Surgical Tech

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Operating Room Technician Job Description

Operating room techs get the chance to help with all phases of surgery. Operating room technicians are sometimes referred to as surgical techs, but the job description remains the same. Most commonly, the term operating room technician is used when referring to technicians working in hospital operating rooms, while surgical techs can work in any other surgical facility. This is not a hard rule and the two terms are interchangeable.

Operating room technician job duties may include:

  • Preparing patients for surgery by washing and disinfecting incision sites
  • Preparing the operating room by setting up surgical instruments and equipment and making sure everything functions properly
  • Passing tools and supplies to surgeons and first assistants during the operation
  • Preparing and transporting laboratory specimens
  • Transporting patients back to a recovery room after surgery
  • Cleaning and preparing the operating room for the next operation

The National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA) offers voluntary certification for those who qualify through their Certified Surgical Technologist (CST) exam.* Other associations also offer certification, but NBSTSA is the most commonly used.

Work Conditions

Operating rooms are mostly sterile and cool environments to prevent infection and other disease. They are also well-lit with many regulations due to the critical nature of the work being done. Depending on the facility you work for, hospitals may get very busy and operating room technicians must be able to function well under pressure.

Procedures can give you a first-hand look at how the human body functions. If you are fascinated by anatomy, you can get the opportunity to view a wide variety of procedures. If you enjoy working in teams, this may also be a good job for you. Operating room techs often work in close proximity with other assistants and surgeons.

A job as an operating room tech can also be good if you are looking for a stable schedule as most procedures are performed during the day.

Job Outlook

Job prospects look strong through 2020. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that employment for operating room technicians will grow at a rate faster than the national average for all occupations. Approximately 17,700 new jobs will be added by 2020.**

* Source: http://nbstsa.org/examinations-cst.html
** Source: http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/surgical-technologists.htm#tab-6


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