What Is A Surgical Tech?

What is a surgical tech?” you ask? They’re one of the most important people in the operating room!

Most patients are under the rather mistaken notion that it’s all up their surgeon to determine their fate. If things go very well, the patients shower the doctor with many praises high fives, thanks, and even gifts. Yes – the surgeons are the key players in any surgery. However, this is no one-man team.

Every surgery needs a team: the surgeon, residents, anesthesiologist, scrub nurses and of course, the surgical tech. If you don’t know much about them, you’re not alone. Even though they work in the operating room with the same, ultimate purpose of saving lives, rarely they are noticed.

what is a surgical techAlright, So What Is A Surgical Tech?

Technically speaking, a surgical tech (known also as a scrub tech or surgical technician) is an allied health professional that is also a member of the team in any surgery, at least in some countries. Although not recognized by some states, a surgical technician is actually just as important as the surgeon. His/her job is to try to anticipate the surgeon’s next move so the procedure goes by smoothly and according to plan.

Where Do They Work?

Aside from private and public hospitals, surgical techs are also hired by dentists, private clinics, insurance companies and other health-related institutions.

What Jobs Are They Expected To Do?

Usually, they start out with simple cases and progress to more complex ones. The tasks given to surgical technicians usually vary by country. For instance, in the United States, they can work as unlicensed personnel but only under supervision of a medical doctor or registered nurse. Again, their job is to make sure that the equipment is working properly and that the operating room is conducive for the patient’s safety. However, they can also handle tasks such as closing incisions and checking the patient’s charts.

Generally, surgical technicians are some of the busiest members of a surgical team. They have to be present before, during and after the surgery. Before any surgery, surgical techs have to check on the equipment, sterilize the tools to be used, and do additional checking of the operating room. Surgical techs are also the ones who fetch the patient from his/her room, position him/her on the operating table, and check the vital signs and chart. The surgical tech also helps the other team members put on their masks, gowns and gloves.

During the operation, the surgical tech has to remain focused since it is his job to pass instruments. After the procedure, the surgical tech makes sure everything is back to its rightful place in the operating room, ready for the next procedure.

How Do I Become A Surgical Technician?

Those who want to be a surgeon but never liked the long wait can opt to become a surgical tech instead. Surgical tech schools and even the military can offer you a diploma, certificate or even an Associate’s Degree within a span of 9-24 months. Among these, a certification is most important in the eyes of most employers.

The next time you undergo a procedure, remember to thank the surgical technician too! Just like surgeons, these surgical techs helped save your life.

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