What does a surgical tech do? A surgical tech, also known as a scrub tech or a scrub is part of the surgical team in an operating room. They prepare the operating room, organize and arrange equipment and assist doctors during surgery.
Duties start in the pre-op phase, from checking to make certain the required equipment is in place to confirm the patient’s identity and any allergy information. The surgical tech is a vital part of the surgical process.
During the operation, the surgical tech passes instruments to the surgeon, hold retractors, and holds organs in place during the procedure. They may also handle specimens sent for analysis.
Post-op duties could include bandaging incision areas, transporting patients to recovery and restocking the operating room after the procedure.
The job could be physically demanding often requiring the surgical tech to stand on their feet for several hours at a time. They may need to lift patients, move heavy trays and equipment and at times be exposed to communicable diseases, unpleasant sights and endure strong odors. This is a career that requires physical stamina, good stress management skills and a strong ethical standing.
How much does a surgical tech make?
The surgical tech salary outlook is promising. With a median annual salary of $45,160 in May 2016 and a job growth of 12 percent projected over the next 9 years its one of the faster-growing careers in the medical field.
Most surgical techs work full time. In hospital settings, they may be required to be on call and work holidays and weekends with shifts often lasting more than 8 hours.
How to become a surgical tech!
Surgical Techs typically need a post-secondary education. Many community colleges, vocational schools, and hospitals offer accredited programs with a diploma, certificate or associates degree on completion. You can easily find a multitude of programs online with schools offering certification. Training includes hands-on experience in a supervised clinical setting.
There were 500 surgical technologist programs with accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs in 2016. Many choose to become certified through The National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting. This authorizes them to use the initials CST as long as they continue to renew their certification. This is a voluntary certification but illustrates a mastery of a broad range of skills in the surgical technology field.
How long does it take to become a surgical tech?
Programs can range in length from a few months up to 2 years. Course studies normally include courses in anatomy, physiology, biology, medical terminology, pharmacology, and other topics. With further study either in a formal program or with on the job training, surgical techs can become surgical first assistants.
The promising growth in surgical tech jobs will see a steady in need as the baby boomer generation continues to age. You can expect to see an increase in available programs throughout the United States with the largest employers being hospitals and surgery centers. A career as a Surgical Tech can be an exciting and rewarding one for those with the desire to provide care.