The Surgical Technology program at the American College of Healthcare and Technology (ACHT) in Riverside, California trains students to perform duties before, during, and after surgical procedures. Courses will guide students through all aspects of the field of surgical technology, including prepping the operating room (OR), sterilizing instrumentation, ensuring equipment works properly, as well as creating and maintaining a sterile work environment for the surgical procedure.Obtaining the certification of Certified Surgical Technologist (CST), demonstrates the individual has met the national standard for knowledge that underlies Surgical Technologist practice. Certified individuals possess mastery of a broad range of skills related to surgical procedures, quality patient care and aseptic technique.
Graduates of the Surgical Technology program at ACHT can choose to work in a variety of locations, including (but not limited to):
- General, community and veteran hospitals
- Smaller surgical centers (e.g., focus on cosmetic or outpatient surgeries)
Surgical Technologists play a crucial role in assisting with surgical operations under the supervision of healthcare personnel. Surgical Technologists are responsible for assisting before, during, and after surgery. They are responsible for preparing the operating room for the patient according to the procedure or as requested and for passing instrumentation to the surgeon during the surgery.During this time, Surgical Technologists must remain attentive to all surgical details, to ensure the sterile field is maintained and a safe environment is provided for the patient. Surgical Technologists perform a surgical scrub, self-gown and glove, gown and glove the sterile team members (surgeon and assistants), maintain the sterile field and instrumentation, manage the operating room supplies, and are knowledgeable about the various surgical procedures they participate in.
A Surgical Technologist must have the ability to identify the various medications used during the procedure accurately, and must be able to prepare for and clean-up at the end of the procedure. A Surgical Technologist must be quick, orderly, accurate, and possess manual dexterity. Additionally, a Surgical Technologist must remain alert during the procedure, which involves standing for long periods of time and anticipating the needs of the sterile team as the procedure progresses.Duties performed by a Surgical Technologist may include any combination of the following:
- Preparing the operating room
- Creating and maintaining the sterile field
- Assisting during surgery (including passing instruments, holding retractors, cutting sutures, etc.)
- Clean up and restock the operating room once the procedure is completed
Surgical Technology is a growing specialty, and in Riverside, California the Job Outlook is extremely positive. Employment of Surgical Technologists is expected to grow faster than the average for all occupations, mainly due to the increase in the volume of surgeries. Due to an aging population and advances in medical technology (e.g. fiber optics, laser technology and robotics), employment for Surgical Technologists has been projected to rise by 19% between 2010 to 2020, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Surgical Technologists in California earn between $40,000 to $54,750 mean wage, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, May 2012.
Obtaining a certification as a Surgical Technologist demonstrates the individual has met the national standard for knowledge that underlies Surgical Technologist practice. Certified individuals possess mastery of a broad range of skills related to surgical procedures, patient care and aseptic technique.
The National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA) administers the Surgical Technology certification exam. Certification is available to individuals who have earned a diploma from an Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES) – accredited or Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) – accredited Surgical Technology program.
- A Certified Surgical Technologist (CST) is an individual who has passed the CST examination and is authorized to use the title of CST as long as he or she maintains current certification.
Surgical Technologists typically advance by specializing in a particular area of surgery, such as open heart surgery or neurosurgery. Some Surgical Technologists will pursue certification as a Certified First Assistant (CFA) after a few years of experience. A CFA is an individual who has passed the CFA examination, administered by the NBSTSA, and are authorized to use the title of CFA as long as he or she maintains current certification. In addition, Surgical Technologists can manage central supply departments in hospitals and surgery centers, while some move on to positions with insurance companies and surgical equipment firms.
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