The Typical Day of a Surgical Technologist
Before starting an education program in any career field, it is important to do a little research to find out exactly what you can expect if you work in this industry. Like with many medical fields, there is no one typical day for a surgical technician. Your tasks will depend on the needs of you patients for the day and the facility where you work. However, there are certain tasks that most surgical techs perform. If you were to job shadow a surgical tech, what would your day be like?
Surgical techs typically work normal hours, unlike surgeons who are often on call and end up working long hours. You may work night shift, but your hours will usually be consistent, unless you participate in a surgery that takes several hours and requires you to stay later than normal. When you arrive at work, you’ll review the operations for the day and begin preparing for the first.
Typical Job Duties of a Surgical Technologist
Before each surgery, you’ll help to sterilize the room and equipment. You’ll need to anticipate the tools and supplies needed and prepare the operating room for the doctors and nurses to work. You may visit the patient bedside and help nurses prepare him or her for the surgery as well, especially if the area needs to be shaved or the skin needs to be otherwise prepped for the procedure. You’ll also go through the room and check all the equipment to ensure everything is working correctly.
Directly before the surgery begins, you’ll help to transport the patient to the operating room, disinfect the area where the incision will be, and help the anesthesia team as needed. It is important to be calm and reassuring, as this is a stressful time for many patients. Some may opt to back out of needed surgeries if they feel too scared, so it is important to be personable, confident, and understanding. Surgical techs should be able to answer any questions a patient might have.
When the surgery starts, surgical techs assume different roles. Typically, there is a first assistant who will be an extra pair of hands and eyes for the surgical team. You may help hold retractors, cut sutures, use suction equipment, and more. Other surgical techs on the team can help with tasks such as ensuring that the rooms stays sterile, collecting samples and sending them to the lab properly, resupplying the surgery team, handing tools to the surgeon, move lights, and otherwise help doctors in any way possible. Surgical techs are also responsible for counting supplies and equipment before a patient is closed, which ensures that no surgical sponges or other items are left behind.
After a surgery, you’ll help dress the patient’s wounds, transport him or her back to a recovering area, and clean the operating room to get ready for the next surgery. On the typical day at most facilities, you’ll participate in multiple surgeries. If you work somewhere with an emergency room, you may also need to work quickly and in a high-stress situation where you have to think fast on your feet. Not every surgery is planned, and even ones that are require the surgical team to be extremely flexible.
Online Surgical Technician Degree Programs
|Kaplan University — Apply for this school's associate degree in Health Sciences: Surgical Technologist to achieve a strong foundation in surgical technology. This course is ideal for a fast and flexible solution to your online degree as you earn an entry-level education that concentrates on helping students acquire knowledge and develop skills in performing laboratory, clinical, and medical office procedures. Kaplan also offers degrees in Medical Assisting and Health Science.|
|Ultimate Medical Academy — Ultimate Medical Academy offers several online programs in the healthcare industry. These programs include Health Science specializations in Healthcare Technology & Systems and Pharmacy Technician as well as programs designed for administrative rolls in healthcare like Medical Billing and Coding. Students will be prepared to work as technicians in a variety of settings.|
|Adventist University of Health Sciences — Adventist University of Health Sciences (formerly Florida Hospital College) has an program for a BS degree in radiological sciences that is online-based and accredited. This program offers medical imaging technologists and radiologic technicians the opportunity to learn more skills to advance their careers in the healthcare field. This degree helps graduates prepare for the fast-paced and quickly adapting environment of medical imaging clinics and hospitals.|