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The medical field is a
source of various fast-growing job prospects and no matter what happens with
the overall economy, the need for highly trained health care staff will always
be there. There are various jobs in the health care system that one can
select, and I am exploring the career of a surgical technologist.  A surgical technologist works in many different
parts of a hospital or clinic.  They play
an important part in the surgical team as they assist nurses and the surgeon before,
during and after surgeries.  In order to
become a surgical technologist, you need to go through an educational program
and then obtain certifications through testing. It is very important to have specific
personality traits such as being calm, detailed, organized and reliable be able
to be effective in the job of a surgical technician.  There are many different work environments
and job duties that you can be employed, and varying salaries based on your
qualifications and experience.

The
position of Surgical Technologist requires graduation from an accredited
program where there is a combination of book learning as well as practical
hands on learning in a mock operating room. 
After you finish the program, which normally takes about a year, you
will have to take a national certification exam to become a certified surgical
technologist.   

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A good surgery technologist
must have the ability to multitask as there are occasions when you need to deal
with several jobs at once. Another quality needed is being a people person as communication
with patients and team members is necessary to be successful. A surgical technologist
works inside an operating room where you witness incisions, blood, guts, and many
other things that have the ability to turn one’s stomach.  
            The
best thing regarding a surgical technologist is the variety of tasks and work places
available.  One can specialize in many different
areas of medicine such working with the heart, the eyes, child birth, orthopedics
as well as oral surgery.  In her article, Surgical
technologist: Operating room staff work closely as a team, Erinn Hutckin
details many different settings within the healthcare industry that a Surgical
Technologist can be employed.  The author
gives examples ranging from surgery centers to OB departments to hospitals
where you can further your career by specializing in a particular area such as
orthopedic, cardiac or plastic surgery. 

Surgical
technologists must be detailed oriented with the medical equipment used,
understanding the medical terminology and procedures that are done, and have
strong communication skills.  The
surgical technologist is in charge of the sterilization process for the entire
hospital under the supervision of a surgeon.  
They ensure instruments are sterile and therefore safe to be used in the
surgical room. In his article, Cover Story: A Leading Role, Don Sandler says
that surgical technologists prepare the sterile field using sterile technique
in a room, set up and inventory surgical instruments, assemble surgical
equipment and make sure equipment is working properly.  Pre-surgery
preparations protect patients from surgical site infections, malfunctioning
equipment and unneeded delays during procedures.  Technologists not only learn what instruments
are used during each particular surgery, but also order those instruments will
be used.  Don Sandler believes it is
their job to anticipate the need of the surgeon and look for signs that could
mean that something is not going correctly in the surgery. 

In
her article, Surgical technologist: Operating room staff work closely as a
team, Erinn Hutckin discusses the future job market and the expected median
average wage.  The author quotes the
Bureau of Labor Statistics prediction that the demand for Surgical
technologists will grow by thirty percent by the year 2022.  This increase is due to advances with the
medical field as well as the aging of the general population.  Another consideration regarding this line of
work could be that the forecasted expansion is more than 25% within the next fifteen
years.  A good reason to choose a career as a surgical technologist is
that by the time you are finished with school and the certification process,
there will be hospitals and clinics waiting to hire you as there is a constant demand
for workers. According to the jobs listed in Linked in for Madison, the
standard income for a surgical technologist is roughly $40,000 each year, which
does not include your health benefits, vacation, sick time or retirement
benefits.

One of the challenges in
the profession is that a person can become a surgical technologist, and then
move on to become a surgical first assistant.   The first step is graduating from an
accredited surgical technology program and passing the exam before working to
get some experience. Then, if you want to assist in surgery, you would apply to
an accredited first assist program. Another challenging aspect of working in an
operating room is dealing with death. Members of surgical teams invest so much
energy and when a patient dies you all must work through the stages of grief
and see if there was anything to learn from what happened. Death always has an
impact and while you may never get used to it, you do have to accept it as part
of working in an operating room.

 

 

There are many common
misperception people may have about surgical technology as a career. I have
learned that being a surgical technologist is more than passing
instruments.  As a surgical technologist
you need to know anatomy and apply the
knowledge of instrumentation and equipment to surgical procedures. You need an
understanding of pharmacology, patient care concepts, the importance of aseptic
technique, decontamination and sterilization of instruments, position, prepping
and draping of the patient, and policy and practices around prepping products
for the safety of the surgical patient. 
The most rewarding aspect of being a surgical technologist is having the
opportunity to see a person who is your patient inside and out and have the
trust of patients and their family members. 

The surgical technologist
is interesting and a challenging occupation, but it really is not suited for
everyone.  You need deal with the ‘blood and guts’ factor of medical
procedures, you will need to pass all educational challenges, and have
appropriate communication and people skills to excel in this career.   The one thing that I have taken from
this assignment is that the path that I start up on might not be the path I end
up on.  I am encouraged to be flexible
and open to change as I experience more and more in the health care field.  This assignment gave me many insights into
the healthcare field. It showed me that there are many different options to be
taken, both in terms of different fields within the surgery room and
specialties within each career. I think the two most important things that I
took away from this assignment is that you need to work hard and be flexible.  The career you start out with may not be what
you end up with in the end and that is all right.

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