In the medical world, a surgical technician is also addressed to as surgical assistant, operating room (OR) technician, or scrubs. Basically, an OR tech assists a surgeon during the three phases of surgical procedure- pre-operation, intraoperation and post-operation. While a bulk of surgical assistants are pursuing career development in medical institutions such as hospitals and private clinics, a good number can be found in other settings such as military camps and mobile surgical setups.
What are the basic duties of a Surgical Technician
In the pre-operational phase of a surgical procedure, an OR tech ensures that the operating room is put into order. The technician, together with the help of some OR personnel ensures that the operating room is disinfected. In addition, he or she also sees to it that all the needed equipment during the surgery and those that might be needed in emergency situations are complete and within reach such as suction machines, medical carts, vital signs monitoring devices, as well as sterile instruments, sutures, drapes, and other operating room supplies. Prior to the surgery, the technician may also help in patient transfer from room to the operating room.
During the surgery, the tech assists the surgeon by handing over the instruments needed, taking in charge in specific surgical techniques such as retraction, clamping, suctioning, or packing, disposal and counting of used instruments and supplies, collection of specimens for biopsy, as well as in wound cleaning and dressing.
After the surgery, the OR tech aids in removing the drapes from the patient, tidying up of instruments, as well as in transfer of the patient from the OR table to the mobile stretcher, and eventually into the recovery room. After such, he or she may also be tasked in preparing the room and the instruments for the next surgery.
If no surgical procedures are scheduled, a surgical technologist may opt to stay in the operating room- doing census and or checking instruments and equipment for quality control. They too may be assigned in the surgery department office to notify consultants in instances where stat surgical procedures are needed to be performed.
While a surgical technician is trained to assist a surgeon, a good number, most especially those who are deployed in the field are made to undergo advanced training and are allowed to handle minor surgical cases if the need arises.
What are the requirements to become Surgical Technician
Given the rapid advancements in the field or medicine and surgery, the demand for surgical technicians is expected to rise by 30 percent in the next ten years. With this, a lot of colleges, universities, training schools, and military organizations have developed educational programs and modules that aspiring surgical technicians can avail of in order to acquire an associate degree in Surgical Technology.
These programs have both academic and practical components. While at school, students are enrolled in the most relevant subjects such as anatomy, microbiology, physiology, and surgery, to name a few. In addition, they too are exposed to a more hands-on approach to learning through practicum, mock cases, as well as operating room exposure where they learn basic surgical procedures and instrumentation as well.
After acquiring an associate degree from an accredited institution, some states may require a certification exam while others do not. It is also good to mention that aspiring OR techs who desire for a more convenient approach at acquiring a degree may do so by enrolling Surgical Technician courses available online.
Benefits from being a Surgical Technician
As with any other professions, the most apparent benefit that one can get from being a surgical technician is the salary that comes with the career. On the average, a surgical technician earns about $41,664 yearly- depending on the institution he or she is connected with as well as other benefits included such as bonuses, risk compensations, allowed overtime, and healthcare.
In the USA, the average earning is the same as the figures presented above. The amount may vary depending on factors such as salary grade, the state where he or she is practicing, as well as level of experience. The national averages for US shows that the range can go from around $33,917 to as high as $50,427.
If you intend to work or if you are staying in UK, the expected salary for those in Surgical Technology field is around £45,000. The amount varies depending on the technologist’s age, with those aged between 40 to 50 paid above the average at £52,000.
In Australia, the median pay for a surgical technologist is AU$ 61,060 or around AU$40 to AU$45 on hourly rates with fresh graduates being paid less compared to those who have rendered longer time in the service.
An OR technologist in Canada can earn up to C$ 44,000 yearly, while those in South Africa have an average annual wage of about R19,000.
In general, the variability of the earnings depends on the location, the age of the technologist, his or her experience in the field, additional compensations given by the employer, and position in the institution where they are pursuing their careers.
But on top of the monetary compensation is the fact that being a surgical technologist is a promising career where one can continuously build up his skills- given that the trade is inclined towards hands-on procedures, progress in technology development is rapid and continuous training and education is essential.
There are a lot of options when it comes to medical-related professions. But if you’re looking for one that’s constantly evolving, practical, and guarantees growth, being a surgical technologist is a good option for you.