The major responsibility of a certified surgical technologist is to prepare and sanitize patients and the surgical room they will use before and after the surgery. Obviously, their main theater of operation will be the operating room of a hospital or similar health care facility. The certified surgical technologist occupies a key position that contributes to the surgical team’s success. Before you can apply for your certified surgical technologist license, you must be a graduate of a surgical technology program. There are schools across the United States that can fulfill this requirement ad do so by offering the necessary classes (42 credit hours). All programs must be accredited by the Commission Accreditation of Allied Health Programs (CAAHEP) or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). Check into both of these associations to obtain a list of eligible schools and their websites.
Duties of a Certified Surgical Technologist
One usually chooses this career because they want to work in the interesting and dramatic arena of a hospital’s operating room (OR). It is a relatively well-paying occupation with an average wage of $19.50 per hour. The salary is, however, not the main reason people enter the field. The major attraction of the job to a certified surgical technologist is the variety, no two days are ever alike. They also talk about personal satisfaction from creating efficient operating environments for medical personnel that make it safe for patients in need of surgical procedures.
What is the Certified Surgical Technologist Job Really Like?
Perusing the certified surgical technologist job description will enlighten you that the position is referred to as “scrub tech” or “OR tech.” You do work in the OR under supervision of surgeons, nurses and sometimes other designated members of the medical staff.
What you will do is become an integral part of a team of medical practitioners providing surgical care to patients in any number of settings by:
- Organizing supplies and equipment
- Setting up operating surgeons sterile table trying to anticipate what may be required during the procedure
- Aiding the surgical team with putting on their sterile surgical garb
- Providing a count of surgical instruments before and after surgery
- Handing the requested instruments to the surgeon during the operation
- Preparing sterile dressings
- Cleaning the instruments post-surgery
- Helping to clean up the OR post-surgery
- Assisting with the transfer of the patient post surgery
The certified surgical technologist field also includes the Circulating Surgical Technician who also may:
- Interview patients prior to surgical procedure
- Prepare patient for surgery including application of monitors
- Open sterile instrument packages and hand them to surgical assistants
- Write an account of the events during the surgical procedure
- Manage specimens
- Obtain additional instruments and equipment as required during the surgery
People who fit in nicely with this type of work are those who want a career in the medical field with room for advancement, have a need for and really enjoy being organized and methodical, have an overwhelming need for cleanliness and pride themselves on remaining calm in a crisis.
The people who do not fit in this position are those with a large ego and feel in competition with the higher levels of the medical team, the nurses and doctors. You must check your ego at the health facility’s door and be a part of the team, albeit, one on the lower rungs of the team ladder, while performing duties absolutely critical to the surgical team and most importantly, the patient.
If you think you may feel pushed around by those in authority, continue your education and earn that RN or MD degree and leave the Certified Surgical Technicians to practice their well-honed and crucial medical skills.