Surgical technologists also called surgical or operating room technicians, assist in surgical operations under the supervision of a surgeon. They are part of a team which also consists of anesthesiologists and nurses as well as, of course, a surgeon or surgeons. Before an operation, the surgical technologist help in preparing the operating room by setting out the surgical tools and equipment required and they will check that everything is in working order, they also help prepare the patient for surgery by; washing, shaving and disinfecting sites that will have incision. As you can see, the surgical technologist job is quite divers and diversity delivers both pride in doing a good job, and also rates high in job satisfaction.
The surgical technologist will pass the surgical instruments and other sterilized supplies to the surgeon during an operation, they also monitor the patients’ vital signs and some operate sterilizers, lights or suction machines and help operate diagnostic equipment, they also perform the very responsible task of counting all the instruments; needles, sponges etc. both before starting the operation and just before the patient is sown up after surgery, this, to ensure that everything is accounted for and nothing has been left in the patient, again, a very responsible task or duty, after surgery the technologist could also help transfer the patient to the ward and he will restock the operating room.
Surgical technologists work in clean, well lit and climatically controlled environment and most work a regular forty hour week, however, they can also be on call at night, weekends and vacation days on a rotation basis, this further reduces any feeling of monotony. Training programs for surgical technologists last for nine to twenty four months and take courses in; anatomy, physiology, microbiology, pharmacology, professional ethics and medical terminology giving them a really high level of education. In order to maintain their certification technologists must earn sixty hours of approved continuing education over a four year period, or they must retake and pass the certification examination, this effectively adds to and updates their knowledge.
Surgical technologists advance by specializing in a particular branch of surgery such as neurosurgery or open heart surgery. With additional training some technologists advance to first assistant, some surgical technologists manage central supply departments in hospitals or take positions with medical insurance companies and sterile supply service companies.
Employment opportunities for surgical technologists are growing at twenty five per cent higher than the average for all occupations; this is expected to continue until at least 2018. The high rate of increase is brought about by increasing population numbers which are living longer producing an increase in the number of operations. In addition, new techniques or technological advances such as fiber optics and laser technology open up new opportunities and create new operating room techniques. Hospitals will continue to be the main employer of surgical technologists as they reduce the amount of nursing staff, however, because of better paying opportunities growth is expected in offices of physicians and in outpatient care centers giving rise to a strong career.