6 Things Never to do as a Surgical Tech
Surgical Technicians play a key role on the operating room team. Working with doctors, nurses, and other staff, they have an important set of responsibilities. Like any career, some actions are a deal-breaker. Here are some things that you shouldn’t do as a surgical technician:
1. Don’t Forget the Details
Working as a surgical tech requires attention to detail. From overseeing the thorough cleaning of the operating room, to making sure all instruments are properly sterilized, the surgical technician helps prevent infections. Going into surgery, surgical technicians must be able to identify all surgical instruments that may be required during the procedure. Generally, the surgical technician verifies that all sterilization procedures are followed correctly, and that after the procedure instruments are maintained properly.
2. Don’t Snooze on the Job
Many surgical procedures take a long time, due to the precision and complexity of the operation. The technician is present for the entire procedure, during which they must be alert and attentive. If a surgeon requests an instrument, it must be available. Expect to be attentive for five or six hour procedures.
3. Don’t Forget What Comes Next
Part of surgical tech training involves the surgical technician learning to anticipate what the surgeon will do next. Ideally, a surgical tech will pick up the gist of procedures over time and be able to recall which instruments are going to be required.
4. Don’t be Afraid to Prep Patients
Depictions of surgeries on TV and Film will sometimes include meaningful or tense shots of the patient’s body being prepped for the procedure. Before a complicated abdominal surgery, the area of incision is shaved and then sterilized, after which the screen cuts to the surgeon conducting the medical staff in the room like an orchestra. The funny thing about these popular depictions is that it’s the surgical technician who is playing an important role, just outside of the spotlight. They’re the ones who shaved the patient’s area of incision, and subsequently swabbed it to make sure it’s sterilized, and they’ve assembled the surgeon’s array of instruments.
5. Don’t Get Complacent With Your Career
Surgical technicians have a number of professional options that they can pursue that will land them more responsibilities and a better paycheck. A lead technician, for example, might be in charge of training new techs and supervising the technician team. Additional training and certifications allow a surgical technician to eventually become a surgical assistant. Surgical assistants play a more active role in surgical procedures and often demand a higher salary.
6. Don’t Expect a Tiny Paycheck
The median income of a surgical technologist in 2012 was $41,790 per year, or $20.09 per hour, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. The field is expected to grow by 30% by 2022, which will result in thousands of new positions. When most people think of careers in allied health, they think of medical assisting, dental hygiene, or imaging (sonography or x-ray tech). Not as many people are familiar with the surgical tech career. This can ultimately benefit those who go into the field as there will be less competition compared to other careers.