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Surgical Technology Overview
Surgical technology is a rewarding and challenging career. Surgical technologists are mainly employed in operating rooms where they assume many different roles and responsibilities. They work closely with the surgeon, anesthesiologist, and registered nurse in providing patient care during surgical procedures.
Surgical technologists may assume the role of the scrub person, circulator, or first assistant. The responsibilities of the surgical technologist include preparing the operating room, instruments, equipment, and supplies for a surgical procedure. Surgical technologists pass instruments and other sterile supplies to surgeons and assistants during surgery. After surgery, they may transport patients to recovery room, clean, and restock the operating room. Surgical technologists are experts in sterile technique, and help maintain a safe and therapeutic environment for the patient.
Qualities of a Surgical Technologist
- Ability to work well under stressful and emergency situations
- Able to act quickly and accurately
- Work well with other people
- Exhibit manual dexterity
- Physical stamina
- Good communication skills
Surgical Technologists work in a well lighted, clean, and cool environment. They work in close proximity to other team members. Technologists must remain alert and stand for long periods of time. They may be exposed to communicable diseases, unpleasant sights and odors. Most surgical technologists work full time (40 hours per week), but part-time employment is available at some institutions. Most work places require 24 - hour coverage which may require being scheduled nights, weekends, and holidays.
Physical Requirements for Surgical Technology
- Able to stand, bend, stoop, and/or sit for long periods of time in one location with minimum/no breaks.
- Able to lift a minimum of 20 pounds.
- Able to refrain from nourishment or restroom breaks for periods up to 6 hours.
- Demonstrate sufficient visual ability enough to load a fine (10-0) suture onto needles and needle holders with/without corrective lenses and while wearing safety glasses.
- Demonstrate sufficient peripheral vision to anticipate and function while in the sterile surgical environment.
- Hear and understand muffled communication without visualization of the communicator’s mouth/lips and within 20 feet.
- Hear activation/warning signals on equipment.
- Able to detect odors sufficient to maintain environmental safety and patient needs.
- Manipulate instruments, supplies and equipment with speed, dexterity, and good eye-hand coordination using assistive devices.
- Able to assist with and/or lift, move, position, and manipulate the patient who is unconscious with or without assistive devices.
- Communicate and understand fluent English both verbally and in writing.
- To be free of reportable communicable diseases and chemical abuse.
- Function without allergic reaction in an environment with substantial latex exposure.
- Able to demonstrate immunity (natural or artificial) to Rubella, Rubeola, Tuberculosis, and Hepatitis B, or be vaccinated against these diseases, or willing to sign a waiver or release of liability regarding these diseases.
- Possess short- and long-term memory sufficient to perform tasks such as, but not limited to, mentally tracking surgical supplies and performing anticipation skills interoperability.
- Able to make appropriate judgment decisions.
- Demonstrate the use of positive coping skills under stress.
- Demonstrate calm and effective responses, especially in emergency situations.
- Exhibit positive interpersonal skills during patient, staff, and faculty interactions.
Last Updated: October 7, 2014