America’s medical community continues to grow and evolve, and more skilled workers are in demand every day. One field that many people don’t know about is a career in surgical technology. An integral member of every operating team, those who become a surgical technologist assist the surgeon and other healthcare workers to ensure completion of a successful and safe procedure.
However, not everyone has the skill set or personal capacity to master a career in surgical technology, so, at City College, we screen potential surgical technology students to see if they have the abilities and talent to become a surgical technologist.
Here are just a few thoughts when considering a career in surgical technology through education and training. There are two City College campuses in Florida – Altamonte Springs and Fort Lauderdale – that offer these studies. We can help you become a surgical technologist in just a couple of years.
Do you have leadership skills?
Every successful surgery is the result of careful planning and precise implementation. Ensuring that all elements of the surgical process are in order and up to standard is the primary function of the surgical technologist. As a leader second only to the surgeon, the surgical technologist manages the activities of the surgical team before the arrival of the surgeon, throughout the operation itself, and during the aftermath when clean-up and re-sterilization of the theater and equipment are essential to the success of the next procedure. People who become a surgical technologist usually have natural leadership abilities.
Surgical technology duties often include ensuring equipment and surgical tools are sterile, properly located, and ready for use. Sometimes the technologist is responsible for ensuring other team members are comprehensively scrubbed and attired before the operation begins, and may also perform administrative tasks, such as verifying patient identity and condition before and after the surgery.
During the operation itself, the technologist is often responsible for documenting the use, placement, and collection of instruments to be certain that all are accounted for after the operation is over. Working in conjunction with the surgeon, the technologist may measure and pass medications, hold retractors or other instruments as guided by the surgeon, or coordinate the actions of the robotic arms, instruments, or cameras.
While some seeking a career in surgical technology also want training to become certified in certain aspects of surgery, most of the time, they act as the surgeon’s primary assistant within the operating theater. Consequently, it is important that each technologist has the requisite leadership skills to work productively with both the surgeon and with the surgical team of nurses, anesthetists, and other medical professionals.
Do you care about others?
If you’re looking for a career in surgical technology, you may already have a big heart and soft spot for people who need help. Many patients see this type of technologist as an extension of their surgeon, so they put a high level of trust into what the technologist says. Therefore, it is a significant aspect of the technologist’s duties to clearly and accurately explain to the patient the surgeon’s directives and to share with the doctor the patient’s concerns and questions. On the day of the procedure, the surgical technologist must also ensure that the patient remains calm and receptive to medical necessities before, during, and after the procedure.
Often, people who choose to become a surgical technologist know that their first duty is to the patient. Accordingly, these technologists are often responsible for patient care throughout the surgery process. Some forms of patient care may involve more mechanical functions, such as moving the patient into and out of the operating theater or positioning the patient properly to avoid unnecessary injury or exposure to toxins. Other forms of patient care are more personal and may include monitoring the patient’s comfort level, updating their basic physiological status, or attending to wound care. Post-surgery, the technologist often becomes the primary conduit of information between the surgeon and the patient, which again underscores the value of the position to the entire medical team, patient, and patient’s family.
Do you pay attention to detail?
Perhaps the most important skill for those seeking a career in surgical technology is the capacity to attend to a myriad of fine details within a single setting. Surgery is divided into several distinct territories and processes, and the technologist is involved in most of them. Therefore, they must be attentive to each detail within each sector throughout the surgical process:
- Equipment and supplies management – Each surgery demands a specific set of tools for optimal performance, and each of those tools must be properly sterilized, organized, and positioned for use during the procedure. Other supplies are also required, such as bandages, gauze, sponges, gowns, gloves, and draping material. Those who have mastered surgical technology are the ones assigned to ensure each element of the surgical tool set is in proper order and ready for use.
- Surgical detail management – As an adjunct to the surgeon, the technologist must also be highly knowledgeable about the surgery at hand so they can anticipate the needs of the surgeon and manage any demands that arise during the procedure. As an example, the proper draping of the patient requires the technologist to know exactly how and where the surgeon intends to perform the surgery so that they can drape the patient to display the surgical site while protecting adjoining physical areas from exposure.
- Administrative management – Every procedure requires extensive documentation regarding who did what, when, and with what instrument during the proceedings. Often it is the duty of the technologist to track and record these details, including those related to the pre-procedure set-up, the intra-operative activities during the surgery, and the post-surgery wrap up and cleaning. Hospitals rely on these surgery technology records to demonstrate their appropriate care and medical decision-making, as well as to justify compensation for their work and defend against legal claims. Consequently, the surgical technologist is also a critical member of the clinic’s administrative team in addition to the surgical team.
Are you a team player?
Even though the surgical technologist enjoys a leadership role on the surgical team, the tech must also be able to work harmoniously with the entire team in the tense setting of the operating theater. Nurses, anesthetists, and other medical professionals all contribute equally to the success of the procedure, and often the surgical technologist must tend to their needs during the operation as well as to the needs of the surgeon. Accordingly, most surgical technologists are known for their calm demeanor and steady nature, both of which are prized in the high-stress environment of an operating room.
Communication is another important skill for a surgical technologist. Even the best planned surgical procedures can go awry if the patient suddenly starts failing or if the doctor encounters unexpected complications. In these circumstances, the attitude and demeanor of the surgical technologist can hold the team together and direct appropriate staff responses to the situation, allowing the physician to focus on the crisis at hand. Surgical technologists who can speak clearly and precisely under the stress of an operation are highly valued members of the entire medical team.
At Florida’s City College campuses in Altamonte Springs (Orlando) and Fort Lauderdale, we offer a full spectrum of training for the aspiring surgical technologist. Our training modules include instruction on common operating room procedures, anatomy and physiology, microbiology, surgical techniques and surgical procedures. You’ll train in our real-world health care environment and practice with real industry technology in our state-0f-the-art facilities.
Our graduates are ready to sit for the certified surgical technologist exam issued by the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting. Once certified, they are prepared to launch a career in surgical technology in any number of medical facilities, including ambulatory care centers, hospital surgical sites, and specialty care centers. Other career opportunities available to City College surgical technology graduates include working in doctor’s offices, outpatient care facilities, as medical device representatives, and even in tissue procurement organizations.
If you’ve been curious about a medical career and think you have the skills for a career in surgical technology, contact us today to get started on the enrollment process.