Surgical Tech

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Surgery Tech Job Description

Surgery techs, also referred to as operating room technicians, are essential to an operation from start to finish. Though specific job descriptions may vary by state or facility, most surgery techs will perform a variety of tasks to help the surgeon before, during and after an operation. If you want to avoid boredom, this job can keep you busy with a variety of tasks. Some of these essential duties include:

  • Preparing operating rooms for surgery by checking, sterilizing and accounting for all necessary equipment for the procedure
  • Preparing the patient for surgery by transporting them to the operating room, checking vital signs and charts, disinfecting incision sites, and providing physical and emotional support
  • Assisting surgeons and nurses during the procedure by passing instruments and other supplies
  • May assist in caring for and sending specimens to the laboratory for analysis
  • After an operation, helps clean and restock operating room for next procedure

Certification requires an examination administered by the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA),* who retains the sole authority to determine eligibility. Certification is voluntary, but demonstrates that the individual has met national standards and is committed to excellence. Certification may help you with upward mobility, job placement opportunities and increased pay.

Work Conditions

Most surgical technologists are employed by hospitals, but other large industries of employment include physicians' offices, outpatient care centers and dentist offices. A surgery tech career can provide you with plenty of work hours and can keep your nights free as most surgical tech jobs are full time and most procedures are done during the day. However, hospitals may require you to work overtime and be on-call during nights, weekends and holidays.

The work environment is usually sterile, well-lit and air conditioned. Stamina is important because the job requires standing on your feet for long periods of time. If you thrive under pressure and excitement, this is a good career path for people who take pride in their work.

Surgery tech jobs frequently require you to work with teams of surgeons and other assistants, so it is good to build strong communication and teamwork skills. Surgery technologists also have lots of interaction with patients, which can give you plenty of opportunity to interact with a wide range of personalities.

Job Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates that surgery tech jobs will grow by about 19 percent from 2010 to 2020, which is faster than the national average.** It also estimates that around 17,700 new jobs will be added during the same time frame. Growth should remain constant as technology advances, making operations safer and more reliable and thus, a more frequent form of treatment.

Growth of the surgery tech industry may also be aided by the aging of baby boomers because older people tend to require more surgeries such as joint replacements and heart-related procedures. The increase in demand for procedures can also likely increase the need for surgical techs.

Hospitals will remain the largest source of employment for surgical techs because surgical technologists are more cost efficient than higher paid registered nurses. This may be something to consider if you are debating between a career as a surgical technologist or registered nurse.

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


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