investigation. Some technologists operate lights, suction machines, sterilizers, and help to operate diagnostic equipment.

After executing an operation, a surgical technologist may help patient move to recovery room, restock, and clean operating room. A certified surgical technologist who has specialized training or education may work as a circulator or the surgical first assistant. The surgical first assistant, defined by the American College of Surgeons offers aid in hemostasis, exposure, and other technical functions under the close supervision of the surgeon. A surgical first assistant facilitates the surgeon to execute a safe operation.

A circulating technologist is a member of the surgical team. The responsibility of a technologist is to interview the patients and then move them for surgery. A circulating technologist has to prepare the patient, receive and open packages, remove the sterile contents, keep and maintain the written account of a surgical procedure, answer the surgeon's questions, and obtain packages for the sterile.

Work Environment

Surgical technologists perform the tasks in spacious, clean, and cool environments. They require standing for long periods and staying alert at the time of operations. Sometimes, they can be exposed to unpleasant sights, communicable diseases, materials, and odors. Almost all surgical technologists work forty hours a week. However, they may be called to work on weekends, nights, and holidays on shift basis.

Training and Educational Qualification

Training programs range from nine to twenty-four months and lead to a certificate diploma and associate degree. Candidates who have completed professional certification may get into this field easily. Surgical technologists get training through formal programs offered by vocational schools, junior colleges, the military, hospitals, and universities. The Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs accepted over four hundred accredited training programs.

Candidates who wish to take admission to above said course need to have completed at least high school graduation. Recommended high school courses may comprise of biology, health, mathematics, and chemistry. These programs are designed and modified with the purpose of providing quality education in the field of surgical technology. The programs incorporate classroom education and clinical experience.

Students may take courses in physiology, anatomy, microbiology, professional ethics, pharmacology, and medical terminology. The course covers other topics such as the safety and care of patients during sterile techniques, surgery, and surgical procedures. Students are given exercises in control and prevent infection, sterilize techniques, sterile techniques, and deal with special equipment, drugs, supplies, and solutions.

Certification and Other Qualification

Many employers prefer candidates who are certified to work. Surgical technologists may attain voluntary professional certification from the Liaison Council on Certification. Surgical technologists receive this certificate after graduating from a CAAHEP recognized program and clearing National Certification Exam. Students after receiving this certification may work as certified surgical technologists. Students must keep in mind that they need to continue with education that is required to maintain certificate. The certification ought to be renewed every four years.

Candidates may obtain certificate from the National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT). Candidates who wish to take admission for this certification program may need to either complete an accredited training program or gain seven years of experience in this field or undergo a two-year hospital on-the-job training program. Candidates who have passed the examination may utilize the designation Technologists in Surgery Certified, TS-C (NCCT). This certification ought to be renewed every five years by means of either reexamination or continuing education.


Surgery technologist may advance by specializing in a specific realm of surgery such as open heart surgery or neurosurgery. Surgery technologists may serve as circulating technologists. With the help of additional training, some technologists may advance to first assistant.

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